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Another Reason Not to Trust Everything in Peer-Reviewed Journals

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We're already well aware that the esteemed peer-review can only do so much in the way of thwarting (to use the technical term) complete and utter bullshit. But this newest little slip-up is particularly embarrassing—especially if you happen to be, as she will unfortunately be known for at least the next few weeks, the Crappy Gabor in question.


While the oversight was just spotted by a UC Davis grad student on Twitter this past week, the paper in question, Variation in Melanism and Female Preference in Proximate but Ecologically Distinct Environments (catchy!), has actually been available online for the past four months. Four. Months.

Retraction Watch reached out to the paper's publishers about the error, which has now of course been removed. Apparently, the pithy aside "was added into the paper by a co-author during revision (after peer-review). It was unfortunately an oversight that became incorporated into the paper during the process of sending the manuscript back and forth between co-authors. The comment in question was not spotted during the proofing process with the journal."


So even though peer-review may have (hopefully?) caught the mistake had it been present earlier, it's highly disconcerting that the Ethology journal itself overlooked such a glaring error. A spokesperson from the journal's publishers told Retraction Watch that they "are in the process of investigating how this line made it to publication." In the meantime, Caitlin Gabor "would appreciate an apology from all of the authors." And from the crappy proofreaders while we're at it. [Retraction Watch via Slate]