Corrections, Retractions and Matters Arising

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Corrections & Retractions

The Nature Portfolio journals will issue corrections, retraction statements and other post-publication updates including Editor’s Notes and Editorial Expressions of Concern on published content.  

 The following are categories of corrections and post-publication updates to peer-reviewed primary research and review-type articles and certain kinds of non-peer reviewed article types. Substantial errors to Supplementary Information and Extended Data are corrected in the same manner as amendments to the main article. With the exception of Editor’s Notes, all categories below are bi-directionally linked to the original article and indexed.

 The Nature Portfolio journals include the Crossmark button on the HTML and online PDFs of all articles. Crossmark is an industry standard mechanism that allows readers to quickly check that the version of the article they are reading is up-to-date. By clicking the Crossmark button readers can view the Crossmark record for that article, with details of all formal amendments and corrections.

 Author Correction: An Author Correction may be published to correct an important error(s) made by the author(s) that affects the scientific integrity of the published article, the publication record, or the reputation of the authors or the journal.  

 Publisher Correction: A Publisher Correction may be published to correct an important error(s) made by the journal that affects the scientific integrity of the published article, the publication record, or the reputation of the authors or of the journal.

 Addendum: An addendum is generally published when significant additional information crucial to the reader’s understanding of the article has come to light following publication of the article.

 Editor's Note: An Editor's Note is a notification alerting readers if the journal has initiated an inquiry in response to concerns raised about a published article. It is an online-only update, made only to the HTML version of record of the published article. It is not indexed.

Editorial Expression of Concern: An Editorial Expression of Concern is a statement from the editors alerting readers to serious concerns affecting the integrity of the published paper. EEoCs are published online and are bidirectionally linked to the published paper. They receive a DOI and are indexed in major scholarly databases such as PubMed, Web of Science and Scopus.  

 Publishing an Editor’s Note or EEoC is recommended by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) as a means of keeping readers updated while a potentially lengthy research integrity investigation is underway. Editor’s Notes and EEoCs are typically superseded by publishing another amendment―such as a correction or retraction―once the investigation is complete.

 Retraction: An article may be retracted when the integrity of the published work is substantially undermined owing to errors in the conduct, analysis and/or reporting of the study. Violation of publication or research ethics may also result in a study’s retraction. The original article is marked as retracted but a PDF version remains available to readers, and the retraction statement is bi-directionally linked to the original published paper. Retraction statements will typically include a statement of assent or dissent from the authors.

 When making corrections to articles, in the majority of cases the original article (PDF and HTML) is corrected and is bi-directionally linked to and from the published amendment notice, which details the original error. For the sake of transparency, when changes made to the original article affect data in figures, tables or text (for example, when data points/error bars change or curves require redrawing) the amendment notice will reproduce the original data. When it is not possible to correct the original article in both HTML and PDF versions (for example, articles published many years before the error is raised) the article will remain unchanged but will contain bi-directional links to and from the published amendment notice.

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Removal of published content

In exceptional circumstances, Springer Nature reserves the right to remove an article, chapter, book or other content from Springer Nature’s online platforms. Such action may be taken when (i) Springer Nature has been advised that content is defamatory, infringes a third party’s intellectual property right, right to privacy, or other legal right, or is otherwise unlawful; (ii) a court or government order has been issued, or is likely to be issued, requiring removal of such content; (iii) content, if acted upon, would pose an immediate and serious risk to health. Removal may be temporary or permanent. Bibliographic metadata (e.g. title and authors) will be retained, and will be accompanied by a statement explaining why the content has been removed.

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Matters Arising

Nature Portfolio journals recognize the importance of post-publication commentary on published research as necessary to advancing scientific discourse. Formal post-publication commentary on published papers can involve challenges,clarifications or, in some cases, replication of the published work, and after peer review may be published online as Matters Arising, usually alongside a Reply from the original Nature journal authors.

Details of the submission criteria and peer review process for Matters Arising are provided in the Guide to Authors for each individual journal. 

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Addressing post-publication issues

We are committed to maintaining the integrity of the scientific record and thoroughly investigate concerns that are directly raised with us by authors and readers.  Authors are always given an opportunity to respond to the concerns raised. We may request original unprocessed data, and consult with experts in the course of an investigation. Depending on the seriousness of the issues, the following outcomes may ensue:

 ● If the manuscript is still under consideration, it may be rejected and returned to the author.

● If the article has already been published online, depending on the nature and severity of the issues:

  • a correction or Addendum may be issued
  • an Editor’s Note or Editorial Expression of Concern may be issued; these are typically followed by a second notification once the investigation concludes
  • the article may be retracted

● The author’s institution may be informed if we identify potentially serious issues.

We aim for transparent notification to readers; however, our primary goal is to ensure the integrity of the published record rather than to sanction individuals and as such, we will not use these statements to attribute responsibility to specific named individuals. We may refer readers to the reports of institutional investigations if these reports are publicly available. While we are committed to addressing post-publication issues and correcting the record swiftly, investigations typically take some time to reach resolution given the complexity of the discussions and the need to obtain original data and consult with experts. We will issue Editor’s Notes and/or Editorial Expressions of Concern to alert our readership when we become aware of concerns with published material.

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