Retraction Notices Delayed

Indexing of retractions on PubMed is not immediate; some are delayed for years.

By | July 1, 2014

WIKIMEDIA, LOTYDespite being the best available index for biomedical literature, PubMed may not be the most up-to-date when it comes to retractions, according to a study published last week (June 25) in BMC Research Notes. Researchers from the University of Lyon in France found that it took up to three years to get all of the retraction notices posted for retractions issued in 2008.

“This result shows that retraction notices, despite being a very specific entity, are not always indexed as ‘retraction of publication’ in PubMed,” the authors wrote in their report.

In May 2011, the group searched PubMed for retractions that occurred in 2008. Initially, the search came up with 237 citations. But in November 2011, the search yielded 246 citations. “The time-lag observed in this study has to be taken into account when performing a PubMed search and a time-lag of at least three years should be respected between the time of the search and the year of interest,” the authors wrote.

“That means, of course, that researchers need to check publishers’ sites if they want to keep current,” noted Retraction Watch, adding: “Of course, that won’t always work, either.”

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