Retraction Resources


This compilation of primary guidance documents and other materials provides information related to handling retractions of scientific publications.  All resources in this collection have been developed by respected authorities and professional groups and are linked here in one location as an aid for editors and others involved in scientific publication.  The materials provided also address publication corrections, errata, partial retractions, and editorial expressions of concern, and include information on how the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) handles suspected scientific misconduct in the research funded by agencies under its governance.

Primary Guidance Documents

COPE Retraction Guidelines:

This document provides guidelines on retractions for journal editors. It discusses corrections, expressions of concern, and partial retractions as well as retractions and gives clear and comprehensive instructions on how and when retractions should be undertaken and by whom.

COPE Flowcharts:

The flowcharts offer step-by-step instructions to help editors implement COPE’s guidelines.

CSE White Paper on Promoting Integrity in Scientific Journal Publications, 2012 Update. Section 3.5 Correcting the Literature

This section provides a background on practices for correcting the literature, definitions of key types of corrections, and a list of things to consider when processing corrections of any type. It also provides many examples of errata, partial retractions, retractions, and expressions of concern directly from the literature.

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This document outlines the differences between corrections, retractions, and expressions of concern, and it describes the process editors should follow when publishing one of these three types of updates to the literature.

Handling Misconduct at the Office of Research Integrity (ORI):

This link directs to a landing page on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Research Integrity (ORI) site.  The landing page contains links to several other important pages within the ORI site, such as ORI protocols for investigating allegations of misconduct.  These may be helpful to publishers and editors who are faced with allegations of misconduct regarding studies funded by those agencies governed by the ORI.

NLM Fact sheet:

This document, produced by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), outlines the NLM’s policies and procedures for indexing various types of corrections, including errata, retractions, partial retractions, and corrected articles. Duplicate publications, comments and author responses, expressions of concern, patient summaries, and republished (reprinted) articles are also addressed.

How to Find Retractions

PubMed retracted publication search:

Other Resources

Budd JM, Sievert M, Schultz TR. Phenomena of retraction: reasons for retraction and citations to the publications. JAMA. 1998; 280(3):296–7. doi: 10.1001/jama.280.3.296.

Budd JM, Coble ZC, Anderson KM. Retracted publications in biomedicine: cause for concern. 2011. pp. 390–5. Association of College and Research Libraries Conference; Philadelphia, PA. Available at:

Davis PM. The persistence of error: a study of retracted articles on the Internet and in personal libraries. J Med Libr Assoc. 2012; 100: 184–9. doi:  10.3163/1536-5050.100.3.008

Fang FC, Steen RG, Casadevall A. (2012) Misconduct accounts for the majority of retracted scientific publications. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 109(42):17028-17033. Available at:

Furman JL, Jensen K, Murray F. Governing knowledge in the scientific community: exploring the role of retractions in biomedicine. Res Policy. 2012; 41(2):276–90. doi: 10.1016/j.respol.2011.11.001.

Grieneisen ML and Zhang M. A Comprehensive Survey of Retracted Articles from the Scholarly Literature. PLoS ONE 7(10): e44118. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0044118 (October 2012).

Kotzin S and Schuyler PL. NLM’s Practices for Handling Errata and Retractions. Bull Med Libr Assoc 77(4) October 1989: 337-342.

Nath SB, Marcus SC, Druss BG. Retractions in the research literature: misconduct or mistakes? Med J Aust  2006; 185:152-4.

Office of Research Integrity Case Summaries:

Peterson GM. The effectiveness of the practice of correction and republication in the biomedical literature. J Med Lib Assoc. 2010; 98(2):135–9. doi: 10.3163/1536-5050.98.2.005.

Redman BK, Yarandi HN, Merz JF. Empirical developments in retraction. J Med Ethics. 2008;34(11): 807–9. doi: 10.1136/jme.2007.023069.

Steen RG. Retractions in the scientific literature: is the incidence of research fraud increasing. J Med Ethics. 2011; 37(4):249–53. doi: 10.1136/jme.2010.040923.

Steen RG (2011) Retractions in the scientific literature: Do authors deliberately commit research fraud? J Med Ethics 37:113117. Abstract/FREE Full Text

Van Noorden R (2011) Science publishing: The trouble with retractions. Nature 478:2628.
CrossRef Medline Web of Science

Wager E, Williams P. Why and how do journals retract articles? an analysis of Medline retractions 1988–2008. J Med Ethics. 2011; 37:567–70. doi: 10.1136/jme.2010.040964.

Wright K, McDaid C. Reporting of article retractions in bibliographic databases. J Med Lib Assoc. 2011; 99(2):164–7. doi: 10.3163/1536-5050.99.2.010.


Prepared November 2013 by Pam Erickson, Kelly Hadsell, Stephen Morrissey, Kristi Overgaard, and Daniel Salsbury for the CSE Editorial Policy Committee.