3.5 Correcting the Literature

For a variety of reasons, correcting the literature is a critical part of the research enterprise. First, it addresses unreliable information that is part of the public record. Second, corrections enable the researcher to identify and use correct information, thereby saving time and resources. Third, corrections enhance a journal’s reputation for taking a proactive role in publishing accurate information for its readership. The need for corrections may originate from honest error or from misconduct. Because of the breadth of the scientific culture, it is important to note that no single recognized method exists for addressing literature corrections. Of the various scientific disciplines reviewed for this section, the biomedical sciences have had the most experience in addressing literature correction issues. Hence, the information in this section is built largely on the literature correction policies of 3 organizations that have had extensive experience in this area: the National Library of Medicine (NLM), the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), and the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).

The NLM is the largest medical library in the world; it serves millions of researchers through MEDLINE and develops policies in response to issues that surface in the biomedical publishing community. Its Fact Sheet1 outlines how it handles corrections to the literature. The ICMJE Uniform Requirements,2 which are endorsed by more than 1,000 journals, reflect the experiences of editors since 1978 and are updated regularly to address new issues in scientific publication. COPE, established in 1977 by medical journal editors and now with more than 7,000 members, provides retraction guidelines3 and flowcharts4 on best practices that include correcting the literature.

The information that these organizations provide offers the greater scientific community a useful framework for addressing issues related to correcting the literature.

The following sections examine current literature correction practices and provide definitions of important terms. Also included are an editor’s list of correction considerations, an editor’s list of elements and operations for corrections, and examples of language used for correcting the literature.

3.5.1 Definitions

One of the confusing aspects associated with literature corrections is the terminology journals use to identify what is being corrected. Different terms are sometimes used interchangeably. For example, journals do not apply the term retraction uniformly. Some journals use the terms erratumor withdrawal for a retraction, which can confuse the reader. This document uses the NLM definition as the standard for literature correction terminology. The NLM and other indexing organizations do not differentiate between articles that are being corrected because of honest error from those that are being corrected due to scientific misconduct.

The primary methods used for correcting the literature are errata and retractions, whereas expressions of concern are used to raise awareness to a possible problem in an article.

  • Errata. Published changes or emendations to an earlier article, frequently referred to as corrections or corrigenda, are considered by NLM to be errata, regardless of the nature or origin of the error. Errata identify a correction to a small, isolated portion of an otherwise reliable article. The NLM and other indexing organization do not differentiate between errors that originate in the research process, such as errors in the methodology or analysis, and those that occurred in the publication process, such as typographical mistakes or printing errors. Editors should check with their indexing serves for instructions when they have errata related to author names and titles so that online searching issues can be properly addressed.
  • Retractions. Retractions identify an article that was previously published and is now retracted through a formal issuance from the author, editor, publisher, or other authorized agent. Retractions refer to an article in its entirety that is the result of a pervasive error, nonreproducible research, scientific misconduct, or duplicate publication. A “retraction in part” or a “partial retraction” is more significant than an erratum. A “retraction in part” is the result of an incorrect section or a particular portion of an article that is incorrect, leaving the majority of the information and the article’s stated conclusions uncompromised by the removal of that portion of the content. If the notification in the journal is labeled as a retraction or withdrawal, NLM will index it as a retraction.
  • Expressions of Concern.This indexing term was introduced by the ICMJE and incorporated into the NLM-system in 2004.5 The expression of concern is a publication notice that is generally made by an editor to draw attention to possible problems, but it does not go so far as to retract or correct an article. An editor who has a significant concern about the reliability of an article but not enough information to warrant a retraction until an institutional investigation is complete will sometimes use an expression of concern.

3.5.2 Processes and Considerations

The incidence of literature corrections, whether in the form of errata or retractions, in biomedicine is low, but the numbers have been increasing.6, 7, 8 Whether the increases are the result of heightened awareness, easier detection and notice of corrections, and/or better publication practices, there is good reason to prevent and minimize the need for them. Other sections of this document address these issues.

