Q: What legal redress (if any), does the author of a peer reviewed scientific paper published in a respected journal, have against an editor for unilaterally retracting the article?

1 Answer to this question

We do not think the author has any legal redress against an editor for unilaterally retracting an article. The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) guidelines say the following: “Who should issue the retraction? In some cases, retractions are issued jointly or on behalf of the journal’s owner (for e.g. a learned society or publisher). However, since responsibility for the journal’s content rests with the editor, they should always have the final decision about retracting material. Editors may retract publications (or issue expressions of concern) even if all or some of the authors do not agree. Who is retracting the article should be clearly identified within the retraction notice."