Corrections, retractions and expressions of reservations
Correction and retraction policies
Errors made in good faith are part of the scientific research and editing process and require the publication of a correction when detected.
JLE expects authors to inform the journal editor of any factual errors they have noticed (or been informed of) in their article once it is published. Corrections are made at the discretion of the journal.
As the publisher, JLE has a duty to maintain the integrity of the scientific record. For this reason, minor corrections that do not affect the scientific understanding of the article (e.g., formatting or typographical errors or wording preference) may be rejected if submitted after publication to avoid downstream discrepancies.
Factual errors require correction. Topics of debate are best handled in the form of letters to the editor in print or electronic format or as posts to an online forum affiliated with the journal. An update of a previous publication (e.g., a systematic review or clinical guidelines) is considered a new publication rather than a different version of a previously published article.
If a correction is needed, journals should adhere to these minimum principles:
– the journal must publish a correction notice as soon as possible detailing the changes made and citing the original publication; the correction must appear on an electronic or numbered page in an electronic or printed table of contents to ensure proper referencing;
– the journal must also publish a new version of the article with details of the changes from the original version and the dates on which these changes were made;
– the journal must archive all previous versions of the article. Readers can access these archives either directly or upon request. Earlier electronic versions should clearly indicate that more recent versions of the article are available;
– the reference citation must refer to the most recent version.
Errors can result from a coding problem or a calculation error and can cause significant inaccuracies in an article. If these errors do not change the direction or meaning of the results, interpretations, and conclusions of the article, a correction should be published following the minimum standards mentioned above.
Errors serious enough to invalidate the results and conclusions of a paper may require a retraction. However, retraction with republication (also called "replacement") may be considered in cases where an honest mistake (e.g., misclassification or miscalculation) results in a major change in the direction or meaning of results, interpretations, and conclusions. If the error is judged to be unintentional, the underlying science appears sound, and the modified version of the article survives further evaluation and editorial review, retraction with republication of the modified article, with an explanation, allows for a full correction of the scientific literature. In such cases, it is useful to clearly show the extent of the changes made in a supplementary document or appendix, for full transparency.
Scientific fraud, expressions of caution and retractions
Scientific fraud, particularly in research articles, includes but is not necessarily limited to fabrication of data; falsification of data including misleading manipulation of images; deliberate failure to disclose relationships and activities; and plagiarism. In addition, some consider the failure to publish the results of clinical trials or other experiments conducted in humans to be a form of scientific fraud. Each of these practices is a problem, but they are not equivalent. Each situation must be assessed individually by the relevant stakeholders. If allegations of scientific fraud are made or if there are concerns about aspects of the conduct or integrity of the work described in submitted or published articles, the editor should follow the appropriate procedures outlined by committees such as the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) (https://publicationethics.org/resources/flowcharts), and consider informing institutions and funders. In addition, the editor may choose to publish an expression of caution pending the outcome of these procedures. If the process results in an investigation at the authors' institution, the editor should obtain the results of that investigation and communicate them to readers as appropriate. If the investigation finds scientific fraud, the journal must publish a retraction of the article. Situations may arise in which fraud is not proven. In this event, correspondence with the editor-in-chief may be published to alert readers to the issue.
Expressions of concern and retractions should not simply consist of a letter to the editor. They should be prominently displayed on a numbered electronic or printed page in a properly referenced electronic or printed table of contents and include the title of the original article in the title. If the article has been posted online, the retraction should include a link to the original article and vice versa, and the retracted article should be clearly marked as such in all forms (abstract, full text, PDF version). Ideally, the authors of the retraction should be the same as the authors of the article. If they are unwilling or unable to publish a retraction, the editor may, under certain circumstances, accept retractions from other responsible individuals or may be the sole signatory to the retraction or expression of concern. The text of the retraction must explain why the article is being retracted and include a full citation to the article. Retracted articles must remain in the public domain but be clearly identified as such.
It cannot be assumed that the previous work of the author of a fraudulent article is valid. The editor may ask the author's institution to guarantee the validity of other work published in the journal or issue a retraction regarding it. Alternatively, the editor may choose to issue a statement indicating that the validity of previously published work is in doubt.
The integrity of the research may also be compromised if the methodology used is inappropriate, and a retraction may be necessary in this situation.
For additional recommendations on retractions and expressions of concern, please see the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) flowcharts. See section IV. g.i. for recommendations on how to avoid referencing retracted articles.
This procedure applies to complaints about content, procedures, or policies that are the responsibility of JLE or journal editorial teams. Complaints can provide an opportunity and incentive for improvement, and JLE therefore aims to respond promptly, courteously, and constructively. The procedure outlined below is intended to be fair to those who make complaints and those who are the subject of complaints.
Claims must relate to content or procedure that was the responsibility of JLE or the editorial staff. A complaint is defined as:
– anything defined as a complaint by the complainant and ;
– anything that goes beyond an expression of disagreement with a decision and identifies a perceived failure of process or a serious error in judgment.
If an author feels that an article has been unfairly rejected, he or she should follow the appeal procedure.
Complaints should be sent directly by e-mail to the editor and to firstname.lastname@example.org and will be treated confidentially.
Complaints to journals are coordinated by the most appropriate staff member, with the possibility of escalation if they cannot be resolved :
– If this initial response is deemed insufficient, the complainant may request that the complaint be forwarded to a more senior member of the team;
– if the complainant remains dissatisfied, complaints can be forwarded to the JLE's director of publication, whose decision is final.
If possible, a full response will be made within two weeks. If this is not possible, an interim response will be provided within two weeks. Further interim responses will be provided until the complaint is resolved.