A variety of “authorized” agents correct the literature. They included authors, editors, publishers or journal owners, legal counsel, and representatives from the institution or organization where the work was produced (e.g., department chairpersons, deans, or laboratory directors). The NLM, ICMJE’s Uniform Requirements, and COPE describe those persons from whom they will accept literature corrections.

Of the two primary forms of literature corrections, retractions can be more difficult to attain. As indicated by the NLM, retractions are issued for the more serious literature corrections and “remove” (although not generally literally “remove”) the article or part of the article from the scientific record. Admitting to a significant error, careless practices, unethical handling of the work on the part of one or more authors, or that the article resulted from their misconduct is difficult for authors to admit. However, retractions are most easily published when all authors agree to the need for the retraction and to the language in which the retraction is described. Following the list below, identifying the responsible party and reason for the error—whether or not it constitutes misconduct—are important elements of a thorough correction. It is not uncommon for authors to disagree about the language of an erratum or retraction, or whether to submit one at all. Such situations are delicate and vary in difficulty.

Below is information editors should consider regarding corrections to the literature and elements for corrections. Editor’s List of Correction Considerations

Because literature corrections may occur at different points during the publication process, no single specific formula is applicable in all situations. Editors typically address these matters on a case-by-case basis. However, there are some general issues that an editor should consider when addressing a literature correction:

What is the nature of the correction request? On the basis of definitions previously outlined, is a correction, retraction, or expression of concern warranted? The type of correction that is published should be determined by the nature of the correction.

Who makes the request? Ideally, the responsible author(s) should make the request. However, occasions when only some of the authors request and agree to a correction or when a third party must make the request arise when, for example, authors disagree or refuse to take responsibility for the correction. The editor’s concern should be correcting the article so the readership can rely on the information published.

Who writes the correction? Depending on the situation, author(s) of the paper being corrected should make the literature correction. If there is disagreement, the correction should be written by a responsible institutional official or the journal editor.

What wording should be used for the correction? The readership is best served when the literature correction states what is being corrected. Errata are often typographical errors. Retractions are typically made owing to honest error or, sometimes, scientific misconduct. The text of the retraction should explain why the article is being retracted and include the full original citation.

When should the correction be published? A correction should be published as soon as reasonably possible. The decision when to publish a correction rests with the editor and may be complicated by many factors, such as differences of opinions among the authors; difficulty in locating authors; or unresponsive authors, institutions, or other editors.

When should a retracted article be removed from an online site? Unless an article poses serious health risk or legal implications, the article should not be removed. Instead, the article should be clearly marked as a retraction.

When is it acceptable to alter the HTML version of the published article? On occasion the published article, also known as version of record, is corrected. This is sometimes done if the correction is very minor or very significant. The “corrected version of record” should carry a note indicating that this version is different from the earlier published version, including the print if produced, and how it differs. Usually, the earlier online versions are not removed so that the history of versions can be obtained by readers. The online journal site, however, will point to the most recent version available as the result of a search.9

Is there a statute of limitations for the publication of errata and/or retractions? There are many questions that need to be considered. As an example, recent cases involved figure panel duplications that were identified in papers published more than 10 years ago. Is it reasonable or appropriate to publish a correction or retraction of work that may have been replicated in subsequent publications in the same or other journals? Should such a correction or retraction depend on the extent of errors in the original publication? Should it depend on a finding of fraud or misconduct, or is simple error sufficient to warrant a correction or retraction of a paper that is 10 years old? Does it matter if today’s standards are different or more strictly enforced?

Can the same (or different) authors republish findings of a paper that has been retracted for fraud or a simple error? The implicit assumption is that scientific findings that have been retracted either for fraud or error are no longer supported by the available data and, therefore, are not valid. If subsequent experiments by the same or a different laboratory “redemonstrate” the retracted scientific conclusions with appropriately robust data, is it appropriate for an editor to consider such a paper for publication in the same journal that published the original article and retraction? Is it appropriate for the editor of another journal to publish such a paper? These are questions for which editors do not have a unified response. Editor’s List of Elements and Operations for Corrections

Although best practices to correct the literature exist, variations in the style arise within the same discipline. However, when an erratum or a retraction is appropriate, it is desirable to consider the information outlined below when possible.

