Information is provided about how we deal with post-publication correction requests relating to errata, addenda, and retractions.
When a scientific article is published in an issue of a journal or in a book, it is referred to as the version of record (VOR). The VOR is the final version of the article and cannot be updated or altered any further, with the exception of author name changes. A reader accessing the VOR should be able to rely on the fact that the version they accessed, and possibly cited in other work, will not be changed after the final version was published. However, there may be circumstances under which it is necessary to communicate changes to the VOR. For example, when errors were found post-publication that have a serious effect on the indexation, scientific understanding/findings of the article, or research misconduct. IOS Press adheres to the guidelines of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) for correcting the scientific record.
In the event that changes are made to the VOR, these will always be communicated through a notice such as an erratum, addendum, or a retraction. These notices will always be openly available to all readers and clearly indicate and link to the VOR to which it refers. The VOR itself will not be changed, but a link to the notice will be added to the VOR. A reader will then be able to track any changes or updates to the original publication and to verify when such updates were introduced.
Requests for correcting the VOR will be evaluated by IOS Press in consultation with the Editor-in-Chief or lead book editor/author. They will usually be granted if: the scientific meaning or understanding of the paper is seriously affected; if errors were introduced by the typesetter; if there are serious ethical issues related to the publication; or when it involves author name changes due to marriage, divorce, religious conversion, gender alignment, or other personal reasons. Requests will typically be declined if: they concern minor spelling errors or minor typographical mistakes; affiliation changes; updates to contact details; addition of new funding statements; or if the request is received after the reasonable time window for communicating changes (up to 2 years after original publication) has closed.
Evaluating a request
Requests for errata are usually granted in relation to:
- Scientifically relevant changes: If the scientific meaning or understanding of the paper is affected then an erratum should be published. This includes for instance wrong values in a table or incorrect wording that changes the meaning of a sentence.
- Author name changes: If the original article had a misspelling in the author name or if the author changed their name because of divorce or alignment with gender identity, then an erratum will always be published.
- Missed author corrections: If the author communicated their corrections during proof-stage, but the typesetter did not implement the corrections (correctly), then an erratum may be published if it affects the scientific meaning or understanding of the paper.
Publishing an erratum
An erratum should use clear and factual language and it should state both the original text as well as the new text that replaces it. A reader must be able to understand exactly which section of a paper is affected and what has changed within that section. The text will refer to specific page numbers, section headings, paragraphs, and sentences where possible.
Evaluating a request
The key criterion for an addendum – and the only reason such a request to be granted – is that the addendum is crucial to the reader's understanding of the original paper. It could add additional context or information that helps to better explain the published work. If new findings have come to light (that do not undermine the results of the original), these could also be communicated through an addendum.
Publishing an addendum
The corresponding author should submit the text for the addendum using clear and factual language, beginning with a reference to the paper to which the addendum is referring and followed by the additional material. An abstract can be included that gives a short description of the reason for publishing the addendum. If applicable, the text should specifically mention the page number, section, and paragraph where the new information should be added.
Evaluating a case
IOS Press follows the COPE guidelines for retracting articles. Once an article has been flagged for possible retraction, an official investigation will be initiated by IOS Press in consultation with the Editor-in-Chief. Requests of retraction or withdrawals will be considered if:
- The article has clear evidence that the findings are unreliable, either as a result of error or research misconduct (e.g., data fabrication/manipulation).
- There is evidence of peer review manipulation.
- There is evidence of plagiarism or any other type of research misconduct.
If the retraction request is made by a third party (e.g., a reader), the corresponding author will be duly informed that his/her article is under investigation and will be able to respond to misconduct allegations. IOS Press will make a decision in consultation with the Editor-in-Chief. This decision will then be communicated to the corresponding author of the article (see Note #1).
Publishing notice of a retraction
If it is decided that an article should be retracted, an official notice of retraction will be published that: is objective and factual; states which article is being retracted (include full citation and DOI link); states on whose initiative the article is being retracted; states the reason for the retraction in clear language; and is interlinked to the retracted article by including the DOI link.
The retraction notice should appear in the next available journal issue, at the end of the issue.
Updating the original
In all cases, the original publication will be updated by adding a note in the header information of the HTML online publication explaining that the article received an erratum, addendum, or retraction. The only situation in which the text in the original will be modified (both in the HTML and PDF versions) is if it concerns an author name change.
Submitting a correction request
If you are an author or reader of one of IOS Press’ articles and you consider that a correction is required, please get in touch. Your message should clearly state your concerns and, in case it is related to an erratum or addendum, indicate which text/figure needs to be replaced/added. Please also include in your request the journal title and the reference number (or DOI number) of the article to which you are referring. Your message can be sent to our editorial department via this contact form.
1. If conclusive evidence about the reliability of a publication cannot be obtained, the editor may consider publishing an editorial expression of concern.