For a variety of reasons, some published content may require correction after publication. Such reasons can range from small errors to more serious issues concerning ethics and copyright. In accordance with guidelines from the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), Ubiquity Press handles different kinds of errors in the following ways:
To minimise requests for post-publication edits:
Please contact the publisher or editor if you believe that an article needs correcting. We reserve the right to decide what constitutes a minor or major issue and whether an amendment or correction article is necessary.
For very minor content or metadata issues, Ubiquity Press may directly amend the article (both PDF and HTML) if the error is reported very soon after publication (normally <48h) AND if the publication has not yet been sent out to indexing and abstracting services.
In-line amendments are strictly limited to obvious and small mistakes (e.g. spelling errors). Editorial updates or corrections relating to the scientific/factual content or other major metadata issues (e.g. a change of title or a change in authorship) will require a formal correction to be published. Should an in-line amendment be made, then a note may also be added to the publication to alert readers to the fact that a new version has been created.
To avoid multiple versions of the same publication being circulated, should a publication have already been sent out to indexing and abstracting services then in-line edits may not be permitted.
After an article has been published it will immediately be available to the public, who will be able to download local copies, use, and cite the content. Shortly after publication we will also send the publication metadata and files to multiple indexes to aid this dissemination. Once this indexing process has begun, all corrections beyond a minor, in-line amendment must be released as a separate publication, linked to the original. This ensures that the integrity and transparency of the academic record is maintained.
Where an error affects the data being presented, the arguments being made, or the conclusions of an article (but not the validity of the findings), or contains incorrect article metadata (author list, title, editor, etc.), a correction article will be posted detailing the nature of the correction and citing the original publication. Correction articles are used to formally correct the scientific record and to ensure errors in metadata are properly highlighted. They are not appropriate for matters of debate, which may be more appropriately addressed elsewhere.
Correction articles will appear as an individual article in the journal’s table of contents and will be delivered to indexes in the usual fashion. To alert readers of the correction, the original article will be updated to contain a note that links to the correction article. The wording of the note will be drafted by the publisher and/or the editor/author(s) and will, ideally, be approved by both the editor(s) and author(s) prior to typesetting. The publisher, in collaboration with the editor(s) and author(s), will decide whether the error should be corrected by such a correction article.
Many instances, such as allegations of misconduct, will lead to a referral to the appropriate institution/affiliation, so that they can lead an investigation into the issue. If the author’s institution does complete an investigation, the editor and publisher will seek to discover the outcome and update the published record as appropriate. Editors will also consider notifying funders of confirmed misconduct.
The text of a correction will explain why the article is being updated and include a complete citation reference to that article. If some parties do not agree with the outcome, this may also be stated.
Post-indexing, we won't issue correction articles for trivial issues, such as minor formatting or typos.
Retractions are used to remove a published paper from the scientific record. In accordance with the Committee on Publication Ethics’ guidance (adapted from https://doi.org/10.24318/cope.2019.1.4), retractions are used when:
Retraction articles will be drafted and published in the same way as correction articles. The original article will remain but readers will be alerted to the retraction via a link in the article. This ensures that the integrity and transparency of the academic record is maintained whilst making it clear that the publication has been retracted.
Should an investigation result in a disciplinary hearing or further institutional investigation, it may be appropriate for an expression of concern to be published in the interim whilst waiting for the outcome, before then issuing a retraction.
In rare circumstances, articles will need to be removed from the journal site in whole or in part. This is usually for legal reasons, such as copyright infringement or ethical concerns where leaving the article online may cause harm. The abstract and metadata of the original article will remain, but the article content will be removed in whole or in part. A note linking to the retraction article will appear, to ensure readers have clear knowledge that the publication has been retracted and withdrawn.
In some cases, it may not be possible to issue a correction or retraction notice in a timely manner or at all. In these cases an expression of concern may be considered. As per COPE’s guidelines, journals could consider an expression of concern in situations such as (but not limited to):
Expressions of concern will be published as separate notices, in the same fashion as correction and retraction notices, stating the reasons for the concern and appearing in the table of contents. The expression of concern will be linked to and from the original article, to alert future readers.
If more evidence becomes available, the expression of concern may be followed up by a retraction/correction notice or an exonerating statement, depending on the outcome.
In some cases, an investigation into alleged misconduct or publication error may take a very long time to conclude. If the need for an investigation has been established or an investigation is ongoing and it is apparent that the conclusion is likely to take a prolonged time, the journal and publisher may decide to release a publisher’s note, especially if the concerns being investigated cast doubt on the validity of data or results presented. This will notify readers that concerns have been raised and are being appropriately investigated, so that potentially problematic data is not used without the reader’s appropriate consideration and assessment. Such examples will be taken on a case by case basis, depending on the severity of the concern and the expected timeframe for the investigation to take place.
Due to their singular publication, books cannot be corrected/retracted in exactly the same way as journals (i.e. a correction notice cannot easily be separately published and linked to the original content). However, the policy and workflow follows that of journals as closely as possible.
