Timeliness and content of retraction notices for publications by a single research group

Andrew Grey* (Corresponding Author), Alison Avenell, Mark Bolland

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)


Publications of expressions of concern and retractions should be timely, accurate and comprehensive. We assessed these characteristics for 292 publications by a research group about which we submitted concerns about publication integrity to 77 journals and 29 publishers between March 2013 and February 2020. By October 2020, 115 publications were corrected (3), had expressions of concern (18), or were retracted (94). The median (95% CI) time from submission of concerns to the first journal correction was 22.1 (18.2–26.9) months: this did not diminish by year of submission of concerns, varied between publishers, and was shorter for journals with higher impact factors. Eighty-four publications of original research were retracted. The median (range) proportion of concerns raised with the journal that were mentioned in the ensuing retraction notices was 9.5% (2–49). At least 75% of retraction notices included the suggested content for 7/9, 3/9 and 3/16 items in the Committee for Publication Ethics and Retraction Watch minimum and optimal recommended formats, respectively. Thus, assessment of concerns about publication integrity was delayed and incomplete. Adherence to recommended content of retraction notices was moderate at best. Strategies are needed to improve the efficiency, accuracy and transparency of processes for resolving concerns about publication integrity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-378
Number of pages32
JournalAccountability in Research
Issue number6
Early online date5 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

The study received no specific funding. MB is the recipient of an HRC Clinical Practitioner Fellowship. The Health Services Research Unit is funded by the Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government Health and Social Care Directorates. The authors are independent of the HRC. The HRC had no role in study design, the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data, the writing of the article, or the decision to submit it for publication.


  • Publication integrity
  • retraction
  • expression of concern
  • academic publishing


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