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Why articles are retracted: a retrospective cross-sectional study of retraction notices at BioMed Central
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  • Published on:
    A new paper about the unavailability of the ICMJE disclosure form of the guarantor of this paper
    • Klaas van Dijk, Biologist Independent researcher, Vermeerstraat 48, 9718 SN Groningen, The Netherlands

    The open access journal 'Roars Transactions, a Journal on Research Policy and Evaluation' has published on 2 November 2017 a paper with reflections on the unavailability of the ICMJE disclosure form of Dr. Moylan.

    The title of this paper is: 'Is partial behaviour a plausible explanation for the unavailability of the ICMJE disclosure form of an author in a BMJ journal?'.

    The paper can be accessed at The paper is published in the section ‘Discussion notes’. The editors of 'Roars Transactions, a Journal on Research Policy and Evaluation' are encouraging readers to submit comments / responses. These comments / responses will be published alongside the paper. I am hereby inviting the readers of this eletter to submit comments / responses about this topic to both journals (BMJ Open and Roars Transactions, a Journal on Research Policy and Evaluation). Copy/pasted from the Abstract of my new paper:

    'This case study about the ethical behaviour in the field of scholarly publishing documents an exception on the rule for research articles in the medical journal BMJ Open that ICMJE disclosure forms of authors must be made available on request. The ICMJE, the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, has developed these forms for the disclosure of conflicts of interest for authors of medic...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    The author was employed as regional officer by BirdLife The Netherlands (VogelbeschermingNederland) in 1995-2004 and was afterwards at intervals employed by Altenburg & Wymenga ecological consultants. Legal representatives from various stakeholders, among them BioMed Central, COPE, publisher Taylor & Francis, and the University of Pisa, have contacted the author in relation to the efforts to retract the fraudulent study on the Basra Reed Warbler. I am the author of the new paper in 'Roars Transactions, a Journal on Research Policy and Evaluation' about the unavailability of the ICMJE form of Dr. Moylan.
  • Published on:
    Response to: Commentary on a study about retraction notices in journals of BioMed Central
    • Elizabeth C Moylan, Senior Editor (Research Integrity) BioMed Central, part of Springer Nature
    • Other Contributors:
      • Maria K Kowalczuk, Research Integrity Manager

    Thank you for your comments and feedback. Here we clarify the main scientific points raised.

    The retractions in this study span subject areas across the publisher’s portfolio of journals. Where multiple reasons for the retraction were given, the main over-arching reason why the retraction occurred was described. We clearly note in the paper that, in 13 cases of retraction there were two reasons given and in one case three reasons were given. The premise of the study was to look at reasons why published retractions occurred and if they adhered to COPE guidelines.
    The study period was from 2000-2015 and did not include an analysis of any retractions which took place in 2016. Our analysis includes full articles, not abstracts published as supplements in journals.

    BioMed Central’s Editorial Policy page ( contains details of our retraction policy and information on COPE membership.
    Thank you for flagging that some retractions have been displayed as errata. This was not the case when the retractions were published and has only come about recently due to system updates to our websites. This has now been resolved.
    BioMed Central as a Publisher is a member of COPE, as well as all individual BioMed Central journals.

    All BioMed Central’s research articles are available as we are an...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    ECM and MKK are the authors of the discussed study. ECM and MKK are employed by BioMed Central, part of Springer Nature. ECM was co-opted as a COPE Council Member in January 2016 but the work involved in this paper did not involve COPE, and was originally submitted to the BMJ Open in July 2015. This written response also did not involve COPE.
    MKK is a co-Editor-in-Chief of the journal Research Integrity and Peer Review, and ECM is on the Editorial Board of Research Integrity and Peer Review, however this journal was launched in May 2016 and was not involved in the study.
    We declare no other relationships or activities that could appear to have influenced the response.
  • Published on:
    Note from the Editor on the prepublication history

    Please note that the published version of the article was a resubmission of an earlier manuscript that was rejected by BMJ Open. The prepublication history has now been updated and includes the peer review of both submissions along with all versions of the manuscript.

    Initially the prepublication history of only the second submission was included. We apologise for this error and any confusion caused.

    Conflict of Interest:
    I am the Editor of BMJ Open
  • Published on:
    Commentary on a study about retraction notices in journals of BioMed Central

    Dear Editor,

    I have read with great interest this paper about retractions in journals of publisher BioMed Central (Moylan & Kowalczuk 2016). I noted an issue with the competing interests statement of the first author. I have contacted you for a copy of her ICMJE disclosure form. You responded with an invitation to submit an eletter. I present in this eletter: (i) a review of the paper, (ii) backgrounds about the...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.