Occasionally a retraction will be used to correct errors in submission or publication such as infringements of professional ethical codes, such as multiple submission, bogus claims of authorship, plagiarism, fraudulent use of data etc. Standards for dealing with retractions have been developed by a number of library and scholarly bodies, and this best practice is adopted for article retraction by the publisher:
- 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 online article is preceded by a screen containing the retraction note. It is to this screen that the link resolves; the reader can then proceed to the article itself.
- 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.
Article Removal: Legal limitations
In an extremely limited number of cases, it may be necessary to remove an article from the online database. This will only occur where the article is clearly defamatory, or infringes others’ legal rights, or where the article is, or we have good reason to expect it will be, the subject of a court order, or where the article, if acted upon, might pose a serious health risk. In these circumstances, while the metadata (Title and Authors) will be retained, the text will be replaced with a screen indicating the article has been removed for legal reasons.
In cases where the article, if acted upon, might pose a serious health risk, the authors of the original article may wish to retract the flawed original and replace it with a corrected version. In these circumstances the procedures for retraction will be followed with the difference that the database retraction notice will publish a link to the corrected re-published article and a history of the document.
In the instance where errors are introduced to the article by the publisher an erratum will be published to the original article. All publisher-introduced changes are highlighted to the author at the proof stage and any errors are ideally identified by the author and corrected by the publisher before final publication.
Should the author wish to publish to a change to their article that at any time after acceptance a corrigendum will be published. Authors should contact the Editor-in-Chief of the journal, who will determine the impact of the change and decide on the appropriate course of action.