In response to: Harold C. Sox, and Drummond Rennie “Research
Misconduct, Retraction, and Cleansing the Medical Literature: Lessons from
the Poehlman Case” Annals of Internal Medicine (18 April 2006
Volume 144 Issue 8)
The recent article about the importance of integrating retraction notices
with their original reports noted their treatment in PubMed, but failed
to take into account the procedures followed in the Science Citation
Index (SCI) the electronic version of which is included in the
Web of Science.
Ever since the SCI was launched in the sixties, published retractions
have been indexed by SCI. In each case a citation link was established
between the retraction, that is “correction,” and the original source article.
To find retractions, like all other corrections, all one had to do was
conduct a cited reference search based on the author, journal and year
of the retracted paper. You would then see a list of all items that cited
the original work including the retractions, which like all other corrections
would be coded as such. However, since 1996 the treatment of retractions
was amplified by including the notation for the retraction together with
the bibliographic citation for the source item. If one does a search on
a subject or an author and finds a paper which has been retracted, the
retraction can be seen immediately adjacent to the source entry.
Thus, the retraction entry for WS Hwang’s paper on “Patient-specific
embryonic stem cells derived from human SCNT blastocyst (Retraction of
vol 308, pg 1777, 2005) is followed by SCIENCE 311 (5759): 335-335
January 20 2006.
When you conduct a cited reference search on the original paper at Hwang
HS, Science, 2005, you immediately see the statement that “this
article was retracted see Science 311, 335, Jan. 20, 2006”
In previous generations authors often unwittingly cited retracted research
because they did not or could check citation indexes. Today there is no
excuse since access to PubMed and Web of Science is widely available.
Eugene Garfield, Chairman Emeritus
Marie McVeigh, Senior Manager, JCR & Bibliographic Policy
Marion Muff, Bibliographic Policy Manager
Institute for Scientific Information Thomson Scientific 3501 Market
Street Philadelphia, PA 19104
Conflict of Interest:
The authors are all connected to the purveyor of the Science Citation
Index and Web of Science.