Last updated March 14, 2017
Errata, Retraction, Duplicate Publication and Comment Policy
Baishideng Publishing Group follows the Errata, Retraction, Duplicate Publication and Comment Policy by National Library of Medicine® (NLM). The detailed policy is listed below:
NLM does not differentiate between errors that originate in the publication process and those that result from errors of scientific logic or methodology, because journal editors do not make this distinction consistently or clearly. Corrections, corrigenda, and partial retractions (such as for a single graph, statement, table or image) for previously-published articles are all uniformly considered by NLM to be errata. Note that partial retractions were previously treated as a separate category from Dec. 2006 - Sept. 2016, but have been edited subsequently to be errata. Since 1987, when a journal has published a labeled, citable erratum to a previously-published article, NLM has amended its citation to the original article with a bibliographic reference to the erratum notice, in order to alert users and refer them to the source of the erratum information.
In PubMed, the erratum information typically appears as a text phrase such as:
Erratum in: JAMA. 2015 Jan 27;313(4):422.
The appearance of the erratum information varies with the display format (Summary, Abstract, etc.) with which a PubMed citation is viewed. In the MEDLINE format, the erratum information appears in the EIN (Erratum in) field.
Errata may be published to correct text or information that appears anywhere within an earlier published article. If the correction involves text or information that is part of the corresponding NLM citation, such as the author, title or abstract, then NLM will update its citation to the corrected form of the text or information, and will indicate in some manner that data within one of the citation fields has been corrected. When appropriate, NLM will retain the ability to retrieve the data via the previous, uncorrected form of the citation.
For example, if an author name has been corrected, NLM will retain the ability to search and retrieve the citation via the originally published, incorrect form of the author name, in addition to the ability to search and retrieve the citation via the corrected form of the author name. A notice about the correction in the citation will show both the incorrect spelling of the name and the corrected form.
If the errata occurred in a portion of the article that is not included in the NLM citation, such as the text, graphs, or tables, only a reference to the published erratum notice will be added to the MEDLINE citation.
Beginning with the publication year 2015, NLM retains the citation for the erratum notice that is supplied by the publisher, assigns the Publication Type PUBLISHED ERRATUM, creates a two-way link between the citation for the erratum notice and the citation for the original article, but does not assign MeSH terms. Prior to 2015, NLM did not retain publisher-supplied erratum notices.
If an erratum notice is published as a substantive article or letter, NLM follows the steps above and indexes the notice with MeSH terms. Most erratum notices are not substantive and will not be indexed.
In the Abstract display, the reference for the original article appears after the text "Erratum for." In the MEDLINE display it appears in the EFR field.
NLM will only acknowledge errata when they are published in citable form: the erratum notice must appear on a numbered page in a subsequent issue of the journal in which the article was originally published. Error notices that are inserted unbound into a journal issue or "tipped" will not be considered part of the permanent bibliographic record. For online journals or online-only content, the erratum notice must be readily discernable in the table of contents of a subsequent issue, and must be associated with identifiable pagination (location of the erratum notice online).
NLM does not make changes to citations in response to letters from authors or editors, unless such letters indicate that a substantive published erratum is in press, and galleys or proof sheets are provided that indicate the content and pagination of the forthcoming erratum notice.
Articles may be retracted or withdrawn by their authors, academic or institutional sponsor, editor or publisher, because of pervasive error or unsubstantiated or irreproducible data. For example, an article’s conclusions may have been based upon faulty logic or computation, its data may have been obtained by accident from a contaminated cell line or through poor instrumentation, or it may have been derived from falsified or fabricated data. NLM does not differentiate between articles that are retracted because of honest error and those that are retracted because of scientific misconduct or plagiarism. If the notification in the journal is labeled as a retraction or withdrawal, NLM will index it as a retraction, since 1984 (with some edits prior to that date). An exception is a partial retraction which NLM treats as a published erratum.
It is NLM policy that a retraction will be indexed as a retraction only if it clearly states that the article in question is being retracted or withdrawn in whole. The notice must explicitly state that the article is being retracted by an author of the retracted paper or author’s legal counsel; by the head of the department, dean, or director of the laboratory where the paper was produced; or by the journal editor. In addition, the retraction must be labeled and published in citable form; that is, the retraction must appear on a numbered page in an issue of the journal that published the retracted article. For online journals or online-only content, the retraction notice must be readily discernable in teh table of contents of a subsequent issue and must be associated with identifiable pagination (location of the retraction notice online).
NLM does not remove the citation for a retracted article, but updates the citation to indicate it has been retracted, and links the original citation to the citation for the published retraction notice. In PubMed, the retraction information appears as a text phrase such as:
Retraction in: Clin Infect Dis. 2004 Jul 1;39(1):152.
The appearance of the retraction information varies with the display format (Summary, Abstract, etc.) with which a PubMed citation is viewed. In the MEDLINE format, the retraction information appears in the RIN (Retraction in) field. The MEDLINE citation for a retracted article is assigned the additional Publication Type of Retracted Publication [PT].
NLM makes a reciprocal link between the retraction statement and the retracted article. The citation for the published retraction statement is indexed as Retraction of Publication [PT]. The citation information for the retracted articles appears in most PubMed displays. In the MEDLINE display, the citation information for the retracted article appears in the ROF (Retraction of) field.
Corrected and Republished Articles
Occasionally, a journal may correct or amplify a previously-published article by republishing the article in its entirety, often to rectify an editorial or printing error in the original article. NLM creates a new citation for the republished article and indexes it with the additional Publication Type of Corrected and Republished Article [PT]. Text information appears in the PubMed citations for the original and republished articles (see examples below), and a link is created between them. In the MEDLINE display in PubMed, the correction information appears in the CRI (Corrected and republished in) field and CRF (Corrected and republished from) field.
