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Errata Frequently Seen in Medical Literature

Errata in 4.2 per 100 original and review articles; major errata in 24.2 percent of articles with errata

MONDAY, Sept. 15, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Errata, including those that may materially change the interpretation of data, are frequent in medical publications, according to a study published in the August issue of The American Journal of Medicine.

Paul J. Hauptman, M.D., from St. Louis University School of Medicine, and colleagues conducted a retrospective evaluation of errata reports for articles published in 20 English-language general medicine and cardiovascular journals (mean impact factor, 12.23) over an 18-month period. Each erratum was characterized by location in the article and qualitative categories of severity.

The researchers found that there were errata reports in association with 557 articles (overall errata report occurrence, 4.2 per 100 published original and review articles), yielding a mean of 2.4 errors per errata report. In 24.2 percent of articles with errata, at least one major error that materially altered data interpretation was present. Impact factor and errata occurrence rate were strongly associated (P < 0.001). About half (51.0 percent) of errata were not corrected or the report did not specify whether the errors had been corrected.

"Increased vigilance by authors to prevent errata and consensus by journal editors on the format of reporting are warranted," conclude the authors.

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