Recently, Elsevier retracted an article that was published in 2012. The only explanation by the publisher is as follows:

Personality and Individual Differences has taken the decision to retract the review article Rushton, J.P., Templer, D.I. (2012). Do pigmentation and the melanocortin system modulate aggression and sexuality in humans as they do in other animals? Personality and Individual Differences, 53, 4-8. This retraction comes after a thorough review of the published article, the sources cited within the article, and critical comments from readers. The retraction notice is currently being finalized and will appear in the journal imminently.

As far as I know, if an article contains misinformation, the right practice is to publish a refutation article at the same journal.

I wonder whether there are other examples which the publisher retracts an article because of the sources cited within the article, and critical comments from readers.

  • 4
    Given the politically sensitive nature of the contents of the article, it sounds to me like the publisher would use any excuse to retract it, regardless of the truthfulness of its contents.
    – Louic
    Jun 21, 2020 at 19:56
  • 6
    @padawan Why would e.g. retractions based on data fabrication (often found by readers) require a refutation article to be published first?
    – Anyon
    Jun 21, 2020 at 20:09
  • 4
    @padawan Cherry-picking refers to a biased sample, choosing only papers that support a specific view and ignoring those that refute it. One does not need to "dump" every related study, but if you conspicuously avoid references conflicting with the claims of your paper there is no need for a "new paper" to refute it: it's already been done.
    – Bryan Krause
    Jun 21, 2020 at 23:12
  • 3
    I suggest you do some reading at the Retraction Watch blog. "critical comments from readers" are nowadays called "post-publication review".
    – Roland
    Jun 22, 2020 at 6:20
  • 3
    On a completely different note, please be aware the article in question is a review article. In this context, cherry-picking references is indeed comparable to data fabrication.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Jun 22, 2020 at 8:43


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