NLM identifies an article that substantially duplicates another article without acknowledgement by assigning both articles the Publication Type of Duplicate Publication [PT]. Such articles have one or more authors in common and a substantial amount of duplicated text. Duplication may occur inadvertently through multiple submission of a manuscript to different journals. When duplication is acknowledged and intentional, to achieve wider dissemination of an article such as a policy statement, the Duplicate Publication [PT] is not assigned.
The Publication Type of Duplicate Publication [PT] may be added to a citation with or without a formal notification from authors or journal editors. In the indexing process, indexers sometimes recognize duplicates or very similar publications. If inspection of the potentially duplicative articles indicates a substantial amount of overlap, the Publication Type will be added. However, NLM does not routinely examine articles for originality.
A notice of duplicate publication is sometimes published within a journal when an occurrence of duplicate publication is discovered. Such notices are cited in MEDLINE and indexed with the MeSH subject heading Duplicate Publication as Topic [MH], and comment linkages are created to each of the citations for the duplicate articles.
Comments are substantive articles, letters or editorials that challenge, refute, support, or expand upon another published item. Among the types of articles that will be considered comments are: invited comments on another article, letters to the editor that were inspired by a previous article, articles that provide additional information to previous articles, and announcements or notices that report questionable science or investigations of scientific misconduct (sometimes published as "Expressions of concern"). A mere mention of one or more articles in the text or references does not constitute a comment. The commenting article must have been written primarily for the purpose of making a comment—that is, of drawing the reader’s attention to the referent article. A commenting citation is indexed with the Publication Type of Comment [PT]. Beginning in 1989, NLM has created bibliographic linkages in MEDLINE between commenting articles and the articles to which they refer.
Specific text in the PubMed citations for a comment and corresponding article indicates their relation (see examples below). In the MEDLINE display in PubMed, this information appears in the CIN (Comment in) field and CON (Comment on) field.
In general, the majority of comment linkages are for substantive comments published within the same journal title. Linkages are also made for comments to articles previously published in different journals when they consist of a substantive summary and analytical evaluation, especially in relation to evidence based medicine. Some journals are largely devoted to this type of comment, such as Evidence-Based Nursing and Evidence-Based Mental Health.
Author Responses to Comments
Frequently, a published letter that NLM considers a comment will be immediately followed by a response written by the author(s) of the original article. NLM creates separate citations for such published author responses and links them to the commenting letter as well as the original article. If the reply has a non-distinctive title such as “Reply” or “Author Reply,” the title was amended to include the PMID of the commenting letter in the format “Author Reply: To PMID 12345678” for the 2013-2015 publication date time period. Effective around 2016, NLM stopped editing the article title when the policy changed to accept the article title as submitted by the publisher. Note that for journals with a publication date before 2013, author replies were not cited separately but had their pagination included in the pagination of the commenting letter.
Expression of Concern
An expression of concern about the integrity of a published article is typically written by an editor using that phrase in the item title. NLM considers an expression of concern to be a comment. PubMed users can use these quoted searches to find citations that may be such expressions: "expression of concern" OR "expressions of concern"
It is the responsibility of the editor to initiate appropriate investigative procedures, discover the outcome of the investigation, and notify readers of that outcome in a subsequent issue of the journal. The outcome may require the publication of a retraction notice.
Articles that update previous articles are linked and indicated with the text "Update of" and "Update in" (see examples below). The article must explicitly state that it is an updated version of a specific previously published article or must appear in a journal that routinely publishes such updates as its primary content. NLM began to distinguish the updates with articles published in 2001 forward. In the MEDLINE display in PubMed, the information appears in the UOF (Update of) field or UIN (Update in) field.
A few journals indexed for MEDLINE routinely publish "patient" summaries of full articles that appear in the same journal issue. The summaries are intended for patients or the lay public to explain in non-technical terms the scientific or medical findings reported in the full article.
Separate citations are created in MEDLINE for these "patient" summaries, and the citations are indexed with the Publication Type of Patient Education Handout [PT]. The citations are also linked to the corresponding citation for the full, scientific article, and appear with the text "Summary for patients in" and "Original report in" (see examples below). In the MEDLINE display in PubMed, the information appears in the SPIN (Summary for patients in) field or ORI (Original report in) field.
Republished (Reprinted) Articles
Journals occasionally republish (i.e., reprint) a significant article that was recently published in another journal. Such republished or reprinted articles are cited in MEDLINE, and "Republished from:" and "Republished in:" links are created between the citations for the original and republished citation. The republished citation is not indexed with MeSH headings.
This policy applies if there is an explicit indication that the article is being republished or reprinted, even if it is being republished in an abridged or different version from the original. (However, there is a distinction from corrected and republished articles, for which a different policy and pair of citation links is used.) This policy also differs from the citation of an historically significant article in MEDLINE as a Classical Article [Publication Type]. Classical articles are published for historic reasons, and usually were originally published decades ago; republished articles contain contemporary information worthy of wide dissemination.
This policy does not apply to content that is routinely published in each issue of a journal, such as items from MMWR that are published in each weekly issue of JAMA, or to "Cochrane Pages" in each issue of some journals that routinely publish summaries from the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, or similar material. Such routinely reprinted matter is not cited in MEDLINE for a second time.
This policy for republished articles began with journal issues published in 2006. In the MEDLINE display in PubMed, the information appears in the RPF (Republished from:) field or RPI (Republished in:) field.