Research Retraction and Its Communication

Research Retraction and Its Communication

Shaoxiong Brian Xu, Guangwei Hu
Copyright: © 2025 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-7366-5.ch030
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This article presents a comprehensive overview of retraction research. It introduces retraction as a self-correcting mechanism of science involving various stakeholders and a complicated process operating centrally through retraction notices authored by different retraction stakeholders. It presents the main reasons for retraction, discusses the consequences of retraction for various stakeholders, identifies contributing factors to the unsatisfactory handling of retractions, and provides suggestions on how to handle retractions more effectively and efficiently. By way of conclusion, the article recommends directions for future research on retraction. This up-to-date overview of retraction research is an accessible source of information for those who are new to the phenomenon of retraction or unfamiliar with the extant research on retraction. It aims to advance the scientific community's understanding of research retraction and its communication.
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According to the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), retraction is a mechanism of science “for correcting the literature and alerting readers to articles that contain such seriously flawed or erroneous content or data that their findings and conclusions cannot be relied upon”, and its main purpose is “to correct the literature and ensure its integrity” (COPE Council, 2019, p. 4). The process of retracting a publication tends to be complicated (COPE Council, 2020; Williams & Wager, 2013) and often involves the participation of various stakeholders, depending on the specific problems with the retracted publications (Ranjan, 2018). Based on the extent of their involvement in handling retractions, retraction stakeholders can be categorized into three groups, namely the inner group (i.e., authors of retracted publications, research performing organizations [authors’ home institutions], and journal authorities [publishers and journal editors]), the intermediate group (i.e., research funding agencies, victimised peer researchers, competing peer researchers, and interested peer researchers), and the outer group (i.e., mistreated research participants, consumers of retracted research findings, and social sponsors of retracted research) (Xu & Hu, 2022c).

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