Should a separate section list all retracted articles?

Should just a note (---retracted) suffice?

Is a short explanation expected (retracted for fabrication, plagiarism)?

Should one give a longer explanation (retracted due to Joe's work, my supervisor, who is a fraud. He is the rat, not me.).

Or should the retracted article be treated simply as a denied article, and not be listed at all?

2 Answers 2


In a poll on Retraction Watch asking "Should retracted papers show up on a CV?," the majority of respondents said "They should be listed as retracted":

image of poll results

However, there is a significant minority support for the option of not listing them at all. DrugMonkey offers the following rationale for this position:

In a very large number of situations in which an academic CV is used, there is no obligation for it to constitute an exhaustive list of everything the scientist has ever done that might be considered pertinent to various sections.

If you choose to include it, a simple note that the paper is retracted, and possibly the list of authors signing on to the retraction, is probably the classiest way to do it. The retraction notice should give the rest of the details, should anyone wish to follow up. See for example Donald Green's CV (online). Assigning blame for the problem in a CV seems wildly inappropriate to me.

  • 1
    As to the quote, it seems to go against much of the advice here, in which people say the cv must include all information, for example, people asking about not listing a school they attended. Jul 22, 2015 at 0:12
  • 4
    @user1938107 in context, he mentions NIH grant applications where the length of CV is limited. Hence the qualifier "In a very large number of situations in which an academic CV is used" (not all situations). Presumably the scenario in which the CV is used, and the readers' expectations regarding whether or not it is exhaustive, matters.
    – ff524
    Jul 22, 2015 at 0:14
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    @ff524, yes, though many of those venues are trending towards calling them a Biographical Sketch with particular formatting requirements not just length restrictions. "CV" has become shorthand for "NSF CV" in this context, which is just shorthand for "NSF Biographical Sketch". The agencies are doing a pretty good job not asking for CVs qua CVs which are traditionally comprehensive, but some sort of document with an explicitly different name. We don't always oblige them in adopting their convention.
    – Bill Barth
    Jul 22, 2015 at 1:50

I do not think that a retracted article can be treated the same way as a never-published article and simply not listed, because the article still appears in the literature (and may even attract citations), just with a "retracted" mark on it. As such, anybody who looks you up may come across it and wonder whether you are attempting to conceal the retraction.

I thus think that it would be better to include the article in the CV, and think it would be best to include a short note (no more than one line) stating the general circumstances of the retraction as neutrally as possible. As for which section, I can see arguments in either of two directions:

  • Including it with the rest of the articles of the same type is reasonable because it's also an article, but problematic because it may look like it is trying to hide amongst them.
  • Placing it in a separate section is reasonable because it makes the distinction clear, but is problematic because it highlights the retraction.

As such, if I were dealing with this myself, I think that I would choose to place it in its own section, but put that section as late as possible, where the reader has been exposed to lots of good things before they come to the bad.

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