Update: When the journal mentioned that they emailed me to say they will assign an "independent reviewer", I wrote back to say that I appreciated that, and had there have been a citation and attribution of the methodology to us, such as:
"In this work, we have applied the approach outlined by [BugsBunny et al] to quantify ... in ... --- partitioning X by Y Our work, however, focuses on the in-silico portion of a typical..."
or something to that effect, that would be properly attributing the very specific methodology to our work and I would not have written to them about the extensive similarities.
They have now written back saying that whilst they found "conceptual overlap", there "principles" (actually not just conceptual or principles, but a very specific methodology we devised) were applied in a different way, that they will not be retracting and that the case is closed.
It seems like they just used my honest comment about citation/acknowledgement to fob me off with a bogus response.
I can't accept this trickery from what is supposed to be a reputable journal. It brings the said journal into disrepute wrt to their handling of this. Suggestions are appreciated.
This is really interesting (but unfortunate) in that it raises the question of how you 'call' a leading journal if their own editorial process fails.
It's in the journal's interest to argue they're right. It's better for them to silently fob you off than do a retraction.
Thing is, it's incredibly hard to make a judgement if you're wrong/right or have a basis without the evidence (& it's probably not my field).
It would be something of a crusade from this point. The only thing I can see working is you asking top academics in the field, getting their general consensus, then creating a media storm (in the academic sense!) that makes the editor(s) rethink.
On the one hand, I'd want to say pick your battles, as ultimately this doesn't really detract from your own work and could become a major distraction. On the other, I'd want to say fight the fight, since this is what academia is meant to do.
I really appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts on this, it has been very depressing and was detracting from my time, so for a while I've put it at the back of my mind, for now.
Just a follow-up question I had... In cases where the journal says an investigation has been carried out, would a report be available? Otherwise, they can just say anything and go with any old fob-you-off line.
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