Dear Professor Egilman
Thank you for sending us a copy of the paper ‘The mishandling of scientifically flawed articles about radiation exposure, retracted for ethical reasons, impedes understanding of the scientific issues pointed out by Letters to the Editor’ to be published in the Journal of Scientific Practice and Integrity and our response is as follows.
The articles and letters referred to in this paper were part of lengthy and complex investigations, with several external parties involved. As soon as we (the Publisher and the Journal) learned that these investigations were taking place, we put “Expressions of Concern” on the articles alerting readers to the potential unreliability of the findings, and we retracted the articles after the investigations were completed. We followed the industry guidance available throughout and requested COPE’s advice to ensure we were acting correctly. Given the outcome of the investigations, in our view it was not appropriate to proceed with publishing these letters relating to the science contained in retracted articles, which had been based on unconsented data. Upon investigating, COPE stated that “the journal followed a process consistent with COPE guidelines”. We have been as transparent as possible regarding this case, including a detailed response to the Letter authors’ complaint to COPE and publication of a Publishers Note in the journal explaining all the actions we took (https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1361-6498/aba4).
We should appreciate it if this response was published with the paper in question.
M C Thorne, Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Radiological Protection
S Harris, Managing Editor, IOP Publishing