The effectiveness of the practice of correction and republication in the biomedical literature

J Med Libr Assoc. 2010 Apr;98(2):135-9. doi: 10.3163/1536-5050.98.2.005.


Objective: This research measures the effectiveness of the practice of correction and republication of invalidated articles in the biomedical literature by analyzing the rate of citation of the flawed and corrected versions of scholarly articles over time. If the practice of correction and republication is effective, then the incidence of citation of flawed versions should diminish over time and increased incidence of citation of the republication should be observed.

Methods: This is a bibliometric study using citation analysis and statistical analysis of pairs of flawed and corrected articles in MEDLINE and Web of Science.

Results: The difference between citation levels of flawed originals and corrected republications does not approach statistical significance until eight to twelve years post-republication. Results showed substantial variability among bibliographic sources in their provision of authoritative bibliographic information.

Conclusions: Correction and republication is a marginally effective biblioremediative practice. The data suggest that inappropriate citation behavior may be partly attributable to author ignorance.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Bibliometrics*
  • Biomedical Research*
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Databases, Bibliographic / standards*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Information Storage and Retrieval
  • Journal Impact Factor
  • MEDLINE / standards
  • Publishing / standards*
  • Publishing / statistics & numerical data