Journal Retracts Three Papers — Including Two on COVID-19 — Because 'Trainee Editor' Committed Misconduct

Retraction Watch Staff

November 30, 2021

A psychiatry journal has retracted two papers on Covid-19 and mental health, and a third on racism, after concluding that an author on the articles rigged the peer-review process.

The papers, which appeared in the International Journal of Social Psychiatry (IJSP), were co-authored by Debanjan Banerjee, then geriactric psychiatrist at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences in Bengaluru, and his colleagues.

Banerjee, who has since left the institution, was also until recently a "trainee editor" at the journal, as Neuroskeptic noted on Twitter last week, as well as an associate editor of the Journal of Psychosexual Health — both of which are SAGE titles. He's also an associate editor for the Frontiers journal Aging Psychiatry.

According to the IJSP :

The following articles have been retracted at the request of the Editor and the Publisher.
In 2021 SAGE became aware that the peer review process for these articles had been compromised. We have reason to believe that this was due to the submitting author's misconduct.
Adhering to the international guidelines established by the Committee on Publication Ethics, the Journal has determined these are grounds for retraction.
SAGE regrets the academic record was compromised and apologises to readers.
Ahuja, K. K., Khandelwal, A., & Banerjee, D. (2021). 'Weighty woes': Impact of fat talk and social influences on body dissatisfaction among Indian women during the pandemic. First Published February 4, 2021. DOI: 10.1177/0020764021992814
Banerjee, D., Vasquez, V., Pecchio, M., Hegde, M. L., Jagannatha, R. Ks., & Sathyanarayana Rao, T. S. (2021). Biopsychosocial intersections of Affective Touch & Psychiatry: Mental health implications of 'Touch hunger' during COVID-19. DOI: 10.1177/0020764021997485
Banerjee, D., Vijayakumar, H. G., & D'Cruz, M. (2020). "Beyond the Floyd Narrative": Reviewing Racism through the lens of Social Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1177/0020764020950773

Neither Banerjee nor the editor of the journal replied to our requests for comment.
The two COVID-19-related retractions bring our count of such retractions to 194.

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