Think how embarrassed you would feel if you cited a paper that had been retracted! A retraction means that the publisher has withdrawn the paper.
I helped a student recently who had found an article he wanted to cite in his work. It wasn’t until we viewed the publisher’s version of the PDF that we saw a ‘retracted’ watermark. It had been retracted because large parts of it had been found to be plagiarised from another journal article. We had been checking the publisher’s version for something else so it was pure luck that we spotted it. This experience brought home to me how hard it can be to find information about retractions and updates to scholarly publications.
The CrossMark scheme from CrossRef is designed to make finding the current status of an article easy. Increasing numbers of publishers are including a CrossMark logo on the PDF or web version of an article (or indeed a book, conference paper or any other scholarly publication). If the logo is present and you are online, click on it each time you open the document, even if you’ve saved it locally. It’s a live link that will give you up to date information about the status of the article. If it has been corrected, retracted or updated you will be able to find out and take appropriate action.
Click on the logo and you will see one of two things:
The green tick is good news! It confirms that the version you are looking at is current and a DOI link to the publisher’s version is given.
The blue exclamation mark means that a correction has been made to the paper.
A click on the DOI of this one shows that the spelling of an author name has been corrected – in this case nothing that would prevent you citing the paper.
For further information and a very helpful video visit http://www.crossref.org/crossmark/.
You may also find Retractionwatch.com interesting. This is a blog that tracks retractions from the scholarly literature and provides a commentary for each.
Emma Turner is Aerospace Information Specialist and works in the Kings Norton Library. If you have any queries about this, please contact Emma.