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I have noticed an issue in one of my previously published works, which is approximately 6 months old. The issue has resulted in some minor data extraction errors and the inclusion of three studies (of approx. 20 total included) with duplicate data. These studies were part of a secondary analysis and while the error sounds substantial, there is no significant effect on the results of that analysis and certainly no significant effect on our overall findings or primary analysis.

Despite this, I feel the record should be corrected and intend to submit a corrigendum providing details and updated analysis. Is this sufficient, or should we be suggesting a retraction?

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  • It depends on how likely someone else is to find out. – FourierFlux Apr 13 at 2:55
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You should definitely prepare a rigorous corrigendum, outlining what exactly should be disregarded and adjusted.

Whether or not your error warrants a retraction is impossible to say for an outsider. If you genuinely believe that the core of your paper is still valid (as you seem to), I’d file the corrigendum and a cover letter with the editor and let them decide. The most urgent retraction reasons include manifestly false results or those based on fraudulent (or false) data. In your case it sounds more like a question of loss of statistical significance (17 instead of 20 studies). How impactful that is, hard to say.

An informal way to think about this would be to ask yourself: after all necessary adjustments have been made, am I still proud of my paper? If yes, go for the corrigendum.

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