A reader wrote to the editors explaining a number of concerns she had with some of the figures in a paper published in the journal. The associate editor concurred and the authors were invited to respond. The authors agreed with the editors that an erratum should be published containing the revised figures. Out of courtesy, the erratum was sent to the reader, who replied stating that she did not feel the erratum to be adequate. After further lengthy back and forth discussion with the authors and the reader, the editors decided that the erratum should first be published and that the reader should write a formal letter for publication in the journal expressing her concerns about the paper, with the authors then being given the right of reply to this letter. The editors were unconvinced that this approach would resolve the matter completely but felt it should be formally closed in public by publishing the erratum, and that any subsequent discussion should be handled privately between the reader and authors. The Forum were asked in the editors had handled the situation reasonably and how might the journal prepare for dealing with similar situations in the future?
Discussion and advice from the Forum