23 March 2012

Crayfish chemistry? Publishing error, or just added value?

Around March 19, I got an alert for a new Marmorkrebs article appearing in PubMed. It is a very interesting article about a Marmorkrebs with some male characteristics.

I was surprised by the journal, which was not one I recognized. “Biomaterials science”? Well, I suppose crayfish could be inspiration for biomaterials. I went to the link out...

Polymer edition? I was even more puzzled. There didn’t seem to be anything in the abstract about biomaterials, and especially not polymers.

One of the authors of the paper, Gerhard Scholz, confirmed that the article wasn’t supposed to be in Journal of Biomaterials Science, but Journal of Crustacean Biology. I kept watching all week for what would happen to the article.

By Friday, the article was appearing in the “Fast track” section on IngentaConnect for Journal of Crustacean Biology. The DOI for the article didn’t change.

The PubMed entry, however, still points to the polymer journal. How or when that will be updated, I don’t know, but I’ll keep checking.

This raises the question of how publishers should correct mistakes. Retraction Watch blog has a section devoted to retractions cause by “publisher error.”  Here, there has been no retraction, or notice, or explanation to the readers of Journal of Biomaterials Science - Polymer Edition. True, the error was short-lived, and the critical identifier – the DOI – was stable.

The case of the PubMed ID will be interesting to watch, because Journal of Crustacean Biology is not normally indexed in PubMed. As far as I can discover, there is only one other article (“Effect of microgravity and hypergravity on embryo axis alignment during postencystment embryogenesis in Artemia franciscana (Anostraca),” PMID: 11539283) from the journal’s history in PubMed. Whether the article will stay in PubMed, have the corrected citation information, and have the PubMed ID will stay the same, remains to be seen.

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