Regarding Retractions: The Representation of Retracted Publications in Mental Health Literature

Caitlin J Bakker, Amy L Riegelman

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Objectives: Retractions are a mechanism by which science corrects itself, withdrawing statements or claims that have proven to be erroneous. However, this requires that such corrections be clearly and consistently displayed. In the medical literature, inconsistency and obscurity have implications for research and patient care. This research considers how retracted publications in the mental health literature are represented across different databases.

Methods: Using Retraction Watch, we identified 144 retracted articles in the mental health field, ranging from papers in bench science to clinical research to social sciences. Between June and July 2016, we examined records across seven resources: PubMed, MEDLINE via Ovid, PsycINFO via Ovid, Web of Science, EBSCOhost, Scopus, and publisher websites. We determined the consistency and clarity of the retracted status of these publications in accordance with guidelines from the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE).

Results: Of the 812 records for retracted publications, 40.0% (n=325) did not indicate that the paper had been retracted. 26.3% of available PDFs (53/201) did not indicate that the paper had been retracted. Of the 144 articles studied, only 10 were represented as being retracted across all resources through which they were available.

Conclusions: Retracted publications are inconsistently represented across library resources. Our findings show that journal publishers were relatively consistent with regards to how frequently retractions were indicated while the platforms showed greater variability. While technical solutions, such as CrossMark by CrossRef, may bring help to mitigate these challenges, the inconsistent display of retracted publications has potential consequences for research and practice and raising awareness of this issue should be incorporated into the work of medical librarians.
Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - May 2018
EventMedical Library Association Annual Meeting: Adapting Transforming Leading - Atlanta, United States
Duration: May 18 2018May 23 2018


ConferenceMedical Library Association Annual Meeting
Country/TerritoryUnited States


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