June 15, 2014

Two years later, Lichtenthaler count stands at 16

Just after posting the 14th and 15th retractions of Ulrich Lichtenthaler — in Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice — I received emails from two faithful readers pointing to his 16th retraction, in the Journal of Engineering and Technology Management (JET-M).

As with one of the ETP articles, it was co-authored with Miriam Muethel, who overlapped at WHU with Dr. Lichtenthaler when they both completed their habilitation.

The article was published in the April-June 2012 issue of JET-M. The retraction notice states:
This article has been retracted: please see Elsevier Policy on Article Withdrawal (http://www.elsevier.com/locate/withdrawalpolicy).

This article has been retracted by agreement between the first author (Ulrich Lichtenthaler), and the Editor-in-Chief. The retraction has been agreed based on discussions about the presentation of the empirical results following an investigation conducted by the Journal. The second author was not involved in the empirical analyses. The first author assumes full responsibility.
The editor in chief of JET-M is Jeremy Hall of Simon Fraser.

Lichtenthaler Retractions: Two Years Later

The first retraction of any article by Dr. Lichtenthaler began in June 2012 with an article retracted by Strategic Organization. At the end of 2012, I summarized the first calendar year of retractions of Licthenthaler articles, when the retraction count stood at 8 articles.

Of the subsequent 8 retractions, two came from LES studies and two came from papers that seemed to use the LES data but didn’t say so directly (as did the SMJ retraction).

The two Lichtenthaler & Muethel articles — one in ETP and one in JET-M — used the LES data, but sampled only the smaller companies. As the JET-M article said
To avoid overlaps with earlier empirical studies (e.g., Lichtenthaler et al., 2010), we selected companies that are ranked on ranks 201–500 of the largest firms in terms of revenues in each of the following three industries: automotive, chemicals, and electronics.
While 16 articles by Dr. Licthenthaler have been retracted, at least 35 have not — a considerable output. Six of the 35 articles are literature reviews. Seven of these articles are in journals that have already retracted at least one Lichtenthaler article — implying that these articles in their journal have been vetted and passed the test.

Of the 22 remaining articles, 17 were published in six journals that have published multiple Licthenthaler articles but not yet retracted any:
  • California Management Review (2)
  • IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management (2)
  • MIT Sloan Management Review (2)
  • R & D Management (5)
  • Research-Technology Management (2)
  • Technovation (4)
I don’t have any information about the process at any of these six journals. Perhaps the two managerial journals (CMR and Sloan) are different, in that they aren’t about statistical tests, the managerial novelty of each article was vetted prior to publication, and that overlap with academic articles is a common and accepted practice.

As for the four academic journals, I don’t know the status of their evaluation of the Lichtenthaler papers — or whether they are even doing an evaluation. From a strictly Bayesian standpoint, I think it unlikely that none of the 13 articles in these four journals demonstrate defects comparable to those of the 16 articles retracted thus far.

Update Sunday 10:30am: According to a reader who studied the methods in more than 20 of the Licthenthaler papers, none of the four of the Technovation papers had problems similar to those of the retracted papers.


The full list of Lichtenthaler (or Holger Ernst) 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 publisher prior to print publication, May 2013; originally published online with Holger Ernst as co-author)
  13. Lichtenthaler, Ulrich (2010). “Outward knowledge transfer: the impact of project-based organization on performance,” Industrial & Corporate Change, 19 (6): 1705-1739, doi: 10.1093/icc/dtq041 (Retracted by the editors, publishers and author after an investigation by the editors, May 2013)
  14. Lichtenthaler, Ulrich (2009). "Absorptive Capacity, Environmental Turbulence, and the Complementarity of Organizational Learning Processes," Academy of Management Journal, 52 (4): 822-846, doi: 10.5465/AMJ.2009.43670902 (Retracted by the editor-in-chief, December 2013)
  15. Lichtenthaler, Ulrich, and Miriam Muethel (2012). "The impact of family involvement on dynamic innovation capabilities: Evidence from German manufacturing firms." Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 36, (6): 1235-1253, doi: 10.1111/j.1540-6520.2012.00548.x. (Retracted June 2014)
  16. Lichtenthaler, Ulrich (2012). "Technological Turbulence and the Impact of Exploration and Exploitation Within and Across Organizations on Product Development Performance," Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, published online 5 June 2012, doi: 10.1111/j.1540-6520.2012.00520.x. (Retracted by the author, executive editor and publisher, June 2014).
  17. Lichtenthaler, Ulrich, and Miriam Muethel (2012). "The role of deliberate and experiential learning in developing capabilities: Insights from technology licensing," Journal of Engineering and Technology Management, 29 (2): 187–209, DOI: 10.1016/j.jengtecman.2011.10.001. (Retracted by the first author and the editor-in-chief, June 2014)

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