Time for a retraction?
The BMJ has some hard thinking to do here. A substandard article with large policy implications slipped through their review and editing process and it was trumpeted in the world media. The Rapid Responses pointed up the weak tradecraft of the Lu report, and the coup de grace was delivered by this Rapid Response comment from Barber, Miller and Azriel: http://tinyurl.com/nujv27q .
The calculus for the BMJ is to decide whether the article should be retracted or whether on-line publication of the critical Rapid Responses is a sufficient disavowal of the Lu report. Certainly, a retraction would shine a stronger public searchlight on the compromised validity of the Lu report than just the Rapid Responses can do.
In a way, the issue is like that of declaring conflicts of interest. Simply declaring a compromise through stating competing interests does not remove the compromise. Likewise, simply publishing critical responses does not remove the compromise from the journal or from the original authors.
Competing interests: No competing interests