Journal editors should 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 falsification (eg image manipulation) or honest error (e.g. miscalculation or experimental error)
the findings have previously been published elsewhere without proper attribution, permission or justification (i.e. cases of redundant publication)
it constitutes plagiarism
it reports unethical research
the author(s) failed to disclose a major competing interest
there is a serious legal issue
it has been published on the basis of a manipulated peer review process
Notices of retraction should:
be linked to the retracted article wherever possible (ie, in all online versions)
clearly identify the retracted article (eg, by including the title and authors in the retraction heading or citing the retracted article)
be clearly identified as a retraction (ie, distinct from other types of correction or comment)
be published promptly to minimise harmful effects
be freely available to all readers (ie, not behind access barriers or available only to subscribers)
state who is retracting the article • State the reason(s) for retraction
be objective, factual and avoid inflammatory language.
Retractions are not usually appropriate if:
the authorship is disputed but there is no reason to doubt the validity of the findings
the main findings of the work are still reliable and correction could sufficiently address errors or concerns
author conflicts of interest have been reported to the journal after publication, but in the editor’s view these are not likely to have influenced interpretations or recommendations or the conclusions of the article.
This is an extract. Refer to the PDF for the full document.
Author Elizabeth Wager, Virginia Barbour, Steven Yentis, Sabine Kleinert on behalf of COPE Council Version 1 2009 Version 2 2019 How to cite this
COPE Council. COPE Guidelines: Retraction Guidelines. November 2019. https://doi.org/10.24318/cope.2019.1.4
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19 February 2020
Text replaced with summary text from 2019 guidelines.