The Process for Handling Cases Requiring Corrections, Retractions, and Editorial Expressions of Concern
We aim to ensure the integrity of the academic record of all published or potential publications. Whenever it is recognized that a significant inaccuracy, misleading statement, or distorted report has been published, it must be corrected promptly and with due prominence. If, after an appropriate investigation, an item proves to be fraudulent, it should be retracted. The retraction should be clearly identifiable to readers and indexing systems.
Errors in published papers may be identified in the form of a corrigendum or erratum when the Editor-in-Chief considers it appropriate to inform the journal readership about a previous error and makes a correction to the error in the published article. The corrigendum or erratum will appear as a new article in the journal, and will cite the original published article.
Retractions are considered and published when there are severe errors in an article that invalidate the conclusions. Retractions are also made in cases where there is evidence of publication malpractice, such as plagiarism, duplicate publication, or unethical research.
According to COPE guidelines, the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology implements the following procedure if a retraction is confirmed:
- A retraction note titled “Retraction: [article title]” signed by the authors and/or the editor is published in 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 has been “retracted.”
Editorial expressions of concern
Where substantial doubt arises as to the honesty or integrity of a submitted or published article, journal editors may consider issuing an expression of concern. However, expressions of concern should only be issued if an investigation into the problems relating to the article has proven inconclusive, and if there remain strong indicators that the concerns are valid. Under some rare cases, an editorial expression of concern may also be issued when an investigation is underway but a judgement will not be available for a considerable time.