It sounds like there may be some problems with this paper:
A top US official at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who was recently appointed by President Donald Trump, has called for the retraction of a paper that suggests the country exports a significant amount of illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.
The paper, published July 6 in Marine Policy, estimated that in 2015 approximately one-fifth of Alaska pollock exports to Japan were either illegal, unreported, or unregulated — a value of as much as $75 million.
Oliver wrote to the journal’s editor-in-chief to say that the National Marine Fisheries Service:
Strongly objects to the authors’ claims regarding US seafood exports to Japan and doubts the validity of the methodology used to make such estimates. The allegations made in the paper absent any transparency regarding the data and assumptions supporting them are irresponsible and call into question the authors’ conclusions. Without significantly more information and transparency regarding data sources and methodologies applied, the paper should be retracted in its entirety.
Oliver has some expertise in Alaskan fisheries: Prior to joining NOAA in June, the official oversaw commercial fishing throughout Alaska as Executive Director of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, one of eight federally established organizations that manage the country’s fisheries.
A spokesperson for NOAA said neither Oliver nor the agency had anything further to say about the call to retract the paper.
First author Pramod Ganapathiraju, a fisheries consultant at IUU Risk Intelligence in Toronto, and last author, Gopikrishna Mantha, of King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia, did not respond to our request for comment.
Hance Smith, editor-in-chief of Marine Policy, did not respond our question about whether he planned to retract the paper; however, he told us:
Upon receiving these [letters] we normally anticipate debate in the pages of Marine Policy, but do not otherwise comment.
However, no one should go around demanding that peer-reviewed journal articles be retracted (especially an official in the Trump Administration -- use twitter and call the authors funny names instead!). The more normal procedure is to write a comment on the paper and, if it has merit and the editor isn't afraid of the embarrassment that something wrong slipped through his/her the peer review process, it will be published. The authors will then have a chance to reply. If you don't like how the comment/reply goes, you can find another outlet to voice your concerns. There are plenty of options relative to bullying authors and journal editors.