May 6, 2013

Lichtenthaler and Ernst together lose five JPIM articles

Updated May 7, 2013 with corrections from JPIM.

The two long-rumored Lichtenthaler-Ernst retractions have finally been announced in the Journal of Product Innovation Management. In addition to these retractions, I have confirmed that three accepted (but not yet published) articles were withdrawn by the authors.

1. Retracted Articles

Two articles were retracted:
  • Lichtenthaler, Ulrich & Johan Frishammar (2011). “The Impact of Aligning Product Development and Technology Licensing: A Contingency Perspective,” Journal of Product Innovation Management, 28 (S1): 89-103. DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-5885.2011.00863.x (Retracted May 2013)
  • Lichtenthaler, Ulrich (forthcoming). “The Performance Implications of Dynamic Capabilities: The Case of Product Innovation,” Journal of Product Innovation Management. DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-5885.2012.00957.x (Retracted May 2013)
The notice for the former says:
The following article … has been retracted by agreement between the authors, the journal Editor-in-Chief, the Product Development and Management Association, and Wiley Periodicals, Inc. The retraction has been agreed to due to inconsistencies in the empirical results. Prof. Dr. Lichtenthaler has indicated that Prof. Frishammar was not responsible for any of the statistical analyses in the article and Prof. Dr. Lichtenthaler accepts sole responsibility for this article being retracted.
The retraction notice for the latter says:
The following article from Journal of Product Innovation Management, The Performance Implications of Dynamic Capabilities: The Case of Product Innovation by Ulrich Lichtenthaler, published online in EarlyView in June 2012 in Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.com), has been retracted by agreement between the authors, the journal Editor-in-Chief, the Product Development and Management Association, and Wiley Periodicals, Inc. The retraction has been agreed to due to inconsistencies between construct names assigned to sets of measure items across various articles using data from the same sample for different purposes.
One of my readers noted that the latter point — “inconsistencies between construct names assigned to sets of measure items” — is the first time any journal identified this particular form of misconduct.

The current editor of JPIM, Gloria Barczak, wrote in an introductory editorial for JPIM’s May 2013 issue:
Given the retraction notice posted in this issue, it seems appropriate to discuss the issue of academic research misconduct. Research misconduct has been defined as: “any deliberate conduct that goes against the more or less explicit ethical rules that a community of researchers has agreed on at a specific point in time concerning the behavior to adopt when preparing or publishing the results of a research project” (Cossette, 2004, p. 215). The most common violations by authors appear to be plagiarism/self-plagiarism, fabricated data, and falsification of data (Cossette, 2004).

It is my belief that most authors, reviewers, and editors are honest and committed to doing high-quality research in an ethical manner. However, we must all take responsibility for ensuring the integrity of academic research particularly in our field of innovation management.
In her column, she listed three steps that JPIM was doing to minimize the chance (or impact) of such problems: 1) Wiley’s participation in the Committee on Publication Ethics, 2) required questions asked of all submitting authors; and 3) a “Publications Committee” of the Product Development & Management Association that “will investigate any cases of misconduct that are brought forward.” She encouraged readers to imediately notify the editor if they suspect any errors or misconduct.

These retractions have been long-awaited, in part because Lichtenthaler had three published (plus the one forthcoming) article in JPIM and none had yet been retracted. In December, the Lichtenthaler & Frishammar article was one of three I predicted might be retracted because it was similar to the retracted Strategic Management Journal article. The other article was suspect, because since last summer Ernst was dropped as a co-author of the article and the PDF contained the following footnote:
Holger Ernst has been removed from the author list as of 13 August 2012. Because of existing and significant statistical errors in other published papers involving the first author, the second author has expressly requested the journal to remove his name from the paper.
Not retracted was a 2009 Licthenthaler & Ernst article that in December I considered among 12 Licensing Executives Survey articles highly likely for retraction. (One of these 12, a 2009 article in Technological Forecasting and Social Change, was retracted in March.)

