Complaints, corrections, retractions, and removals
The Editorial Office of Dental and Medical Problems carefully considers complaints, appeals and allegations in accordance with guidance from the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), both pre- and post-publication. Complaints can be lodged by Authors, Readers or institutions.
- To submit a complaint, appeal from an editorial decision or raise an issue of potential misconduct, please contact the Editorial Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Editors aim to acknowledge the receipt of complaints or appeals within 5 working days, and provide a full response within 10 working days of the acknowledgement.
- All complaints are thoroughly investigated by Editors, following the COPE guidelines. In complex cases, Editors may contact COPE directly for guidance on how to proceed.
- Well-evidenced appeals from editorial decisions are handled by the Editor-in-Chief in the first instance, and consulted with the Editorial Board if necessary.
- Where necessary, allegations are referred to the appropriate institution for further investigation.
- The Claimant receives a formal notification when the case is resolved or escalated.
- If the resolution reached by the journal or publisher is not satisfactory to the Claimant, the matter may be escalated to COPE or a similar appropriate body.
Corrections, retractions and removals
If post-publication corrections or retractions are necessary, or if an article is to be removed, a notice of correction or retraction/removal is issued, indicating the incorrect elements of the paper and the extent of the corrections made, or the reason for the retraction/removal of the article.
Corrections can be initiated either by Authors or the Editorial Office.
Authors should notify the Editorial Office about any errors in the article that could affect the interpretation of data or the reliability of information as soon as possible. The corresponding Author is responsible for ensuring that all listed co-Authors have reached a consensus before requesting any corrections to the article. A correction request should always be written and approved by all Authors of the original article, if possible. Any errors made during the publication process can be corrected by the Editorial Office on its own. However, should this be the case, the journal will make every effort to notify Authors about the changes introduced.
Correction notices are issued to address relatively minor errors in the content of the article or the changes made to its metadata (errors of spelling and phrasing that affect meaning, data errors, or miscitations). The correction notice must be linked to the original article.
Substantial changes that affect the paper as a whole cannot be made as corrections. In such a situation, the entire paper is retracted. It can be considered for publication as a new manuscript, with the peer review process starting from scratch. There is also no option to replace one version of the paper with another, or to publish the amended article as a correction. The correction notice takes the form of a list of changes or consists only of the corrected passages, not the entire paper. This is to prevent multiple versions of the same article from being circulated simultaneously.
Retraction notices are issued for major problems affecting the argument or substantive content of the article that a correction would otherwise not fix. Retractions can be initiated by Editors, Authors, Readers, or institutions. It is a mechanism for maintaining the integrity of the literature and alerting Readers to articles with seriously flawed or erroneous content or data. Unreliable content or data may result from honest errors, naive mistakes or research misconduct.
According to the COPE Retraction Guidelines, Editors should consider retracting a publication if:
- they have clear evidence that the findings are unreliable, either as a result of a major error (e.g., miscalculation or an experimental error) or as a result of fabrication (e.g., of data) or falsification (e.g., image manipulation);
- it constitutes plagiarism;
- the findings have previously been published elsewhere without proper attribution to previous sources or disclosure to Editors, permission to republish, or justification (i.e., cases of redundant publication);
- it contains material or data without authorization for use;
- copyright has been infringed, or there is some other serious legal issue (e.g., libel, privacy);
- it reports unethical research;
- it has been published solely on the basis of a compromised or manipulated peer review process;
- Authors failed to disclose a major conflict of interest that, in the Editors’ view, might have unduly affected the interpretation of the work or recommendations by Editors and Peer Reviewers.
A retraction notice clearly states which parts of the article are incorrect or unreliable, therefore constituting the basis for the retraction. It also specifies who is retracting the paper, and possibly how the matter came to the journal’s attention (Claimants may be named only when they have given permission). Whenever possible, Editors negotiate with Authors, and attempt to agree on a form of wording that is clear and informative to Readers, and acceptable to all parties. However, prolonged negotiations should not unreasonably delay the retraction and Editors will publish the retraction notice even if consensus cannot be reached, and even if Authors do not consent to retraction. A prompt retraction should minimize the number of Researchers who cite the erroneous work, act on its findings or draw incorrect conclusions, such as from ‘double counting’ redundant publications in meta-analyses or similar instances.
The retraction notice must be linked to the original article. The paper will still be available on the journal’s website and in the PubMed database, but it will be marked as retracted. Retaining the original work ensures the transparency of the published record, as the online version may have been accessed and cited by Researchers before retraction. Since authorship entails some degree of joint responsibility for the integrity of the reported research, it is not appropriate for Authors’ names to be removed from the publication, even if they were not directly culpable for the actions which led to the retraction.
Removals are only to be made in rare circumstances, when:
- the article contains content that could pose a severe risk of harm if acted upon or followed;
- the article contains content that violates the privacy rights of a study participant;
- the article is defamatory or infringes other legal rights;
- the article is subject to a court order.
In the case of an article’s removal, the content of the article will be removed from circulation (also from the PubMed database). It will not be available for download or displayed on the article’s webpage. A removal notice, similar to a standard retraction notice, will be issued, explaining the reasons for the removal. The notice will replace the removed paper on the journal’s website and in the PubMed database. The metadata of the original article will remain linked to the removal notice.