It's difficult to say as there are several reasons why the paper could have been withdrawn. Sometimes it's just due to the fact that the paper hasn't been updated in a while and is considered to be "dated". There could be reasons of fraud or misconduct which has lead to the retraction of the paper. Sometimes you can find out why this has happened after a bit of digging, but if there is another version of the paper available it might be better to use that instead.
Hope this helps!
I find MeaninginLife's reply quite clear, and a good analogy. The retraction of a paper could be equated with apologising to someone (or to the academic community for publishing incorrect data).
They made a mistake with their data and published a paper that was wrong- this could look bad, and you might question their other work since they made this mistake once.
On the other hand they had the moral integrity to retract it once they realised, they admitted they were wrong rather than covering it up. So perhaps now their other work now seems all the more reliable.
Thanks Elsie! Your explanation is even more clear. :-)
Since tt_dan was annoyed that i was beating around the bush..., here is another moral question:
In your resume for applying job, you may include all your publications.
However, should you consider to include any paper that you've retracted, and state the reason for 'retraction'?
Based on individual employer's experience, they may choose to employ you or reject your application.
Of course, they may also evaluate your reason for 'retraction'.
Another input for dan:
Retraction of paper may cause the *journal* to look bad for publishing incorrect or unreliable data.
Actually, it causes the *reviewers* to feel bad for accepting questionable paper.
It also causes the *editors* to feel bad for choosing the incapable reviewers and accepting the paper.
Thus, it is important to clarify the reason for retraction.
Moreover, the journal may not look good if too many papers are retracted. It suggests the journal does not have a rigorous review system. The other authors who have published papers in this journal may now look bad too.
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