Retracted publications: locating them in PubMed

As most of you know, one of the strengths of Cochrane reviews is the authors’ commitment to keeping them updated. Reviews that are considered out of date are withdrawn, although you can still view the abstracts in MEDLINE.At a Cochrane workshop that I attended earlier this week, there was a question about retracted publications such as articles, and how to locate them. The librarian giving the presentation answered that these can be searched in OVID’s MEDLINE, but not in PubMed. Well, I didn’t believe her because I know that we can do a lot more in PubMed than appears on the home page. Turns out you can search both retracted publications, and the notices of them, as publication types. Here they are:

Retracted Publication [Publication Type]
Work consisting of the designation of an article or book as retracted in whole or in part by an author or authors or an authorized representative. It identifies a citation previously published and now retracted through a formal issuance from the author, publisher, or other authorized agent, and is distinguished from RETRACTION OF PUBLICATION [PUBLICATION TYPE], which identifies the citation retracting the original published item.

Retraction of Publication [Publication Type]
Work consisting of a statement issued by one or more authors of an article or a book, withdrawing or disavowing acknowledgment of their participation in performing research or writing the results of their study. In indexing, the retraction is sent to the editor of the publication in which the article appeared and is published under the rubric "retraction" or in the form of a letter. This publication type designates the author's statement of retraction: it should be differentiated from RETRACTED PUBLICATION [PUBLICATION TYPE] which labels the retracted publication.Then there is this:

Retraction of Publication [MeSH Heading]
– for publication retraction as a subject (e.g., an article on "Retraction of Fraudulent Data")Are you completely confused? If you copy retracted publication[pt] into the PubMed search screen, you will retrieve 674 retracted publications.

Here is an article retracted from the Clinical Journal of  Sports Medicine:

Women hydrate more than men during a marathon race: hyponatremia in the Houston marathon: a report on 60 cases [retracted publication]

If you click on this link you will see the link to the retraction [retraction of publication]

If anyone is still reading at this point, I will be amazed. And here is the full list of publication types searchable in PubMed:
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/mesh/pubtypes2006.html

5 Responses

  1. I read to the end, but am not sure I could duplicate this process. When I followed the link to the retracted article, I was disappointed that the reasons for retraction were not given. The “story behind the story” is one of the most fascinating aspects of the literature of retraction

  2. Ellen, I will dig out the retraction and post it here. I agree, this is most interesting …
    ATV

  3. Here is the retraction:

    Clin J Sport Med. 2005 Jul;15(4):286.
    To the Editor:

    I am writing to withdraw my article “Women Hydrate More than Men During a Marathon Race”1 from publication because of differences in opinion with my co-investigators regarding the use of portions of the data in the manuscript.

    For this reason, I must retract the article despite my agreement with its overall conclusions. I apologize for any unnecessary problems or misinterpretations that this action may cause.

    Tamara D. Hew, DPM

    MRC/UCT Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine,

    Department of Human Biology,

    University of Cape Town,

    Newlands, South Africa

    REFERENCE
    1. Hew TD. Women Hydrate More Than Men During a Marathon Race: Hyponatremia in the Houston Marathon: A Report on 60 Cases. Clin J Sport Med 2005;15:148-153.

  4. I just looked for Women hydrate more than men during a marathon race: hyponatremia in the Houston marathon: a report on 60 cases [retracted publication] in the online version of Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine and it has, indeed, been retracted from the online version.
    – ATV

  5. Here is another example of a retracted publication, from Molecules and Cells:

    Editorial retraction
    It was brought to our attention that some of the Figures in three articles by Yoon and coworkers (1-3) that were published in Molecules and Cells are strikingly similar to Figures in the articles published by other journals (4-7). We contacted the corresponding author on these articles and confirmed that these figures are indeed duplicated publications of the same data with different labeling. Figure 3B and 3E of the paper (1) are the same as Figure 2B and 2D of the 2004 Science paper (4), respectively. Figure 3Q of the paper (1) is the same as Figure 3E of the 2004 Stem Cells paper (5). Figure 3L and 3D of the paper (2) are the same as Figure 3D and 3E of the 2003 Biology of Reproduction paper (6), respectively. Figure 7C of the paper (2) is the same as Figure 6A(c) of the 2004 Reproduction paper (7). Figure 4A and 5B of the paper (3) are the same as Figure 6A(c) and 5F of the 2004 Reproduction paper (7), respectively. Although some parts of the articles may remain valid, we must retract publications of the three articles by Yoon and coworkers (1-3) because of extensive and unmistakable duplicated publications of the same data, acts which are specifically prohibited in the Guide to Authors for Molecules and Cells.* Hee-Sup Shin, M.D. & Ph.D. Editor-in-Chief Molecules and Cells * An excerpt from the Guide to Authors for Molecules and Cells: All submitted manuscripts should contain original research not previously published and not under consideration for publication elsewhere.

    And here is another example, from the Annals of Internal Medicine.

    -ATV

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