Rules for the withdrawal of publications
Retraction is a mechanism to correct literature and alert readers to monograph that contain seriously incorrect or erroneous content, or data that cannot be relied upon for conclusions and results.
Inappropriate content or data may be the result of an honest mistake, naive error, or misconduct during research. The main purpose of retraction is to correct the literature and ensure its integrity, not to punish the authors.
- Placing manuscripts in "Article in Press" is also considered publication, even if the monograph did not appear (or does not appear) in print.
- Monographs that were based on the retracted work to arrive at their own conclusions, such as systematic reviews or meta-analyzes, may also need to be corrected. Feedback can be requested by the author (s) of the monograph, institution, readers, or editor.
- All retractions will be posted in the form established by the European Association of Science Editors.
- In extremely limited cases, it may be necessary to remove a monograph from an online publication, for example, when the manuscript is clearly defamatory, violates privacy, is the subject of a court order, or may pose a serious risk to public health.
- All reviews will be pre-agreed with the authors' institutions in accordance with COPE guidelines on collaboration between research institutions and journals on research integrity cases.
- Sometimes authors are asked to retract publication if authorship is disputed after publication. If there is no doubt about the reliability of the conclusions or the reliability of the data, the refusal to publish solely on the basis of a dispute about authorship is impossible. In such cases, the editor will inform the authors and the editors will be ready to publish the correction to the list of authors / contributors if the authors / contributors (or their institutions) provide appropriate evidence that such a change is justified.
- If the retraction is caused by the actions of some, but not all, of the authors of the publication, the retraction notice will include a mention of this whenever possible. However, authorship carries a certain degree of shared responsibility for the integrity of the research reported, so the authors' names will not be removed from the publication, even if they were not directly responsible for the errors or actions that led to the retraction.
- The author may republish part of the work if not all of the content turns out to be unreliable. To do this transparently, authors must inform the editors of the new publisher about the preliminary refutation, and cite the refutation, indicating why the work was incorrect and was corrected in the new manuscript. Permission to republish must also be agreed with the copyright holder of the retracted work.
The editor of the publisher may consider making changes to the published material in the following cases (if the authors do not agree with the text) if:
- a small portion of an otherwise reliable publication is misleading (especially because of an honest mistake);
- the list of authors / coauthors is incorrect (i.e. the deserving author was omitted or someone who did not meet the authorship criteria was included);
- a possible conflict of interest for the authors was disclosed after publication.
The editors of the publisher can initiate an investigation into a publication retraction if:
- they receive convincing evidence of authors' misconduct in research or publications;
- they believe that the investigation into the alleged misconduct related to the publication was either not, or will not be, fair, impartial or final;
- the investigation is ongoing, but the verdict will not be available for a significant time.
The editors of the publishe consider the possibility of publication retraction if:
- they have clear evidence that the results are unreliable, either as a result of misconduct (for example, fabrication / falsification of data), or because of an honest mistake (for example, miscalculation or experimental error);
- the results have previously been published elsewhere without proper cross-referencing or permission;
- publication constitutes plagiarism (misappropriation of other people's ideas, processes, results or words without due mention (including those obtained as a result of confidential viewing of the manuscripts of others);
- unethical research is reported;
- the review process has been compromised / manipulated, and the scientific integrity of the monograph cannot be guaranteed;
- the authors' conflict of interest was disclosed after publication and the disclosure is significant enough to potentially change the conclusions (in the opinion of the editor).
Deleting a monograph can be considered in the following cases:
- this is clearly defamatory monograph;
- it violates the legal rights of others;
- the monograph is (pending) the subject of a court order;
- the monograph contains a photograph on which a specific person can be identified, or includes (personal) data that will make it easy to identify a person, especially if the person has not provided appropriate consent or is legally unable to provide such consent.
Retractions notices will:
- tied to the withdrawn monograph (in all online and print versions);
- contain the title of the monograph and its authors or a link to the retracted monograph;
- identified as rebuttal (i.e. different from other types of revisions or comments);
- quickly published to minimize harmful effects;
- freely available to all readers (i.e., not be behind barriers of access or be available only to subscribers);
- contain a statement about who retract the monograph;
- contain the reason (s) for the retraction;
- objective, factual and will not contain statements concerning the authors personally.
Retractions will not be published if:
- authorship is disputed, but there is no reason to doubt the reliability of the conclusions;
- the main results of the work are still reliable, and the fix can sufficiently correct errors or problems (i.e. there is no need for a complete recall);
- the editor has inconclusive evidence to support a rebuttal, or the editor is awaiting additional information, for example from an institutional investigation;
- conflicts of interest of authors were reported to the editorial office of the publisher after publication, but, as a result of investigation, this does not affect the interpretation, recommendations or conclusions of the article.