Errata Retraction Expression of concern
Title Samples include “Erratum: title of article requiring correction”“Correction: title of article requiring correction”“Correction for First Author Name et al., title of article requiring correction” Samples include“Retraction: title of article requiring retraction”“Retraction notice to ‘title of article requiring correction’ [citation information]”“Withdrawal of the article of Last Author et al., ‘title of article requiring retraction’ [citation information]”

“Partial retraction. title of article requiring retraction”

Samples include“Expression of concern: title of article of concern”“Editorial expression of concern for First Author Name et al.,title of article of concern
Text: what is being corrected or of concern Yes
Text: who is responsible for causing the correction or concern Desirable but not always necessary Yes Generally not appropriate
Complete citation to the article being retracted Yes
Correction listed in the table of contents Yes
Printed on a numbered page (print publications) Yes
Published online ahead of print Yes
Corrections freely available online Yes
Link to the original article Yes
Link from the original article to the correction or expression of concern Yes
Alter HTML version of article being corrected On occasion. Sometimes journals will make very minor corrections (e.g., addition of a corresponding author) or those that are very critical (e.g., dosage) but also note it in the formal erratum No No
Replace PDF of article being corrected with watermark stamp version noting correction No Yes. Stamp should note “Retracted” on each page and may include the date of the retraction No
Remove the HTML version of the article. No Most journals leave the HTML version online but marked with a header and link to alert the reader No
PDF of article being corrected to include the correction itself Desirable but not a common practice Yes Yes
DOI Yes Yes Yes

3.5.3 Examples of Errata, Partial Retractions, Retractions, and Expressions of Concern

Just as the policies for publishing literature corrections vary, the actual publication of the corrections varies as well. The following sections provide examples of literature corrections (errata and retractions) and “expressions of concern,” along with information about who submitted them. The literature corrections were selected from publicly available sources, and their presentation reflects the authenticity and style of the respective journals. Errata

Correction: cAMP Response Element Binding Protein Is Required for Differentiation of Respiratory Epithelium during Murine Development

An author was omitted from the author list. Richard Mollard should be listed as seventh author. His affiliation is Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia. His author contributions are: Analyzed the data, wrote the manuscript.

No competing interests declared.

  • Exp. Neurobiol. 2011;20(3):137-143.

Erratum: Neuroprotective Effect of Lucium chinense Fruit on Trimethyltin-Induced Learning and Memory Deficits in the Rats

We would like to add an author and an acknowledgment as shown below. The added author’s name and affiliation are marked by underlines.

Hyun-Jung Park1#, Hyun Soo Shim2#, Woong Ki Choi1, Kyung Soo Kim1Hyunsu Bae3, and Insop Shim2#*

1Basic Oriental Medical Science and Acupuncture and Meridian Science Research Center, Kyung Hee University, Seoul 130-701, 2Department of Integrative Medicine and Research Center of Behavioral Medicine, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul 137-701, 3 Department of Physiology, College of Oriental Medicine, Kyung-Hee University, Seoul 130-701, Korea


This research was supported by Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (110126-03-2-HD120), Republic of Korea.” Partial Retraction

  • Science. 2011;334(6053):176. Partial Retraction submitted by authors.

Partial retraction

In our 23 October 2009 report, “Detection of an Infectious Retrovirus, XMRV, in blood cells of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome” (1), two of the coauthors, Silverman and Das Gupta, analyzed DNA samples from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) patients and healthy controls. A reexamination by Silverman and Das Gupta of the samples they used shows that some of the CFS peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) DNA preparations are contaminated with XMRV plasmid DNA (2). The following figures and table were based on the contaminated data: Figure 1, single-round PCR detection of XMRV sequences in CFS PBMC DNA samples; table S1, XMRV sequences previously attributed to CFS patients; and figure S2, the phylogenetic analysis of those sequences. Therefore, we are retracting those figures and table.

