A retraction is a rare event. In many cases, minor errors can be fixed by publishing a corrigendum (We published a paper in JMIR and have a correction. What is the process of publishing a corrigendum?). However, in cases of scientific misconduct, e.g. extensive plagiarism only discovered after publication, the publisher reserves the right to flag a paper as retracted.
JMIR Publications adheres to retraction guidelines and flowcharts of COPE regarding publication ethics concerns that may lead to retraction of an article. A retraction can be initiated by the authors (e.g. if major errors in the analysis are found), or by the publisher, if there is clear evidence for scientific misconduct or errors. Upon receipt of a concern that may involve a request for retraction, a multi-departmental team of leadership and staff at JMIR Publications reviews each manuscript and accompanying complaints/comments according to COPE guidelines to determine a final outcome.
According to COPE guidelines we may also opt to publish an Expression of Editorial Concern instead of a retraction, e.g. while a scientific misconduct investigation is ongoing. According to the Council of Science Editors (CSE), the purpose of an Expression of Editorial Concern is to draw attention to potential problems in a publication, “but it does not go so far as to retract or correct an article.” (example here).
Retractions are not to be confused with withdrawals:
- Withdrawal means removing a unpublished manuscript from the peer-review/production queue. See How do I withdraw a submitted (but not published) article from peer-review?
- Retraction means removing the entire published manuscript from the scientific literature/record by publishing a retraction statement and marking the paper as retracted in various indices (such as PubMed). The actual paper may remain on the website with a clear statement that it was retracted, linking to the retraction statement.
- We published a paper in JMIR and have a correction. What is the process of publishing a corrigendum?
- How do I withdraw a submitted (but not published) article from peer-review?