Retractions and Fraud in Strategy and Organization Theory

[H/T to several folks on Facebook talking about this: Nicolai Foss, Russ Coff, Marcel Bogers etc.]

We’ve talked about the extensive fraud of Diederik Stapel before, but apparently there have been retractions even closer to home: the journal Strategic Organization retracted an article.  And, over at the blog Retraction Watch there is an active discussion about Dirk Smeesters’ retractions and recent resignation.   A bit more in a short Wired magazine piece.  A Nature journal interview with Uri Simonsohn who discovered the Smeesters fraud.

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13 Comments on “Retractions and Fraud in Strategy and Organization Theory”

  1. alex says:

    hi, any explanation why the article in SO was retracted? There is no much info online…

  2. teppo says:

    All I heard was that the first author requested that it be retracted. Russ: any info?

    • alex says:

      well, tomorrow if I cross one of the other SO editors at EGOS i may try to ask. have a good night

    • RussCoff says:

      The author approached us and asked that we retract the paper. Further investigation confirmed specific irregularities as well as a broader pattern. For example, in some cases where the coefficients and standard errors are about the same size, variables are reported as highly significant, This problem is more evident for independent variables than control variables. It is clear that the findings should not be cited in subsequent research. This is only one of the issues raised and it appears to be part of a pattern across a number of articles published in a variety of well-respected journals. The first author wants to make it clear that he approached us proactively and that he claims responsibility…

  3. Ivan Oransky (RetractionWatch) has just posted a discussion of the Strategic Organization Retraction and the two retractions at Research Policy. His post has many of the details that are not included above (especially regarding Research Policy). Here is the story on RetractionWatch

  4. Joel West says:

    At the Open Innovation workshop last month at Imperial, Ben Martin alluded to this and other honesty problems that RP has been having. These two papers fit his complaint about “salami slicing,” and in his speech and paper he’s putting researchers on notice that it will no longer be tolerated: http://oiblog.net/2012/07/three-less-papers-on-patent-licensing.html

  5. teppo says:

    Joel: Thanks for the update and link!

    • alex says:

      this thing with UL is a bit sad… I read some of his papers (not the three involved though, by chance!) and I did like them, although I did not have the specific knowledge to judge them as a reviewer. As far as I read online, the two RP papers involved were based on his PhD thesis… It may be the case that it was just an (inexcusable) accident due to lack of supervision or experience? He also has a paper in SMJ in the 2012 May issue… clearly he’s lost his reputation yet what about the quality of the rest of his work?

      • Bruce says:

        Once might be an accident, twice looks careless, three times looks like a pattern (or routine) … and I believe there is a lot more to come. I would not trust any of his work.

      • Simon says:

        If you look at the SMJ paper, the coefficients are screwed up. New retraction?

      • alex says:

        well… that’s clearly not good… if the coefficients are screwed up in SMJ (and, as far as I understood, there were problem with the stats in other papers as well), this may ring a bell about the reviewing process itself… As said, I am not quite yet in a position to judge the nuances of stats (I am a PhD student and my main study is qualitative, though I am now working on a second quants study so I am improving right now), but if substantial problems in reporting stats have gone unnoticed in several leading journals, it does not sound right.

  6. […] a comment Russ Coff left on the blog StrategyProfs.net, he also pointed out that similar issues seem to be rampant in Lichtenthalers work: “it appears […]

  7. […] erstes haben zwei englischsprachige Wissenschaftsblogs  vor einigen Tagen über den Fall berichtet: Zwei […]


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