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National Library of Medicine Technical BulletinNational Library of Medicine Technical Bulletin

Table of Contents: 2016 SEPTEMBER–OCTOBER No. 412

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Partial Retractions: NLM Policy Change

Gillikin, D. Partial Retractions: NLM Policy Change. NLM Tech Bull. 2016 Sep-Oct;(412):e3.

2016 September 29 [posted]

National Library of Medicine (NLM) began keeping separate statistics on partial retractions in December 2006 and reporting them on the MEDLINE Key Indicators page when a journal identified an article as partially retracted. In 2006, NLM expected that partial retractions would be a new designation that publishers would be using. These were cases when some aspect of the article, such as a table, chart, image, etc., was determined to be incorrect, but the overall methodology or conclusions of the paper were not affected.

Since 2006, only 42 articles have been designated as "partially retracted." In addition, the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) Retraction Guidelines state that partial retractions make it difficult for users to know which parts of an article are or are not reliable or the correct status of the article.

Beginning October 2016, NLM will discontinue the identification of partial retractions in MEDLINE/PubMed. Previously, we added Retracted Publication as a Publication Type to the citation for the article, which also triggers the Retracted Article banner on the Abstract display in PubMed, and used Retraction of Publication as the Publication Type for the notice citation. We also linked the citations using a "Partial retraction in" label on the article citation and a "Partial retraction of" label on the notice citation. Instead, we will treat this type of notice as a published erratum. We will no longer use the retraction-related Publication Types on these citations, and the Retracted Article banner will no longer appear on the Abstract display; the notice citation will have Published Erratum as the Publication Type. We will continue to link the citations, but will use an "Erratum in" label on the article citation and an "Erratum for" label on the notice citation, as we do for other errata/correction notices.

NLM has edited the existing 42 pairs of citations to reflect the new policy. Use these search phrases in PubMed to retrieve these citations:


The NLM "Errata" Fact Sheet has been edited to reflect the new policy for partial retractions.

By David Gillikin
Bibliographic Services Division

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