So that’s how things work at Frontiers journals, eh?

That ghastly article with the AI-generated rat testicles has been fully and completely retracted.

Following publication, concerns were raised regarding the nature of its AI-generated figures. The article does not meet the standards of editorial and scientific rigor for Frontiers in Cell and Development Biology; therefore, the article has been retracted.

This retraction was approved by the Chief Executive Editor of Frontiers. Frontiers would like to thank the concerned readers who contacted us regarding the published article.

I would like to know where those “standards of editorial and scientific rigor” were when the article was reviewed and accepted by the editors, because that paper was so blatantly, glaringly, obviously bad that it’s clear that no one actually read the damned thing before stamping it with an “approved” label. I think we’ve just gotten a peek at the process at Frontiers in Cell and Development Biology, and it’s cheap and lazy.

Notice also that no responsibility was taken.


  1. acroyear says

    These of course get worse as you’ve often pointed out. Once published, crappy papers can still get cited and spread around, even if later retracted. The Creationists love to get stuff published, by whatever unethical means possible, in order to have a citation against Evolution to use in schools and churches. I recall that whole rigor we had with the Smithsonian years ago.

  2. John Harshman says

    Plenty of blame to go around. Primary responsibility lies with the authors for submitting such a travesty (and it’s not just the figures that were problematic). The reviewers and editors who failed, apparently, even to give the paper a cursory glance deserve blame, though apparently at least one reviewer did raise concerns. And the publisher bears considerable blame. It’s claimed that Frontiers publishes some legitimate journals, but this one doesn’t seem to be among them. Not that Elsevier is any better these days. Mph.

  3. chrislawson says

    John, slight disagreement. IMO the editors have the primary responsibility here. While the authors are responsible for the content of the paper, and the publisher is responsible for maintaining editorial standards, any specific decision to publish is 100% the editors’.

  4. John Harshman says

    Plenty of blame to go around, as I said. But if the authors hadn’t submitted it, and submitted to a journal whose standards they presumably new to be nonexistent, none of this would have happened.

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