Today, I made a new tag with aim to be pinned to questions about withdrawing papers in the process of their submission or withdrawing an academic position such as admissions offers. I suggested an excerpt for it which is now approved:

Questions about withdrawal of books or papers from journals and conferences or withdrawal during admissions process to academic programmes.

However, after some hours, when I was reading the tags list, I found that we have a tag with similar scope.

Ethics and logistics of withdrawing, refuting, or amending published work.

The tag seems a little vague to me, as it's scope may cover questions which are only about retraction of published work, not withdrawing manuscripts which are under review process or even questions about withdrawing an academic position such as withdrawal during postgraduate admissions.

I did some searches in the questions which include these word. By searching the website for questions having these word in their body and title, the following results are accessible:

72 questions have withdraw (56 questions) and withdrawal (16 questions) in their body and 17 questions have withdraw (15 questions) and withdrawal (2 questions) in their title.

39 questions have retract (18 questions) and retraction (21 questions) in their body and 7 questions have retract (4 questions) and retraction (3 questions) in their title.

  1. Making one of these tags synonym of the other and edit the main tag's excerpt. (Based on the search results presented above, I think that the tag with its current excerpt is more popular word and can be the main tag and tag can be a synonym of it.

  2. Having both tags on the site, but we can edit their excerpts to have tag for questions which are about withdrawing academic positions such as a student withdrawing a PhD position during his admissions process, and to have for questions about withdrawing papers, books, etc. during their review and publication process.

  3. Delete the newly proposed tag and have previous tag as it was before without any edit to its excerpt and wiki.

Although I am so sorry for making a new tag without searching the tags' list carefully; I think that it does worth that the community think about these two tags with similar scopes and not just vote the tag to be deleted. In my opinion, the first option discussed above is a better choice for the site.

  • As far as the meaning and usage of two tags were misunderstood by me, we will keep both tags on the site without any significant change into their excerpts. Therefore, I am asking one the moderators to kindly pin a status-completed tag to this question.
    – enthu
    Apr 7, 2015 at 8:53

2 Answers 2


Retraction and withdrawal are not the same.

Retraction refers to expunging of papers from the literature, usually for reasons related to fraud or error.

Withdrawal of a paper can occur for any reason. Withdrawal can also apply to conference papers, posters, and oral presentations.

  • 1
    I am assuming that voting for this post means option #2: keep both tags and adjust scope if needed.
    – jakebeal
    Apr 6, 2015 at 21:57
  • 1
    @jakebeal With this answer, I think that we should have both tags on our site, with no significant change to their excerpts. I had misunderstood the meaning of these two words.
    – enthu
    Apr 6, 2015 at 22:06

Withdrawing from a course in progress, withdrawing an application for admission, withdrawing from a degree program (), and withdrawing a paper submitted for review are not the same thing.

There should not be an ambiguous tag applied to all these different scenarios.

  • I do not agree with quitting tag. Quitting tag does not have any clear excerpt but it is currently applied to the questions which are about leaving academia. For instance, questions about students who are in their last year of PhD programme. It is not about stopping and withdrawing an admissions application.
    – enthu
    Apr 9, 2015 at 21:00
  • 1
    @Enthusiastic that's exactly my point. These are all completely different things, and you're putting it all into one tag. A single tag should not apply to so many unrelated situations.
    – ff524
    Apr 9, 2015 at 21:02
  • I do not recommend to use withdraw tag for questions about leaving academia. (If I have wrongly applied, I apology.) I recommend withdraw tag to be used for questions about stopping an admissions application or withdrawal of manuscripts, papers and generally publications. Retraction for removing publications out of literature as described in the other answer, and quitting for leaving academia.
    – enthu
    Apr 9, 2015 at 21:10
  • 1
    @EnthusiasticStudent this question and this question are about quitting a program in progress. this question and this question are about leaving a class mid-semester. Those are not about stopping an admissions application or a paper submission.
    – ff524
    Apr 9, 2015 at 21:19
  • I did not pay attention to this point and did not know that we have a quitting tag. But without having a clear excerpt for quitting tag, every user may fail to correctly use the withdraw and quitting tags.
    – enthu
    Apr 9, 2015 at 21:26
  • 1
    @EnthusiasticStudent I think a 'withdraw' tag that applies broadly to all these different scenarios is bad, and I think a 'withdraw' tag that applies to exactly two kinds of withdrawal but not others is even worse - very confusing! If anything, I think for publications there should be a 'paper-withdrawal', and for applications 'application-withdrawal' - for the other scenarios, I don't think a tag is necessary.
    – ff524
    Apr 9, 2015 at 21:38
  • On the contrary, I think that we do not have so many questions in the scope of these tags to separate the withdraw tag to specific paper- and application- withdrawal tags. Withdraw tag and the other retraction and quitting tags are enough to cover existing questions on the site.
    – enthu
    Apr 9, 2015 at 22:03

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