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Comments and Corrigenda in Scientific Literature


Has any research on retraction rates weighed retractions by how many other papers references the original article, prior to it being retracted?

posted by Michael Richardson
January 15, 2013 @ 10:15 PM

It should also be recognized during any such discussion that pointing out ethical misdemeanors in an Erratum or Corrigenda serves little purpose. Most journals only provide a link to the Erratum when the original errant paper is accessed, and this does not usually even provide any indication of the correction being more than a minor typographical error. The journals may take some solace in the fact that the record stands corrected, but most readers ignore the link to the Erratum and the errant paper keeps getting cited (and read) with most being oblivious to the ethical misdemeanor. In addition, the Editors of a journal usually ensure that the Erratum is worded in a very sanitized way. The way forward is that a journal should ensure that the Erratum becomes a part of the pdf file of the original paper itself, and that every download of the errant paper automatically ensures that the ethical misdemeanor is also noted. I am happy to state that this particular suggestion (first made by me publicly in Current Science Vol 101, page 1261, Nov 25 2011) has been quietly implemented starting mid-2012 (and is being done for back issues also) in many IOP journals including J Phys. A to J Phys. G. I strongly suggest that American Publishers like APS, where a large number of Errata are published, should also follow this very simple procedure because of its far-reaching effect on 'ensuring credit where it is due'.
posted by Praveen Chaddah
January 19, 2013 @ 2:15 AM

I have just picked up this magazine and read your article. On page 18 you say "In summary the scientific literature is self-correcting though corrigenda and though reader comments." Both times you left out the r in 'through'. I'm assuming you did this deliberately to see how many readers corrected you to find out what the rate of reader correction is. So consider me as bumping up your stats by 1. Maybe you have hidden other 'mistakes' in there, but I didn't spot them.
posted by Colin den Ronden
September 9, 2013 @ 8:41 AM


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