This is what happens when people forget to proofread a peer-reviewed academic paper

Most people would agree that just because something is published in a peer-reviewed academic journal, it doesn’t mean that it be disproven at a later date.

But academic papers are thoroughly proofread, right?

Usually. But it’s definitely amusing when you see a screw-up like this.

Here we have a paper titled “Variation in Melanism and Female Preference in Proximate but Ecologically Distinct Environments,” which appeared in a recent issue of the journal Ethology. The passage in question was graciously highlighted by UC–Davis grad student Dave Harris:

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The site Retraction Watch noticed the blunder and reached out to both the authors and the publisher for comment. One author replied that the Gabor line “was added into the paper by a co-author during revision (after peer review),” and was missed during the final proofreading process. He apologized, saying, “I would never condone this sentiment towards another person or their work.”

Ethology’s publishing company said that they would remove the paper and republish it without the offending notation, adding that they’d be “investigating how this line made it to publication.”

It may not seem like a big deal, but it is.

From Slate:

Typos and editing mistakes are common on blogs and even in print newspapers, where reporters and editors are working on tight deadlines. But academics typically have weeks or even months to edit a paper before the journal goes to press, and the peer review process means that it has to go through close reads by multiple experts in the relevant field.

Of course, interested parties in the Twittersphere pounced on the error, but some cautioned that the co-author’s opinion of the “crappy paper” should be taken with a grain of salt.

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