Retraction Policy

IJARRP will consider retracting a publication if:

  • they have clear evidence that the findings are unreliable, either as a result of misconduct (e.g. data fabrication) or honest error (e.g. miscalculation or experimental error)
  • the findings have previously been published elsewhere without proper cross referencing, permission or justification (i.e. cases of redundant publication)
  • it constitutes plagiarism
  • it reports unethical research

IJARRP will consider issuing an expression of concern if:
they receive inconclusive evidence of research or publication misconduct by the authors
there is evidence that the findings are unreliable but the authors’ institution will not investigate the case
they believe that an investigation into alleged misconduct related to the publication either has not been, or would not be, fair and impartial or conclusive
an investigation is underway but a judgement will not be available for a considerable time

IJARRP will consider issuing a correction if:
a small portion of an otherwise reliable publication proves to be misleading (especially because of honest error)
the author / contributor list is incorrect (i.e. a deserving author has been omitted or somebody who does not meet authorship criteria has been included)

Retractions are not usually appropriate if:
a change of authorship is required but there is no reason to doubt the validity of the findings

Notices of retraction will:

  • be linked to the retracted article wherever possible (i.e. in all electronic versions)
  • clearly identify the retracted article (e.g. by including the title and authors in the retraction heading)
  • be clearly identified as a retraction (i.e. distinct from other types of correction or comment)
  • be published promptly to minimize harmful effects from misleading publications
  • be freely available to all readers (i.e. not behind access barriers or available only to subscribers)
  • state who is retracting the article
  • state the reason(s) for retraction (to distinguish misconduct from honest error)
  • avoid statements that are potentially defamatory or libelous

The purpose of retraction
Retraction is a mechanism for correcting the literature and alerting readers to publications that contain such seriously flawed or erroneous data that their findings and conclusions cannot be relied upon. Unreliable data may result from honest error or from research misconduct.
Retractions are also used to alert readers to cases of redundant publication (i.e. when authors present the same data in several publications), plagiarism, and failure to disclose a major competing interest likely to influence interpretations or recommendations.
The main purpose of retractions is to correct the literature and ensure its integrity rather than to punish authors who misbehave.

What form will a retraction take?

  • Notices of retraction will mention the reasons and basis for the retraction, to distinguish cases of misconduct from those of honest error; they should also specify who is retracting the article. They should be published in all versions of the journal (i.e. print and/or electronic). It is helpful to include the authors and title of the retracted article in the retraction heading.
  • Retracted articles will be clearly identified as such in all electronic sources (e.g. on the journal website and any bibliographic databases). Editors are responsible for ensuring that retractions are labelled in such a way that they are identified by bibliographic databases (which should also include a link to the retracted article). The retraction should appear on all electronic searches for the retracted publication.
  • Retracted articles will not be removed from printed copies of the journal (e.g. in libraries) nor from electronic archives but their retracted status should be indicated as clearly as possible.

Who will issue the retraction?
Articles may be retracted by their author(s) or by the journal editor. In some cases, retractions are issued jointly or on behalf of the journal’s owner (e.g. a learned society or publisher). 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 (or issue expressions of concern) even if all or some of the authors refuse to retract the publication themselves.

When will a publication 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). Prompt retraction should minimize the number of researchers who cite the erroneous work, act on its findings or draw incorrect conclusions, such as from ‘double counting’ redundant publications in meta-analyses or similar instances.
If editors have convincing evidence that a retraction is required they should not delay retraction simply because the authors are not cooperative. However, if an allegation of misconduct related to a potential retraction results in a disciplinary hearing or institutional investigation, it is normally appropriate to wait for the outcome of this before issuing a retraction (but an expression of concern may be published to alert readers in the interim – see below).

What should editors do in the face of inconclusive evidence about a publication’s reliability?
If conclusive evidence about the reliability of a publication cannot be obtained (e.g. if authors produce conflicting accounts of the case, authors’ institutions refuse to investigate alleged misconduct or to release the findings of such investigations, or if investigations appear not to have been carried out fairly or are taking an unreasonably long time to reach a conclusion) editors should issue an expression of concern rather than retracting the publication immediately.
Such expressions of concern, like retraction notices, should be clearly linked to the original publication (i.e. in electronic databases and by including the author and title of the original publication as a heading) and should state the reasons for the concern. If more conclusive evidence about the publication’s reliability becomes available later, the expression of concern should be replaced by a notice of retraction (if the article is shown to be unreliable) or by an exonerating statement linked to the expression of concern (if the article is shown to be reliable and the author exonerated).

Will 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.

Can authors dissociate themselves from a retracted publication?
If retraction is due to the actions of some, but not all, authors of a publication, the notice of retraction should mention this. However, most editors consider that authorship entails some degree of joint responsibility for the integrity of the reported research so it is not appropriate for authors to dissociate themselves from a retracted publication even if they were not directly culpable of any misconduct.

Click here to download retraction guidelines from COPE