August 24, 2012

Lichtenthaler Retractions #4 and #5

Prof. Ulrich Lichtenthaler has now witnessed the fourth and fifth retractions of his papers on patent licensing and other topics related to open innovation.

On August 15, Strategic Management Journal marked as “retracted” a paper published three months ago:
RETRACTED: Integrated knowledge exploitation: The complementarity of product development and technology licensing

Ulrich Lichtenthaler, Holger Ernst
Article first published online: 4 JAN 2012
DOI: 10.1002/smj.1951

Strategic Management Journal
Volume 33, Issue 5, pages 513–534, May 2012
Yesterday (Aug. 22), the Journal of World Business reported its own retraction:
Journal of World Business
Volume 44, Issue 4, October 2009, Pages 407–420

RETRACTED: Product business, foreign direct investment, and licensing: Examining their relationships in international technology exploitation
Ulrich Lichtenthaler,
WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, Technology and Innovation Management, Burgplatz 2, D-56179 Vallendar, Germany
Available online 5 March 2009.
The SMJ website didn’t state a reason, but the managing editor told me “the authors asked the SMJ to remove their paper and we followed their wishes.” The JWB stated:
This article has been retracted at the request of the Editor-in-Chief and Author.

After discussions between the Editors-in-Chief and the authors, it has been decided that this paper should be retracted due to errors in the results tables, specifically the regression coefficients and standard errors do not fit with the significance levels of some variables in a few models in the paper. The author notified the Editors-in-Chief of these errors on the 5th of June 2012.
This is similar to the Lichtenthaler and Ernst (2009) retraction, which was “retracted at the author’s and editors’ request due to errors in reporting, for which the first author has claimed responsibility” — although SO co-editor Russ Coff elaborated:
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…
However, after discovering both parallel publication and omitted variables problems, Research Policy refused to allow the author to retract his papers:
After the Research Policy Editors had made their decision to retract the two papers (but before he had been notified of the outcome), the author wrote to acknowledge a third problem with the Research Policy 2009 paper, namely that the statistical significance of several of the findings had been misreported. In the light of this new problem, the author asked to withdraw the Research Policy 2009 paper. However, by then the editorial decision to retract that paper on the original two grounds listed above had already been taken.
So the authors were allowed to pre-empt any retraction at SMJ but not at RP — while at SO and JWB the official retraction was announced as a joint decision of the authors and editors.

I have heard that articles are being investigated for possible retraction at two other journals, but nothing has been posted to these websites.

Bibliography of Retracted Articles
  • Ulrich Lichtenthaler, “The role of corporate technology strategy and patent portfolios in low-, medium- and high-technology firms,” Research Policy 38, 3 (May 2009), 559-569, doi: 10.1016/j.respol.2008.10.009
  • Ulrich Lichtenthaler, “Product business, foreign direct investment, and licensing: Examining their relationships in international technology exploitation,” Journal of World Business, 44, 4 (October 2009): 407–420, doi: 10.1016/j.jwb.2009.01.003
  • Ulrich Lichtenthaler, “Determinants of proactive and reactive technology licensing: A contingency perspective,” Research Policy 39, 1 (Feb. 2010), 55-66, doi: 10.1016/j.respol.2009.11.011
  • Ulrich Lichtenthaler and Holger Ernst, “Technology licensing strategies: the interaction of process and content characteristics,” Strategic Organization 7, 2 (May 2009), 183-221, doi:10.1177/1476127009102672
  • Ulrich Lichtenthaler and Holger Ernst, “Integrated knowledge exploitation: The complementarity of product development and technology licensing” Strategic Management Journal, 33, 5 (May 2012): 513–534, doi: 10.1002/smj.1951

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