Q: Hi is it possible to remove an entire experiment from my published article through erratum

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Hi i published an article in the year 2012 and now I would like to correct the manuscript by removing one entire experiment and result whereas the conclusion does not alters. Is it possible?

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1 Answer to this question

Let me first clarify that this answer is appropriate presuming you are the sole author of an empirical study describing work you have completed and interpreted which has been accepted for publication. This caveat is important because you cannot alone request a correction for multi-authored paper.

Not only CAN you request a correction when you have identified an error in your earlier published work, but you SHOULD do so promptly once you realize that if others take your work as accurate, they might incorporate your incorrect results and interpretations into the own scientific writing.

Editors view authors who recognize their obligation to keep the scientific archive accurate as researchers-with-integrity ~ so even though placing corrections takes page-space in a journal, an editor will view you and your request as honorable and appropriate for it is a sure sign that you are taking responsibility for precision in reporting.

To continue this thread about accuracy, let’s clarify the nomenclature. Both an erratum and a corrigendum refer to corrections for a published text. Generally, publishers issue an erratum for a production error (an error introduced during the publishing process) or when a third-party draws attention to embedded error in text (including plagiarism). A corrigendum refers to a correction identified and requested by an author. One might, for example, request a corrigendum to draw attention to a transposition of data in a table or a mislabeling of a figural note that you failed to identify when proofing galleys. Or, as in your case, a request for readers to not consider specific data from one part of a multi-experiment investigation. Incidentally, should an author wish to add to their article after publication, new content likely will be peer-reviewed consistent with the review policy for that journal. The issuance of a corrigendum is a determination made by the editor of the journal after consideration of the impact of the request.

Making your request for a corrigendum to the current editor of the journal is relatively straightforward. You should briefly identify your article (title, DOI, inclusive page numbers in the journal), explain your responsibility for that research, clarify that while you are asking for a notice that readers discount as accurate one part of the reported investigation (here specify the exact parameters of that portion), and offer a clear statement that excision of that portion of the paper does not impact the power of the conclusions in your report. An editor will appreciate receiving a pdf scan from the pages of your journal article highlighting the exact portion that you wish to be withdrawn from consideration. The editor will determine the exact wording of the correction notice.

Finally, let me underline that the issuance of a corrigendum elevates your status as a researcher since it enhances your scientific integrity by making clear that you take seriously your responsibility for the accuracy of your investigations. For that, all scientists in your field will be grateful.

Caven S. Mcloughlin, Ph.D. Emeritus Editor-in-Chief for an Impact Factor journal from a major commercial academic publisher.