The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) has published criteria for retracting a publication.
Requirement: fair and impartial investigation with due process for the authors
Indications for retracting a publication - one or more of the following:
(1) conclusive evidence that the findings are unreliable due to author misconduct (fabrication of data, misrepresentation, etc)
(2) conclusive evidence that the findings are unreliable due to human error (experimental error, miscalculation, etc).
(3) conclusive evidence that the findings have been published elsewhere but declared to be original (redundant publication)
(4) conclusive evidence of plagiarism
(5) unethical research (such as improper research on human subjects)
(1) Publishing an erratum if a correctable error is identified.
(2) Issuing an expression of concern if there is cause for concern about a publication but there is insufficient evidence for a retraction.
(1) The original article should not be removed.
(2) The article should clearly show the retraction.
(3) The retraction should give the reasons for the action.
(4) Co-authors not implicated in cause for the retraction should not be removed as authors.
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