In March, I wrote a blog posting based on a secondhand report of the planned retractions, but had to withdraw the posting when I was unable to confirm it with JPIM.

The May issue went online last month with Prof. Barczak’s editorial on academic misconduct, but did not list the retractions. On April 26, I contacted Wiley to notify them of the omission, and two of my European correspondents e-mailed me this morning to notify me of the retractions being posted today to Wiley.com.

May 7 update: The JPIM retractions come almost a year after the first Lichtenthaler retraction last summer. Why the delay? In an e-mail, Anthony Di Benedetto (editor of JPIM through Dec 2012) wrote:
The PDMA Publications Committee convened in early January and commissioned its own study of four JPIM papers authored or co-authored by Lichtenthaler for both content and statistical analysis. This process took time but was necessary because of the number of Lichtenthaler articles in JPIM that potentially could be affected.  After careful deliberation, these were the two Lichtenthaler articles that were retracted.
2. Withdrawn Articles

While these are the only retractions at JPIM, in correspondence I confirmed that three other articles were “withdrawn” last year by Lichtenthaler and Ernst after they were accepted but before they were published online:
  • Lichtenthaler, Ulrich, Holger Ernst and Wayne D. Hoyer, “Determinants of Absorptive Capacity: The Value of Technology and Market Orientation for Open Innovation.”
  • Lichtenthaler, Ulrich, Holger Ernst and Eckhard Lichtenthaler, “Desorptive Capacity: A Capability-Based Perspective on Commercializing Knowledge Assets.”
  • Ernst, Holger, “Corporate Culture and Innovative Performance – The Moderating Effect of Technological Turbulence.”
In an email exchange last month with former JPIM editor Anthony Di Benedetto, I confirmed that the first two articles were withdrawn last summer, and the third withdrawn later in 2012.

Apparently Dr. Ernst (of WHU) knew about the withdrawal of the first two articles last August. After Licthenthaler’s first three retractions last summer, an anonymous contributor commented on a blog posting at Retraction Watch:
http://www.whu.edu/forschung/forschung-an-der-whu/publikationen/

Also mysterious:

The WHU publication page lists two more articles within Journal of Product Innovation Management as forthcoming. But they do not apear online anymore. It seams that two more papers got retracted…

Lichtenthaler, U., Ernst, H., Hoyer, W.: Determinants of Absorptive Capacity: The Value of Technology and Market Orientation for Open Innovation, Journal of Product Innovation Management (forthcoming)

Lichtenthaler, U., Ernst, H., Lichtenthaler, E. Desorptive Capacity: A Capability-Based Perspective on Commercializing Knowledge Assets, Journal of Product Innovation Management (forthcoming)
The third withdrawn paper seems (by its title) to be an update to a 2001 PICMET conference paper by Hogler Ernst.

I am not aware of “withdrawn” articles at any other journal: in this case “withdrawn” by authors differs from “retraction” by the authors at other journals, in that the articles were not publicly announced by the journal as being accepted. The large number of withdrawn articles appears to be related to JPIM’s long lead time (a year or more) between acceptance and online publication.

Conclusions

If we count only retractions, the new score is Lichtenthaler 11, Ernst 5. But if we count withdrawals, it’s now Lichtenthaler 13, Ernst 8. However, these statistics are somewhat misleading: Ernst was co-author on the dynamic capabilities paper when it was submitted, when it was accepted and when it was published online — which would make the score 11-6 (or 13-9).

