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BMC Research Notes

Open Access

What time-lag for a retraction search on PubMed?

BMC Research Notes20147:395

https://doi.org/10.1186/1756-0500-7-395

Received: 20 November 2013

Accepted: 13 June 2014

Published: 25 June 2014

Abstract

Background

To investigate fraud and errors, scientists have studied cohorts of retraction notices. These researches have been performed using a PubMed search on publication type “retraction of publication” which retrieves the notices of the retractions. We assessed the stability of the indexation of retraction notices over a 15-month period and what was the time-lag to get stability.

Findings

A search on notices of retraction issued in 2008 was repeated every 3 months during 15 months from February 2011. The first search resulted in 237 notices of retraction. Throughout the study period, 14 discrepancies with the initial search were observed (6%). We found that the number of retraction notices became stable 35 months after the retraction.

Conclusions

The time-lag observed in this study has to be taken into account when performing a PubMed search.

Keywords

RetractionTime-lag

Findings

To investigate fraud and errors, scientists have studied cohorts of retraction notices[16]. These researches have been performed using a PubMed search on publication type “retraction of publication” which retrieves the notices of the retractions. The ability to find all retraction notices published in a given period is essential for these researches, and these studies rely on the fact that all retraction notices are identified as such in PubMed records. If the notification in the journal is labeled as a retraction or withdrawal, NLM will index it as a retraction (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/pubs/factsheets/errata.html). However, indexation process could also be prone to errors. Accuracy of indexation could not be assessed since it would require to have access to the full population of retraction notices, which is actually unknown. We therefore decided to assess the stability of the indexation of retraction notices over a 15-month period and what was the corresponding time-lag.

An initial search on the publication type “retraction of publication” issued in 2008 was performed[6] (“retraction of publication”[Publication Type] AND (“2008”[PDAT]: “2008”[PDAT])). We then repeated it every 3 months during 15 months, from February 2011. Each search was compared to the previous one to find discrepancies, which were classified as: newly identified retraction notice (not indexed in the former search) or change in the retraction’s authors. We tried to identify the reason for these changes. These classifications were not defined a priori.

The first search performed in February 2011 resulted in 237 notices of retraction published for the year 2008. Throughout the study period, 14 discrepancies with the initial search were observed (6%).

Firstly, 9 notices were newly identified, the last appearing 9 months after the first search (Table 1). Among these, the word “retraction” was present in the title for 6 at the time of the search. Concerning the explanation for the late indexation, in 7 cases, although the e-publication date was in 2008, the publication date of the retraction notice was in 2011, certainly leading to the update of the PubMed record with re-indexation (see Table 2 for an example). In one case, a correction to the retraction notice was issued in 2011, certainly leading to the modification of the initial indexation of the notice. For 1 case, we could not find any explanation for the late indexation.
Table 1

Quaterly PubMed searches during 15 months on 2008 retraction notices

Download date

# citations

Citations modified compared to previous search

Coding

feb-2011

237

  

22-may 2011

239

Wolfort, R.M., Manriquez, R., Stokes, K.Y., Granger, D.N.

Retraction : Platelet-derived RANTES mediates hypercholesterolemia-induced superoxide production and endothelial dysfunction

Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol

Newly identified

Wolfort,R.M., Manriquez, R., Stokes, K.Y., Granger, D.N.

Platelet-derived RANTES mediates hypercholesterolemia-induced superoxide production and endothelial dysfunction: retraction

Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol

22-aug-2011

241

 

Retraction

J Am Soc Nephrol

Newly identified

Retraction notice to “Quantitative role of p42/44 and p38 in the production and regulation of cytokines TNF-alpha, IL-1beta and IL-12 by murine peritoneal macrophages in vitro by Concanavalin A “[Cytokine 2007;37:62–70]”

Cytokine

Retraction : Platelet-derived RANTES mediates hypercholesterolemia-induced superoxide production and endothelial dysfunction

Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol

Authors

22-nov-11

246

Toggweiler, S., Erne, P.

