I would like to cite a particular paper that has been retracted, due to a specific error the authors have initially overseen in their analysis. Because this specific error is the subject of my discussion, I want to include it as an example. Now, how do I cite it correctly? For example, ...

  • Should the citation appear in my list of references?
  • Am I supposed to use the general citation format; e.g. Smith et al. (2000)?
  • Should I or am I actually allowed to mention the author's names?
  • Can I be brief and simply write: Smith et al. (2000, Nature, retracted)?
  • 2
    Are you using a specific citation style (APA, MLA, etc...)? Feb 17, 2017 at 18:27

1 Answer 1


If you cite the study, then the citation should appear in the list of references.

The exact way to note the retraction varies based on the citation style (e.g. APA, MLA, etc.), as Nate Eldredge mentions in his comment. However, the basic convention seems to be to note the retraction in parenthesis, as an additional part of the original reference. For example:

Ricaurte, G. A., Yuan, J., Hatzidimitriou, G., Cord, B. J., & McCann, U.D. (2002, September 27). Severe dopaminergic neurotoxicity in primates after a common recreational dose regimen of MDMA. Science, 297, 2260-2263. (Retraction published September 12, 2003, Science, 301, p. 1454)

This example comes from http://blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/2013/01/retraction-action.html, which pertains specifically to APA.

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