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CAUT Bulletin Archives

October 2003

Koren Deletion

Your news item, headlined "Koren Reprimanded by Ontario College of Physicians & Surgeons" (Bulletin, Sept. 2003) reports that University of Toronto dean of medicine David Naylor "directed Koren to arrange for the journal's editor to have the article deleted from the scientific record and to send appropriate personal letters of apology." This action was in response to publication of a paper by Dr. Gideon Koren and two collaborators in the journal Therapeutic Drug Monitoring (21:74-81, 1999).

It appears that Dr. Naylor is unaware that it is not possible to have a paper deleted from the scientific record. The most acceptable solution in such cases is for the authors to retract the work under exactly the same title as that of the original article. Failing that action, the editor becomes responsible for publication of the retraction.

The issue is somewhat more complicated by the fact that the journal's homepage shows that Koren is the North American receiving editor for Therapeutic Drug Monitoring. Hence, it seems that Koren is being required not only to write, but to publish his own retraction. An interesting conflict!

Iain E. P. Taylor
Botany, Botanical Garden & Centre for Applied Ethics, University of British Columbia