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Authors, publishers retract study on coloured women after outrage

The study, by Stellenbosch University, found that coloured South African women have an increased risk of low cognitive function, due to low education levels and unhealthy lifestyle behaviours

Stellenbosch University. Picture: @stellenboschuniversity/Facebook.com.

CAPE TOWN – Following outrage and an online petition, the publishers and authors of a study on coloured South African women have retracted the article.

The study, titled Age- and education-related effects on cognitive functioning in colored South African women, found that coloured South African women have an increased risk of low cognitive function, due to low education levels and unhealthy lifestyle behaviours.

On Thursday, Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition publishers issued a statement and said serious flaws existed in the methodology and reporting of the original study.

“The editors and the publisher have taken the decision to retract this article. We have consulted with the authors throughout this process and they have agreed with the retraction of this article.”

However, the group said the retracted article would remain online to maintain the scholarly record, but it would be digitally watermarked on each page as “retracted”.

“While this article was peer-reviewed and accepted according to the Journal’s policy, it has subsequently been determined that serious flaws exist in the methodology and reporting of the original study. In summary, the article contains a number of assertions about ‘coloured’ South African women based on the data presented that cannot be supported by the study or the subsequent interpretation of its outcome.

“Specific data that would be relevant to these assertions was not collected. In addition, the references provided are not supportive of the claims that are made about the participants in the study or about South African women more generally.”

Earlier this week, Stellenbosch University issued an apology and said it deeply regretted the article.

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