CORRECTIONS AND RETRACTIONS
From our online Guide to Authors:
If authors of a published paper subsequently
become aware of a significant error in it, they should send a
paragraph of correction to Communications Arising by using our
online submissions system (see www.Nature.com/Nature/submit/subs/index.html),
with the corresponding author's name, publication date and "correction"
in the subject line, and including the Nature paper citation
in the Manuscript Comment box and "Communications Arising
(correction)" in the Manuscript Type box. The correction
paragraph should be sent as an attachment in Word format and also
as a PDF attachment containing all the authors' signatures. Corrections
cannot be considered if all authors have not signed, unless there
is a particular reason, in which case the corresponding author
should explain this in the message accompanying the correction.
In cases of disagreement, Nature reserves the right to
impose a published correction in the interests of accuracy and
transparency of the published record, but in this event will note
in the published correction the dissent among coauthors.
If the mistake is judged significant enough
to warrant a published correction, the correction will be made
after the end of the Letters section, as an "erratum"
if the fault is Nature's; "correction" if the
fault is the author's; "addendum" if the authors inadvertently
made a significant omission from the paper which, after further
peer-review, requires addition; and "retraction" if
the main conclusion of the paper no longer holds or is seriously
undermined as a result of subsequent information coming to light
of which the authors were not aware at the time of publication.
Further general enquiries about Nature's corrections policy
can be directed in the first instance to Nature@Nature.com.
The Nature journals (Nature, Nature
Biotechnology, Nature Cell Biology, Nature Genetics,
Nature Immunology', Nature Materials, Nature
Medicine, Nature Neuroscience, Nature Structural
and Molecular Biology, and Nature Reviews Cancer, Nature
Reviews Drug Discovery, Nature Reviews Genetics, Nature
Reviews Immunology, Nature Reviews Microbiology, Nature
Reviews Molecular and Cell Biology, Nature Reviews Neuroscience)
operate the following policy for making corrections to the print
and online versions of their content.
Publishable amendments are represented by a
formal printed notice in the journal because they affect the publication
record and/or the scientific accuracy of published information.
Where these amendments concern peer-reviewed material, they fall
into one of four categories: erratum, corrigendum, retraction
Erratum. Notification of an important error
made by the journal that affects the publication record or the
scientific integrity of the paper, or the reputation of the authors
or the journal. Corrigendum. Notification of an important error
made by the authors that affects the publication record or the
scientific integrity of the paper, or the reputation of the authors
or the journal. All authors must sign corrigenda submitted for
publication. In cases where coauthors disagree, the editors will
take advice and impose the type of amendment that seems most appropriate,
noting the dissenting author(s) in the text of the published version.
Retraction. Notification of invalid results.
All coauthors must sign a retraction specifying the error and
stating briefly how the conclusions are affected, and submit it
for publication. In cases where coauthors disagree, the editors
will take advice and impose the type of amendment that seems most
appropriate, noting the dissenting author(s) in the text of the
Addendum. Notification of a peer-reviewed addition
of information to a paper, usually in response to readers' request
for clarification. Addenda are published only rarely and only
when the editors decide that the addendum is crucial to the reader's
understanding of a significant part of the published contribution.
Decisions about types of correction are made
by the editors of the journal that published the paper, sometimes
with referees' advice. This process involves consultation with
the authors of the paper, but the editor makes the final decision
about the category in which the amendment is published. Each Nature
journal states the details of its procedure in the guide to authors
on its own website. When an amendment is published, it is linked
hi-directionally to and from the article being corrected. If the
correction is significant, for example if a new figure is published,
a PDF version of the correction is appended to the last page of
the original article PDF so that the original article PDF will
remain a facsimile of the printed page and readers downloading
the PDF will receive the original article plus amendment.
Authors sometimes request a correction to their
published contribution that does not affect the contribution in
a significant way or impair the reader's understanding of the
contribution. (A spelling mistake or grammatical error, for example.)
Nature journals do not publish such corrections, in print or online.
The online and print versions of the article are both part of
the published record and hence their original published version
is preserved. Nature journals do, however, correct the online
version of a contribution if the wording in the html version does
not make sense when compared with the PDF version ("see left"
for a figure which is an appropriate phrase for the PDF but not
for the html version, for example). In these cases, the fact that
a correction has been made is stated in a footnote so that readers
are aware that the originally published text has been amended.
