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The accuracy of the scientific record is one of the most important priorities for authors and editors.1 To reflect this priority, JAMA issues corrections, retractions, retractions with replacement, and, in this issue, a retraction with republication of an article.2 On November 12, 2018, JAMA published the article titled “Effect of a Program Combining Transitional Care and Long-term Self-management Support on Outcomes of Hospitalized Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: A Randomized Clinical Trial,”3 with an accompanying Editorial.4JAMA was notified by the authors of a major coding error that reversed the results, finding that the intervention was associated with harm rather than benefit. The authors have provided a detailed explanation of the error.5JAMA consulted peer reviewers who agreed that the corrected findings were important and, after additional internal review to assess validity, warranted publication in JAMA.
Because of the change in findings, the authors conducted additional analyses to elucidate potential sources of bias that could explain the unexpected results. These additional analyses, along with the context for interpreting the different findings, are why this paper is being published as a new article, and the original article is being retracted.
The new article,6 an accompanying new Editorial,7 and Letter of explanation from the authors5 are in this issue of JAMA. The original Editorial4 is hereby retracted. A Letter to the editor8 (and a reply9), which focused on the intervention and not the specific findings, has not been retracted but has been corrected.
Unexpected findings in all studies, and particularly in randomized clinical trials because of their potential effect on clinical care, require careful reading. In the study design, it was hypothesized that the intervention would improve health outcomes, but rather it appears to have been associated with harm. This finding was unexpected, and the various analyses that have been conducted to try to explain the results should be considered exploratory.
JAMA remains committed to ensuring an accurate scientific record. In most cases, identification of major errors has come from the study authors, who have notified JAMA of these errors after they were discovered when reusing the same database. We urge authors to continue to report errors in their own work, so that along with editors, they can jointly decide whether a correction, retraction, retraction with replacement, or retraction with republication is required.
Corresponding Author: Howard Bauchner, MD, JAMA, 330 N Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60611 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.
Bauchner H, Golub RM. Ensuring an Accurate Scientific Record—Retraction and Republication. JAMA. 2019;322(14):1380. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.14503
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