Evelyne Decullier & Hervé Maisonneuve have been studying retractions for a long time. They’ve looked at how long retractions take to show up in PubMed, and five years ago they published a paper on the quality of retraction notices — and how well they were disseminated — in 2008. Now, they’ve repeated that analysis for papers retracted in 2016, and in a new paper in BMC Research Notes, conclude that “management of retraction has improved.” We asked them some questions — one of which, about an Elsevier policy, as noted below, led to a re-examination of the conclusions — about their findings:
Retraction Watch (RW): Why do you think it’s important for journals to provide a reason for retraction?
Evelyne Decullier & Hervé Maisonneuve (ED and HM): Correcting the literature is key for ensuring the quality of data and that the scientific method is respected. Readers should at least be able to differentiate retractions for honest errors from retractions for fraud or plagiarism.