The policy of the Nature journals is that corrections
are not made to Advance Online Publication (AOP) articles before
they appear in the print version of the journal. Rather, corrections
appear at or after publication of the printed version of the paper.
AOP constitutes the definitive publication and is not subject
to informal changes.
If a very significant error is discovered after
publication of an AOP article but before the print version has
gone to press, the editors will decide whether to amend the AOP
article. If a correction is made to the online version, a footnote
is added to state that (a) there was an error in the AOP version
of the article; (b) the error has since been corrected in the
HTML and PDF versions; and (c) the article will appear correctly
in a forthcoming print issue. When the article is printed, it
will carry a publication date in the following style: Published
online: 9 January 2002; corrected 10 January 2002 (details online);
Corrections are published if the publication
record is seriously affected, for example with regard to the scientific
accuracy of published information, or the reputation of the authors,
or the reputation of the journal. These amendments are classified
as an Erratum, Corrigendum, Addendum or Retraction (in the case
of peer-reviewed material) or as "corrections" (in the
case of non-peer-reviewed material). All such amendments are as
concise as possible, containing only material strictly relevant
to the contribution being corrected.
concern the amendment of mistakes introduced
by the journal in editing or production, including errors of omission
such as failure to make factual proof corrections requested by
authors within the deadline provided by the journal and within
journal policy. Errata are generally not published for simple,
obvious typing errors, but are published when an apparently simple
error is significant (for example a greek mu for an "m"
in a unit, or a typing error in the corresponding author's email
If there is an error in the lettering on a figure,
the usual procedure is to publish a sentence of rectification.
A significant error in the figure itself is corrected by publication
of a new corrected figure as an erratum. The figure is republished
only if the editor considers it necessary. If the colours of histogram
bars were wrongly designated in the figure legend, for example,
a sentence of correction would be published as an erratum; the
entire figure would not be reproduced.
are judged on their relevance to readers and
their importance for the published record. Corrigenda are published
after discussion among the editors (typically including the editors
who handled the published contribution), often with the help of
reviewers. All coauthors must sign an agreed wording. Corrigenda
submitted by the original authors are published if the scientific
accuracy or reproducibility of the original paper is compromised;
occasionally, on investigation by the editors, these may be published
as retractions. In cases where some coauthors decline to sign
a corrigendum or retraction, the editors reserve the right to
publish it with the dissenting author(s) identified. Nature journals
publish corrigenda if there is an error in the published author
list, but not for overlooked acknowledgements. Readers wishing
to draw the journal's attention to a significant published error
should submit a Communications Arising (in the case of
Nature) or, in the case of the other Nature journals, follow
procedure on the journal website. Nature's Communications
Arising procedure is a mechanism for investigating readers' comments
and does not imply that the comment would be published as a Communication
Arising. In cases where a significant error is confined after
taking the advice of referees, such comments will be published
in one of the categories of amendment described here.
are judged on the significance of the addition
to the interpretation of the original publication. Addenda do
not contradict the original publication, but if the authors inadvertently
omitted significant information available to them at the time,
this material will be published as an addendum after peer-review
and after discussion among the editors.
are judged according to whether the main conclusion
of the paper no longer holds or is seriously undermined as a result
of subsequent information coming to light of which the authors
were not aware at the time of publication. In the case of experimental
papers, this can include further experiments by the authors or
by others which do not confirm the main experimental conclusion
of the original publication. Readers wishing to draw the editors'
attention to published work requiring retraction should first
contact the authors of the original paper and then write to the
journal, including copies of the correspondence with the authors
(whether or not the correspondence has been answered). The editors
will seek advice from reviewers if they judge that the information
is likely to draw into question the main conclusions of the published
When a Nature journal has agreed to publish
a correction and if the author is ordering reprints of the article,
the author should immediately contact the reprint department.
Reprints can be altered to provide the corrected version of the
paper if notification is received in time.
Authors' corrections to supplementary information
(SI) are made only in exceptional circumstances (for example major
errors that compromise the conclusion of the study) and are accompanied
by a printed Corrigendum. Authors may not update SI because new
data have become available or interpretations have changed, as
the SI is part of the original paper and hence the published record.