(Edited with thanks after the early comments helped gauge the perception of the post.)
This is the situation
I came across an article published in a reputable journal in the field of physics and engineering science.
- The first author of this article is a member of the editorial board.
- A handful of other co-authors follows. They are also affiliated to serious education establishments and hold positions with some standing.
- Author and co-authors are associated by a grand research project. This lets me think that this article attracts and will attract attention for a while, at a minimum via legit self-citations.
- Parts of the article had been copied and pasted, or slightly edited, from grey literature related to the same research project.
One of these parts is relevant for understanding the inner workings of their research outcome and, pragmatically, comparing my work and theirs. But
- some terminology is plainly wrong (apples-for-pears)
- some terminology is subtly wrong (community-bound misnomers)
- some formulas lack
- the references do not contain information integrating these lacunas
Therefore, it is impossible for me to verify the work they did and take at face value some claims of the article relevant for my investigation.
- I have reached out to the research team
- first asking for additional information (I had started my study from the item of grey literature of point 4)
- the first author acknowledged the apples-for-pears glitch but did not provide the lacking information
- I asked again for that integration I needed
- radio silence
- I then discovered the article, pointed out to the inconsistency with the paper, and urged the need for an integration, out of lack of alternative sources
- radio silence
- I moved on, carried an analysis of the topic at a considerable time overhead, and proposed to their judgement an integration for the lacking parts
- radio silence
To sum up, 1-3 describe the context; 4-5 describe the problem; 6 describes what I did in search for clarifications.
Now onto the considerations
The shortcomings I have spotted must have passed several coarse filters.
The number of eyeballs (several co-authors and perhaps a couple of reviewers) that could/should have spotted at least some of these shortcomings from the outset is high.
I feel that the situation is particularly anomalous because of point 1.
That is, granted none is perfect, I would expect that associate editors are particularly strict ensuring that their own publications set a standard for the journal, or do not betray that standard. In my view, this is surely no research misconduct, rather either a questionable research practice or a minor shortcoming, depending on judgement. However, I feel this is not exactly OK.
I am also quite willing to wait for a few weeks for a satisfactory answer to come or for me to develop another perspective on the state of the play, also thanks to this community.
Now onto the questions
In this meantime, at any rate, I would like to gather views from this community on why
- you would recommend to inform the editor-in-chief of the shortcomings in points 4-5 and motivate a request for revision?
- you would rather recommend not to do this?
(I am neither an associate editor or an editor-in-chief.)