Beyond Licthenthaler and Ernst, these latest retractions and withdrawals have involved three (possibly unwitting) co-conspirators:
  • Eckhard Lichtenthaler is (according to Wikipedia) Ulrich’s brother, who did his PhD at ETH Zürich and apparently worked there until 2009 (but not any more). He’s still listed as editor in chief of the International Journal of Technology Intelligence and Planning.
  • Johann Frishammar is a full professor in the Department of Business Administration at the Luleå University of Technology in Sweden. Like Eckhard Lichtenthaler, he was also a co-author on the retracted Technological Forecasting and Social Change article.
  • Wayne Hoyer is chair of the marketing department at the McCombs School of Business at UT Austin. As far as I can tell, the withdrawn article is the only one that he ever co-authored with Ulrich Litchtenthaler.
Bibliography

The full list of retracted papers (not including the three withdrawn papers):
  1. Lichtenthaler, Ulrich & Holger Ernst (2009). “Technology licensing strategies: the interaction of process and content characteristics,” Strategic Organization, 7 (2): 183-221. doi:10.1177/1476127009102672 (Retracted by the authors and editor, June 2012)
  2. Lichtenthaler, Ulrich (2009). “The role of corporate technology strategy and patent portfolios in low-, medium- and high-technology firms,” Research Policy, 38 (3): 559-569. doi: 10.1016/j.respol.2008.10.009 (Retracted by the editors, July 2012)
  3. Lichtenthaler, Ulrich (2010). “Determinants of proactive and reactive technology licensing: A contingency perspective,” Research Policy, 39 (1): 55-66. doi: 10.1016/j.respol.2009.11.011 (Retracted by the editors, July 2012)
  4. Lichtenthaler, Ulrich & Holger Ernst (2012). “Integrated knowledge exploitation: The complementarity of product development and technology licensing,” Strategic Management Journal, 33 (5): 513-534. doi: 10.1002/smj.1951 (Retracted by the authors, August 2012)
  5. Lichtenthaler, Ulrich (2009). “Product business, foreign direct investment, and licensing: Examining their relationships in international technology exploitation,” Journal of World Business, 44 (4): 407-420. doi: 10.1016/j.jwb.2009.01.003 (Retracted by the editor and author, August 2012)
  6. Ernst, Holger, Ulrich Lichtenthaler & Carsten Vogt (2011). “The Impact of Accumulating and Reactivating Technological Experience on R & D Alliance Performance,” Journal of Management Studies, 48 (6): 1194-1216. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6486.2010.00994.x (Retracted by the authors, editors and publisher, August 2012)
  7. Lichtenthaler, Ulrich, Holger Ernst & Martin Hoegl (2010). “Not-Sold-Here: How Attitudes Influence External Knowledge Exploitation,” Organization Science, 21 (5): 1054-1071. 10.1287/orsc.1090.0499 (Retracted by the editors, November 2012)
  8. Lichtenthaler, Ulrich (2008). “Externally commercializing technology assets: An examination of different process stages,” Journal of Business Venturing, 23 (4): 445-464. doi: 10.1016/j.jbusvent.2007.06.002 (Retracted by the editor and author, November 2012)
  9. Holger Ernst, James G. Conley, Nils Omland (2012). “How to create commercial value from patents: The role of patent management,” Research Policy, published online 21 May 2012. doi: 10.1016/j.respol.2012.04.012 (Retracted by the authors and editor prior to print publication, February 2013)
  10. Lichtenthaler, Ulrich, Eckhard Lichtenthaler & Johan Frishammar (2009). “Technology commercialization intelligence: Organizational antecedents and performance consequences,” Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 76 (3): 301-315. doi: 10.1016/j.techfore.2008.07.002 (Retracted at the request of the authors, March 2013)
  11. Lichtenthaler, Ulrich & Johan Frishammar (2011). “The Impact of Aligning Product Development and Technology Licensing: A Contingency Perspective,” Journal of Product Innovation Management, 28 (S1): 89-103. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-5885.2011.00863.x (Retracted by the authors, editor and publishers, May 2013)
  12. Lichtenthaler, Ulrich (2012). “The Performance Implications of Dynamic Capabilities: The Case of Product Innovation,” Journal of Product Innovation Management, published online 12 June 2012. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-5885.2012.00957.x (Retracted by the author, editor and publishers prior to print publication, May 2013; originally published online with Holger Ernst as co-author)

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