Minor issues that do not compromise the factual content or validity of the overall publication will not be updated. As such, all efforts will be made to ensure that authors/editors sign-off their manuscripts pre-typesetting and as a typeset proof. Trivial issues such as correction of spelling errors, grammatical mistakes or poorly worded sentences will not be corrected. Errors that do not affect the interpretation or expected use of the book may not be corrected.
Where a confirmed error affects the data being presented, the arguments being made, or the conclusions of the content (but not the validity of the findings), or contains incorrect information about the metadata (author list, title etc.), a correction may be posted detailing the nature of the correction. This will take the form of an updated version of the book, if a new edition is not an option.
As different types of correction may have a very variable impact on the existing layout of a book publication, each issue will be taken on a case by case basis. The primary foci will be, in order of priority, 1) to make the correction details clear to readers of all formats of the book, 2) to retain pagination of the original text to ensure that citations and metadata to subsequent sections of the book are minimally affected and 3) to re-index and distribute the book where reasonably possible. This will normally take one of two forms:
All corrections should note the date at which they were made and the book re-issued (note, the publication date will not change unless it constitutes a new edition).
Once a correction has been completed, digital files will be updated and will replace the publicly available versions hosted by the publisher. Print formats will be updated and re-distributed to printing services so that future prints include the updates. Indexes will be contacted and asked to replace hosted versions they may hold.
Corrections are used to formally correct the scientific record and to ensure errors in metadata are properly highlighted. They are not appropriate for matters of debate.
Instances such as allegations of misconduct will lead to a referral to the appropriate institution/affiliation, so that they can lead an investigation into the issue. If the author’s institution does complete an investigation, the editor and publisher will seek to discover the outcome and update the published record as appropriate. Editors will also consider notifying funders of confirmed misconduct.
Retractions are used to remove published content from the scientific record. Similar to journals, retractions are used when:
Retraction notices will be drafted and published in the same way as corrections, with the exception that it will be clear that the error/misconduct has been deemed significant enough to warrant retraction.This ensures that the integrity and transparency of the academic record is maintained whilst making it clear that the publication has been retracted.
In some cases, such as edited volumes where the error/misconduct may relate to only one chapter or only a section of the full book, a retraction notice may be issued against only part of the content. In all cases, the retraction notice will be clear on whether it applies in whole or to only a section on the book publication.
In some circumstances, content will need to be removed from a book in whole or in part. This is usually for legal reasons, such as copyright infringement or ethical concerns that the book may cause harm if left online. In such cases, the content in question will be removed and a short note added in its place. This will refer to a comprehensive retraction notice that will be added to the end of the book. Pagination and metadata for content appearing after the removed content will remain the same.
In some cases, legal or privacy issues may lead to exceptions to the above processes. Such examples will be dealt with on a case by case basis, with standard processes followed as much as possible.
In recognition that neither a name, nor an individual’s identity, is fixed, in conjunction with the fact that a researcher’s publication record is extremely valuable to them, post-publication author name changes are permitted. In accordance with the Committee on Publication Ethics Working Group's principles, Ubiquity Press will allow published authors to request name changes at any time after publication, for any reason (e.g. changes due to marriage, divorce, gender identity, or religion).
Once a request has been confirmed, the publication record will be updated by:
Due to the sensitive nature of some requests, the above process allows for an ‘invisible’ update with no correction notice being released. The intention of this process is to help create a more inclusive community and allow stigma and career limitations to be removed. As default, co-authors on the publication will not be contacted regarding the update. However, the requesting author can ask that the publisher does let co-authors know that a name has been updated on their publication.
Should the requesting author have cited their own publications within their publication then the relevant citations and reference list may also be updated, upon request.
Requesting authors will not be asked for evidence of a name change or legal documentation, nor the reason for the name change. However, in order to ensure the integrity of the publication and that the academic record is not open to misconduct the author in question may be required to provide evidence that they are the author in question (e.g. emails relating to the submission/revisions process). Communication via an institutional email address will also be preferred.
The publisher will also advise how the author can update their account(s) within a journal/book editorial system, so that any future correspondence will be addressed appropriately. Whilst the publisher will endeavour to update all records, it should be noted that some archival content will not be possible to update (e.g. archived emails, peer review reports). In these cases data will not be made public, will only be made available to required editorial or publishing staff, and will not highlight or detail the change in name to bring attention to it.
As the DOI acts as the permanent identifier for the publication, updating the author list in this way should not affect citations, even if they refer to the previous name.
To aid the ‘ownership’ of a publication record after a name change, we recommend that all authors include their ORCID in their published content.
It should be noted that whilst Ubiquity Press will make all reasonable efforts to update metadata held in external platforms it cannot guarantee that third party databases will permit such updates and that the original author list may be retained in some places.
A name change request can be made by contacting the relevant Editor in Chief, the publisher's Editorial Account Manager, or via the contact form on the website. The requesting author will need to complete a short request form.
Ideally, all post-publication updates are agreed on by all parties (e.g. editors, authors, publisher, external parties). In some cases, disputes may still be present and consensus is not possible. In these cases, editors or the publisher may correct/retract a publication, or issue expressions of concern even if all or some of the authors do not agree or are uncontactable. Who is retracting the article will be clearly identified within the retraction notice so that it is clear when such a difference of opinion exists.