Functional mitral stenosis--a rare complication of the Impella assist device

Eur J Echocardiogr

Newly identified

Namboodri, N.

Doppler echocardiographic assessment of TTK Chitra prosthetic heart valve in the mitral position

Eur J Echocardiogr

Reiner, J. L., Nakayama, S. F., Delinsky, A. D., Strynar, M. J., Lindstrom, A. B.

Retraction. Method development and measurement of perfluorinated compounds in U.S. chicken eggs

Environ Sci Technol

Oka, H., Yoshioka, M., Morita, M., Onouchi, K., Mochio, S., Inoue, K.

Retractions: “Cardiovascular dysautonomia in de nove Parkinson’s disease” J Neurol Sci 2006; 241:59–65 and “Cardiovascular autonomic dysfunction in dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson’s disease” J Neurol Sci 2007; 254:72–77.

J Neurol Sci

Ho, S.

Structure and anatomy of the aortic root

Eur J Echocardiogr

22-feb-2012

246

 

Doppler echocardiographic assessment of TTK Chitra prosthetic heart valve in the mitral position

Eur J Echocardiogr

Authors

 

Functional mitral stenosis--a rare complication of the Impella assist device

Eur J Echocardiogr

 

Structure and anatomy of the aortic root

Eur J Echocardiogr

23-may-2012

246

 

Retraction. Method development and measurement of perfluorinated compounds in U.S. chicken eggs

Environ Sci Technol

Authors

Table 2

Example of an e-publication date in 2008 and a publication date in 2011 and the corresponding Medline indexation*

Reference: Environ Sci Technol. 2011 Sep 15; 45 (18):7949. Epub 2008 Jul 23.

PMID

21910498

OWN

NLM

STAT

MEDLINE

DA

20110913

DCOM

20120308

IS

1520-5851 (Electronic)

IS

0013-936X (Linking)

VI

45

IP

18

DP

2011 Sep 15 (publication date)

TI

Retraction. Method development and measurement of perfluorinated compounds in U.S. chicken eggs

PG

7949

LA

eng

PT

Retraction of Publication

DEP

20080723 (e-publication date)

PL

United States

TA

Environ Sci Technol

JT

Environmental science & technology

JID

0213155

SB

IM

ROF

Environ Sci Technol. doi:10.1021/es800770f

EDAT

2011/09/14 06:00 (Input date, or publication date when recorded more than 12 months after publication)

MHDA

2012/03/09 06:00

CRDT

2011/09/14 06:00

PHST

2008/07/23 [aheadofprint]

AID

10.1021/es800770f [doi]

PST

ppublish

SO

Environ Sci Technol. 2011 Sep 15;45(18):7949. Epub 2008 Jul 23.

Secondly, a total of 5 discrepancies on the author list was observed. They consisted in the deletion of the author list initially available (Table 1). All these modifications occurred in notices which were newly identified during our study.

We found that the number of retraction notices became stable in November 2011 for the retraction notices of the year 2008 i.e., 35 months after. This result shows that retraction notices, despite being a very specific entity, are not always indexed as “retraction of publication” in PubMed. However, as raised by Ivan Oransky (http://retractionwatch.com/), there is no other available database for retractions.

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 3 years should be respected between the time of the search and the year of interest.

Errors in indexation were corrected when the PubMed record had to be updated (publication, erratum), consequently we cannot ascertain that all retraction notices are indexed as such. Therefore, to ease indexation process, retraction notices titles should at least include the word “retraction” as recommended by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)[7]. Furthermore, the use of a standard retraction form would be very useful as it could help to standardize the title as well as the way of presenting authors for retractions[6].

Authors’ information

ED is a senior researcher (PhD), LH is a senior researcher (PharmD, PhD), HM is a senior researcher (MD).

Declarations

Authors’ Affiliations

(1)
Hospices Civils de Lyon, Pôle Information Médicale Evaluation Recherche, Unité de Recherche Clinique
(2)
Université de Lyon
(3)
Université Lyon 1
(4)
Public Health Department, Paris-Sud 11 University

References

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Copyright

© Decullier et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2014

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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