Researchers issue retraction that the DHP is insensitive

Researchers at the National University of Singapore have unreservedly apologised and retracted their findings published in Quality of life Research 2013;22:1-137 titled “Audit of diabetes dependent quality of life is a more sensitive measure of health-related quality of life than the Diabetes Health Profile in Singapore” as invalid due to their use of an incorrect scoring algorithm when comparing the sensitivity of both measures.

In their written retraction Dr WEE Hwee-Lin, Assistant Professor of Pharmacy, National University of Singapore said

We would like to apologise unreservedly for overlooking a requirement in the User Agreement that users should score the Diabetes Health Profile in accordance with the scoring algorithm and other documentation. As a consequence we agreed to acknowledge that the finding presented in the poster and accompanying abstract that the DHP – based on the inappropriately generated overall score was less sensitive than the ADDQoL –  is invalid.”

Despite the willingness of Dr Hwee-Lin to have the retraction published, that the finding was based on a fundamental error in the method used to score the measure together with the statement made in the title of the published abstract and the potential damage to the reputation of the DHP being substantial, the co-editors of Quality of Life Research have refused to publish the retraction despite several requests from me as author of the DHP for them to do so. Their initial response being:

 It is not the policy of the journal to publish errata based on annual meeting abstracts. Although it may not have been a policy in the past, it is now. 

This was followed by:

We have discussed this issue, and have decided that there is no reason to make an exception to our publishing policies related to this abstract. This issue is closed as far as we are concerned.  It is unfortunate that you are unwilling to accept this decision, but the decision stands.

My reply has remained unanswered.

As author of the DHP with moral rights for ensuring the integrity of the measure is not damaged, I find this a rather strange position to take. What is even stranger is that a scientific journal with the aim to “…publish papers of the highest standard”  knowingly allows an inaccurate research finding to go unchallenged. Furthermore, considering the blatant erroneous statement in the title of the abstract I would have felt the editors would have had some sympathy with me despite their rather odd policy.

I thank Dr Hwee-Lin for his agreement without hesitation to submit a retraction of their findings.

Categories: Diabetes Health Profile

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