A published paper may be retracted for a variety of reasons, including honest error and scientific misconduct. Whatever the reason, retractions are essential in maintaining the accuracy of the medical evidence base. Guidelines from the Committee on Publication Ethics state that retraction notices should be linked to all electronic versions of the retracted article. But, as an article may be available across multiple online platforms, including any number of bibliographic databases, how often does this happen? A new study asks this very question, and Caitlin Bakker, one of the study authors, discusses the results in a recent interview with Retraction Watch.
The study looked at 144 retracted papers reporting mental health research and found that only 10 of these had been labelled as retracted across all evaluated platforms, demonstrating that clear inconsistencies exist. In the interview with Retraction Watch, Bakker describes the potential impacts this could have on patient care and how libraries are well-placed to raise awareness of this issue. Retraction Watch itself is working to develop a searchable database of retractions and a way to integrate their data into bibliographic software. These and other tools, such as CrossRef’s CrossMark, which aim to make it easier to correct the scholarly record, are welcomed by Bakker.