R.H. Silverman, J. Das Gupta,1 V. C. Lombardi, F. W. Ruscetti,3 M. A. Pfost, K. Hagen, D.L. Peterson, S. K. Ruscetti, R.K. Bagni, C. Petrow-Sadowski, B. Gold, M. Dean, J.A. Mikovits

References and Notes

1. V. C. Lombardi, F. W. Ruscetti, J. Das Gupta, M. A. P fost, K. S. Hagen, D. L. Peterson, S. K. Ruscetti, R. K. Bagni, C. Petrow-Sadowski, B. Gold, M. Dean, R. H. Silverman, J. A. Mikovits, Science 326, 585 (2009).

2. Supporting online material showing there analysis is available at www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/science.1212182/DC1. Published online 22 September 2011; 10.1126/science.1212182”

  • Science. 2007;317(5839):748. DOI: 10.1126/science.317.5839.748b Partial retraction.

Retraction of an interpretation

In the report “Structure of the 8200-year cold event revealed by a speleothem trace element record” (1), we presented a 7762-µm-long ion probe trace element traverse chosen to include the 8200-year event as detected in a previously published laser ablation oxygen isotope study from the same stalagmite (2). The oxygen isotope anomaly was distinct and dropped 8‰ below baseline values to a low value for the entire Holocene of -12‰ and was reproducible on a reverse track. However, recent reanalysis of the calcite believed to contain the oxygen isotope anomaly suggests that the anomaly was probably an analytical artifact possibly caused by laser ablation-induced fracturing during the original analysis (3). Consequently, without the original δ18O “marker,” the precise location in the stalagmite of calcite deposited during the 8200-year event is uncertain.

The trace element data in this report, previously believed to correspond precisely with the entire 8200-year event, are now believed to represent the hydrological and bioproductivity response in western Ireland to a cold/dry event of uncertain provenance and intensity. The U-Th-derived dates of the event correspond approximately with the 8200-year event in Greenland ice cores, but without the additional guidance of the δ18O anomaly, the precise timing in relation to the 8200-year event is now somewhat ambiguous. Unfortunately, it is now unlikely that the approximately 114-year duration ion probe track coincides with the entire 8200-year event (if at all); thus, the ~37-year estimate derived for its duration is probably no longer accurate. However, the trace element data remain robust and are interpreted as reflecting colder and drier conditions in western Ireland, followed by the return to more maritime conditions at the end of the first-order trace element anomaly. Additionally, the novel application of annual trace element cycles to build a high-resolution chronology and reconstruct paleoseasonality remains unchanged.

(JU Baldini, F McDermott, IJ Fairchild)


1. Baldini JU, McDermott F, Fairchild IJ. Science. 2003;296:2203-2206.

2. McDermott F, Mattey DP, Hawkesworth C. Science. 2001;294:1328.

3. Fairchild IJ, et al. Earth Sci. Rev. 2006;75:105. Retractions

  • J. Pharm. Sci. 99:1535–1547. doi: 10.1002/jps.21888. Retraction agreed to by all authors, editor in chief, publisher, and scientific society.

Retracted: Convulsant activity and pharmacokinetic–pharmacodynamic modeling of the electroencephalogram effect of gemifloxacin in rats.

The following article from the Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, “Convulsant Activity and Pharmacokinetic–Pharmacodynamic Modeling of the Electroencephalogram Effect of Gemifloxacin in Rats,” by Bikash Roy, Anirbandeep Bose, Uttam Bhaumik, Ayan Das, Nilendra Chatterjee, Animesh Ghosh, Soumendra Darbar, Amlan Kanti Sarkar, Pinaki Sengupta, and T. K. Pal, published online on 7 August 2009 in Wiley InterScience and subsequently on Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.com), has been retracted by agreement between the authors; the journal’s Editor in Chief, Ronald T. Borchardt; Wiley Periodicals, Inc.; and the American Pharmacists Association. The retraction has been agreed due to the inappropriate use of previously published work.

  • Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2006;103(50):19213. Retraction submitted by 2 editors-in-chief of different journals

Retraction for Coldren et al., Flexible bilayers with spontaneous curvature lead to lamellar gels and spontaneous vesicles

CHEMISTRY. For the articles “Flexible bilayers with spontaneous curvature lead to lamellar gels and spontaneous vesicles,” by Bret A. Coldren Heidi Warriner Ryan van Zanten Joseph A. Zasadzinski and Eric B. Sirota, which appeared in issue 8, February 21, 2006, of Proc Natl Acad Sci USA (103:2524-2529; first published February 8, 2006; 10.1073/pnas.0507024103), and “Lamellar gels and spontaneous vesicles in catanionic surfactant mixtures,” by Bret A. Coldren, Heidi Warriner, Ryan van Zanten, Joseph A. Zasadzinski, and Eric B. Sirota, which appeared in issue 6, March 14, 2006, of Langmuir (22:2465-2473), the editors of both journals retract these papers because they constitute duplicate publication.

(SH Snyder, Senior Editor, PNAS, and DG Whitten , Editor-in-Chief, Langmuir)

  • Cancer. Res. 2010; 70: 10485. Retraction submitted by some authors, 1 author not located, and 1 author disagreed with retraction.

Retraction: Tripeptidyl-Peptidase II Controls DNA Damage Responses and In Vivo g-Irradiation Resistance of Tumors

The authors retract the article titled “Tripeptidyl-Peptidase II Controls DNA Damage Responses and In Vivo g-Irradiation Resistance of Tumors,” which was published in the August 1, 2007, issue of Cancer Research (1). The authors have been unable to reproduce the in vivo data of this article and the data concerning the requirement for PI3K-like kinases in the relocalization of TPPII in response to g-irradiation. Analysis of other data of this article could be continued by new experiments using modified protocols. They are presented elsewhere (2). The authors apologize for the confusion caused by the published data. Five of the 7 authors agreed to the retraction of this article; one author (Lu Lei) was unable to be located, and another author (Hong Xu) disagreed with the retraction of the article.

(Rickard Glas, Steven Applequist, Rajender Naredla)


1. Xu H, Lei L, Kunert R, Naredla R, et al. Tripeptidyl-peptidaseII controls DNA damage responses and in vivo gamma-irradiation resistance of tumors. Cancer Res. 2007;67:7165-7174.

2. Preta G, de Klark R, Glas R. A role for nuclear translocation of tripeptidyl-peptidase II in reactive oxygen species-dependent DNA damage responses. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 2009;389:575-579.

  • Blood. 2012; 119(7): 1793. Retraction submitted by the corresponding author and the journal.

Retraction. Mayack SR, Wagers AJ. Osteolineage niche cells initiate hematopoietic stem cell mobilization. Blood. 2008;112(3):519–531.

“The corresponding author (Amy J. Wagers) and the journal wish to retract the 1 August 2008 paper cited above. Based on information discovered by the corresponding author after publication and reported by her to the journal in August 2010, which is now confirmed by a subsequent institutional investigation, this paper was found to contain duplicated data and other inappropriate manipulations. The corresponding author requests retraction of the paper in its entirety and apologizes to the reviewers, editors, and readers of Blood for any adverse consequences that may have resulted from the paper’s publication. This retraction has not been signed by the first author (Shane R. Mayack), who maintains that the results are valid.”

  • Virus Res. 2004;106:83. Retraction submitted by the publisher with authors’ agreement.

Retraction of “Nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) dependent modulation of Epstein-Barr virus latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1) in epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) promotor activity”

The publisher would like to announce that this paper has been retracted. A paper by the same group of authors containing essentially the same data and conclusions was published a short time earlier (Cell Signal. 2004;16:781-790).

The authors have agreed to withdraw their paper from Virus Research. Expressions of Concern

  • Science. 2010;327:144. Published Online December 17 2009. Expression of concern submitted by editor.

Editorial expression of concern

In the 9 October 2009 issue, Science> published the Research Article “Reactome array: Forging a link between metabolome and genome” by A. Beloqui et al. (1).Science is publishing this Editorial Expression of Concern to alert our readers to the fact that serious questions have been raised about the methods and data presented in this article. The questions focus in particular on the synthesis of the dye-labeled metabolites that are central to the microarray technique. In addition, the spectroscopic data the authors cite in support of their claim were not posted to the Bangor University School of Biological Sciences Web site at the time of publication, despite the authors’ indication in the Supporting Online Material that the data would be so posted. In response to inquiries from Science, the authors have provided new descriptions of the synthetic methods that differ substantially from those in their published article. Based on our original concerns and the authors’ response, Science has requested evaluation of the original data and records by officials at the authors’ institutions: These officials have agreed to undertake this task.

