Peaceful Science hosts a website in support of our mission. This website is not a formal academic journal. Still, articles published by us have had a significant impact on academic discourse. This editorial policy is established to facilitate our role as a site of reference.
Inviting Corrections From Readers
Whether a typo or a more substantial error of fact, we invite readers to help us make appropriate corrections.
There is a direct and preferred way to suggest specific corrections. At the bottom of most pages is a “Suggest Changes” button. This button leads to a website where the content of the article can be directly edited after logging in with a free account. After making changes to the document, briefly note why these changes were made in the revision note, and select the option to create a “pull request.” We review and accept pull requests on a regular basis.
In some cases, before proposing specific corrections, it may be better to create an “issue” where a potential problem can be discussed.
Disclosing Inaccurate Content
For good reasons, we do not endorse or agree with all content on this website. For example,
To maintain a record of academic exchanges, we archive some scientific articles from other organizations that are known to contain scientific inaccuracies.
In the interest of dialogue, we may publish articles from authors we disagree with, and these articles may include scientific information we judge to be incorrect.
Articles published in the past may be found to be incorrect as our scientific understanding progresses.
It is usually clear from context where we do not endorse the accuracy of content. In some cases, readers may be confused. Where confusion is likely, we may add editorial notes to disclose which content we do not endorse as accurate. We may add editorial notes to direct readers to updated content.
We follow the recommendations of a committee on error correction.
Categories of Errors
Minor errors include typos, misspellings, inaccuracies in citations or attribution, grammatical or format-related errors that hinder clarity or obscure the author’s intended meaning. Correcting a minor mistake leaves the intended meaning unchanged.
Errors of fact, whether they seem major or minor, are almost always a separate category from minor errors. Correcting an error of fact may not change the overall message of an article, or affect its conclusions, but the correction changes the meaning of at least a portion of the article.
Inaccuracies that are not errors. In the context of ongoing scientific scholarship, articles regularly become “wrong” when new discoveries happen. This is why science is often correctly described as “self-correcting,” and the scientific literature has no other mechanism for corrections of this kind of wrongness. Our policy does not currently address this kind of ongoing scientific self-correction, but our aim is to do what we can to prevent misunderstanding by the public.
How Corrections Are Made
Minor errors are corrected in place. This means that the article is edited, and the original version containing the error is replaced. All changes are disclosed in a note attached to the article, and the changes are specifically identified.
When correction of errors in an article leaves the article’s main points and conclusions intact, a corrigendum is a reasonable process (more details below). There are at least two related factors that can result in the more dramatic step of retraction, and both involve editorial judgment. The first factor is the extent to which the error undermines the article. If an author’s main points rely significantly on false claims, then correction of the error renders the article untenable and retraction is a likely outcome. The second factor is misconduct. If an article is tainted by scholarly misconduct (gross misrepresentation of facts or other scholarship, selective citation, quotemining and other misrepresentation of the words or work of others, and so on), retraction is a likely and reasonable outcome.
Inaccurate content, even when it is not in error, will be disclosed where it might otherwise confuse readers.
A corrigendum is a separate article or note to the original article) that identifies the error, its source (either the author or, in rare cases, the editor), and the steps taken to correct the error. The corrigendum points to the now-corrected article, and the article points to the corrigendum. The original article can be retained and linked in the corrigendum. If this is done, the original article must be very clearly marked to alert readers to the fact that the article has been corrected.
A retraction notice is attached to the original article and specifies the reasons why the article is being retracted and the parties who have agreed to its retraction. Retracted articles should remain accessible to readers, in a form that very clearly indicates that the article has been retracted and why.
Since the summer of 2021, a record of revisions is kept and all changes are publicly visible, as are all past versions of articles. This record can be reached by clicking the article’s date, clicking the “Revision History” button, or by navigating the “content” directory of the website’s repository.
Web Address Stability
We will ensure all URLs to substantive content on our website remain stable. Article URLs will always link to the same article. When articles are moved, we ensure that old URLs redirect to the new location. Please report any stale links that do not direct to the correct content.
DOIs on Request
Digital object identifiers (DOI) are a stable way of referencing digital articles. They are the standard used by most academic publishers. The DOI system guarantees long-term access to content and long-term stability of URL references.
We do not assign DOIs to all articles. However, on request, we will assign a DOI to any article we publish. When a DOI is assigned, it is visible in the article’s header (see example).
Jan 28, 2023