A retraction is a public statement made about an earlier statement that is going to be removed from the journal. The retraction may be initiated by the editors of the journal, or by the author(s) of the paper. However, since responsibility for the journal’s content rests with the editor, s/he should always have the final decision about retracting material. Journal editors may retract publications even if all or some of the authors refuse to retract the publication themselves.
When should a publication be retracted?
Only published items can be retracted. Publications should be retracted as soon as possible after the journal editor is convinced that the publication is seriously flawed and misleading (or is redundant or plagiarized).
What Are Compelling Reasons?
- Bogus claims of authorship
- Multiple submission
- Fraudulent use of data
- Infringements of professional ethical codes
- Redundant publication
- Failure to disclose a major competing interest
Should retraction be applied in cases of disputed authorship?
Authors sometimes request that articles are retracted when authorship is disputed after publication. If there is no reason to doubt the validity of the findings or the reliability of the data it is not appropriate to retract a publication solely on the grounds of an authorship dispute. In such cases, the journal editor should inform those involved in the dispute that s/he cannot adjudicate in such cases but will be willing to publish a correction to the author/contributor list if the authors/contributors (or their institutions) provide appropriate proof that such a change is justified.
Article Retraction Process
- A retraction note titled “Retraction: [article title]” signed by the authors and/or the editor is published in the paginated part of a subsequent issue of the journal and listed in the contents list.
- In the electronic version, a link is made to the original article.
- The original article is retained unchanged save for a watermark on the .pdf indicating on each page that it is “retracted.”
- The HTML version of the document is removed.
Wager E, Barbour V, Yentis S, Kleinert S. Retraction Guidelines. Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). Sep 2009. Available from: http://publicationethics.org/files/retraction%20guidelines.pdf