(Bruce Alberts, Editor-in-Chief)


1. Beloqui et al. Science 2009;326:252.

  • Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 2003;100:11816. Expression of concern submitted by editors.

Editorial expression of concern: Preferential repair of ionizing radiation-induced damage in the transcribed strand of an active human gene is defective in Cockayne syndrome

Cell Biology. Editorial expression of concern: The editors express a note of concern regarding the article “Preferential repair of ionizing radiation-induced damage in the transcribed strand of an active human gene is defective in Cockayne syndrome,” by Steven A. Leadon and Priscilla K. Cooper, which appeared in issue 22, November 15, 1993, of Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA (90, 10499–10503).

An ad hoc committee at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) has concluded that the results published by Dr. Steven A. Leadon, former Professor of Radiation Oncology in the School of Medicine at UNC, which are based on his monoclonal antibody assays for transcription-coupled repair (TCR), should not be relied on unless independent verification exists.

After reviewing laboratory notebooks, the investigating committee could not confirm that equal amounts of DNA were loaded onto gel lanes that were then assayed for TCR. The committee concluded that the reported preferential repair of the transcribed DNA strand was not supported by available photographs of ethidium bromide-stained gels. The committee further concluded that Dr. Leadon was solely responsible, at least for the last 7 years, for the step of the assay that determined the loading of the gel lanes. In addition, in the opinion of the UNC committee, this biased loading was deliberate and done without the knowledge of other scientists in his laboratory or his collaborators.

As a consequence of this investigation, the UNC committee requested that PNAS evaluate the results of the above-cited paper, which depends critically, but not exclusively, on Dr. Leadon’s TCR assay.

We have investigated the matter and are concerned about the validity of the results. We know of no independent verification of the data in the published figures. We therefore think it reasonable for the scientific community to view with extreme caution the results of these assays in the PNAS article. The editors emphasize that our skepticism does not extend to the validity of TCR, which has been amply corroborated by other experiments.

The coauthor S.A.L. does not concur with this assessment and note of concern. Although coauthor P.K.C. cannot of her own knowledge dispute the stated concern with the TCR data, she attests that the conclusions from the paper are valid, based on subsequent work in several laboratories, including her own.

(Nicholas R. Cozzarelli, Editor-in-Chief)

  • Copublished in Circulation, Circulation Research, and Hypertension. (Circulation. 2012;125:e461.) Expression of concern submitted by chairperson of scientific publishing committee of association.

It has come to the attention of the American Heart Association (AHA), in a public manner (1–3), that there are questions concerning a number of figures in several AHA journals’ articles:

Circ. Res. 2001;88:22-29

Hypertension. 2001;38:367-372

Circulation. 2002;106:2019-2025

Hypertension. 2003;41:156-162

Circulation. 2004;110:317-323After reviewing these concerns, we have asked the institution, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, to investigate the allegations. Until we learn the outcome, we feel it is best to post this Expression of Concern to alert our readers that concerns about these articles have been raised.

(MK Cathcart, PhD, Chairperson, AHA Scientific Publishing Committee)


1. http://abnormalscienceblog.wordpress.com/2011/11/27/matsubara-lab-in-japan-breathtaking-reuse-of-western-and- northern-blot-bands/#more-1026. Accessed March 5, 2012.

2. http://abnormalscienceblog.wordpress.com/2011/11/30/matsubara-lab-in-japan-breathtaking-reuse-of-histological- images-and-fragments-part-2/. Accessed March 5, 2012.

3. http://abnormalscienceblog.wordpress.com/2011/12/14/matsubara-lab-in-japan-anything-goes-part-3/. Accessed March 5, 2012.

