Notices should make obvious whether a withdrawal of research is the result of misconduct or a genuine mistake, says Daniele Fanelli.
This raises an important point for research integrity professional development: That self retraction of a paper is a proactive and constructive response to a good faith error or a mistake. But we also need a mechanism to clearly distinguish between compelled retractions and self-retractions.
Self-correction in science has never been so popular and yet so unrewarded. New technologies and a culture of sharing, transparency and public criticism offer an unprecedented opportunity to purge the scientific record of false claims. But retracting those published claims remains a rare and painful process. There are powerful incentives not to do so, for all involved, from universities and scientists to publishers. Retractions still unwittingly punish all who take part. To get the most from self-correction, we must turn blame into praise.