In July 2015, I wrote an open letter to Elsevier, expressing some concerns with regard to the quality of some of the articles published in Procedia Economics and Finance (issue no 22/2015),as a result of the international conference entitled ‘Economic Scientific Research – Theoretical, Empirical and Practical Approaches’, ESPERA 2014, held on 13-14 November 2014, in Bucharest, Romania.
In my letter I gave one example – a three and a half pages long article entitled „Sustainability of social enterprises: A discourse analysis” (.pdf) and signed by Adriana Neguţ.
On 11 August, the publisher told us that
As we are not satisfied with the reviewer report content and the answer from the Organisers, we have since asked them for further comment, specifically addressing the points you raised. If the Organisers are not forthcoming with a satisfactory response within a reasonable time limit, we will inform the author and will likely take steps to retract the paper.
On 18 August, the organizers of the conference sent me an email (in English) saying:
Dear Mrs. Elena Dragomir,
Following your Internet post and the message sent to Elsevier – Procedia Economics and Finance regarding the ESPERA 2014 International Conference, the entire procedure of assessment of the Conference papers has undergone national and international rechecking in the last month. The final conclusion allows us to affirm that all rules concerning the ethics, accuracy and scientific rigour of a highly academic conference were observed.
Since its establishment, the National Institute for Economic Research was a promotor and supporter of scientific debate and freedom of speech. Considering the above-mentioned, our Institute firmly rejects any unjust accusation brought against the Institute itself, our researchers and partners, especially when it has no scientific support.
Therefore, if you do not remove the Internet posts that affect the image of the organizers of the ESPERA 2014 Conference, of the members of the Scientific Council of the Conference and of the reviewers (foreign and Romanian academic personalities), of Elsevier – Procedia Economics and Finance and of the sponsors of the event, we consider we are in our rights to sue you jointly.
The ESPERA 2014 Scientific Committee
In response to my emails requesting an update, this morning I received the next message from Elsevier:
The article in question is in the process of being retracted after a 2nd round of reviewing.
The proposal to publish ESPERA 2015 has been rejected.
That now closes the matter as far as Elsevier is concerned.
Donna de Weerd-Wilson
Executive Publisher, Economics
1043 NX Amsterdam
It seems that my concerns were justified.
UPDATE, 29 December 2015: Finally, the article has been retracted!