  • Science 2006;314(5799):592. Expression of concern submitted by editors that was then followed up with a retraction

Editorial expression of concern

In the 17 February 2006 issue, we published the study “CDX2 gene expression and trophectoderm lineage specification in mouse embryos” by K. Deb et al. (1). It has come to our attention, through communication with Robert Hall of the Provost’s office at the University of Missouri Columbia and the senior author of the paper, R. Michael Roberts of the University of Missouri Columbia, that there is an ongoing investigation of this study by the University of Missouri. We are therefore informing readers that the results reported therein may not be reliable.

(Donald Kennedy, Editor-in-Chief)


1. Deb K, Sivaguru M, Yong HY, Roberts RM. Science. 2006;311(5763),992-996.

Science. 2007;317(5837):450. Retraction that followed expression of concern submitted by some authors.


We wish to retract our Report “CDX2 gene expression and trophectoderm lineage specification in mouse embryos” (1). Allegations of research misconduct were received by the University of Missouri-Columbia (MU) Provost, and an investigation found that the first author (K.D.) engaged in research misconduct by intentionally falsifying and fabricating digital images in the preparation of Figs. 4I; 4N; 4S; 2G; 3, J to L; S2, V to X; and S6, I to K accompanying the Science article. In addition, the original raw image files for the majority of the figures in the paper have not been located (the exceptions being the confocal scanning images in Figs. S1, S3, S4, S5, and S6), raising the possibility that the data they represent may also be suspect. We have decided to withdraw the article in its entirety in view of the fact that the paper was founded at least in part on falsified or fabricated images.

The corresponding author (R.M.R.) takes responsibility for placing excessive trust in his co-worker and for not assuring that a complete set of raw data existed at the time the questions first arose about the paper. We deeply regret any scientific misconceptions that have resulted from the publication of this article.

The first author resigned from MU shortly after the allegations of research misconduct were received and could not be found to sign the retraction.”

(R. Michael Roberts, M. Sivaguru, H. Y. Yong)


1. Deb K, Sivaguru M, Yong HY, Roberts RM. Science. 2006;311(5763):992-996.

3.5.4 References

  1. National Library of Medicine. Fact sheet: errata, retractions, partial retractions, corrected and republished articles, duplicate publications, comments (including author replies), updates, patient summaries, and republished (reprinted) articles policy for MEDLINE. Available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/pubs/factsheets/errata.html (Accessed March 9, 2012).
  2. International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE). Uniform requirements for manuscripts submitted to biomedical journals. Available at http://www.icmje.org/(Accessed March 9, 2012).
  3. Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). Retraction guidelines. Available at: http://publicationethics.org/resources/guidelines (Accessed March 9, 2012).
  4. Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). Flowcharts. Available at: http://publicationethics.org/resources/flowcharts (Accessed March 9, 2012).
  5. Kotzin S, Chief, Indexing, MEDLINE; written communication, December 2004.
  6. Budd JM, Coble ZC, Anderson KM. Retracted Publications in Biomedicine: Cause for Concern. ACRL Conference, Philadelphia, PA: 2011. Available at:http://www.ala.org/acrl/sites/ala.org.acrl/files/content/conferences/confsandpreconfs/national/2011/papers/retracted_publicatio.pdf (Accessed March 9, 2012).
  7. Furman JL, Jensen K, Murray, F. Governing knowledge in the scientific community: Exploring the role of retractions in biomedicine. Research Policy. 2012;41(2):276-290.
  8. Wager E, Williams P. Why and how do journals retract articles? An analysis of Medline retractions 1988 − 2008. J. Med. Ethics. 2011;37(9):567-570.
  9. NISO/ALPSP Journal Article Versions (JAV) Technical Working Group. Journal Article Versions (JAV): Recommendations of the NISO/ALPSP JAV Technical Working Group. April 2008. NISO-RP-8-2008.

(Authorship: Mary Scheetz took the lead in writing this section of the white paper on behalf of the CSE Editorial Policy Committee. Heather Goodell, Emilie Marcus, and Tara Marathe revised this section for the 2009 Update. Diane Scott-Lichter revised this section for the 2012 Update. Members of the Editorial Policy Committee and the CSE Board of Directors reviewed and commented on it. This section was formally approved by the CSE Board of Directors on March 30, 2012.)