Three-Quarters of Scientific Retractions Caused by Misconduct, not Honest Errors

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

When journals are forced to issue retractions about inaccurate information in articles and papers, the cause of the errors are largely the result of misconduct by scientists and academics.


A new study of 2,047 retractions of biomedical and life-science research articles published between 1973 and May 3, 2012, says that only 21.3% of the time are retractions the product of honest errors.


That means misconduct is behind three-quarters of retractions. The misconduct includes suspected fraud (43.4%), duplicate publication (14.2%) and plagiarism (9.8%).


“What's troubling is that the more skillful the fraud, the less likely that it will be discovered, so there likely are more fraudulent papers out there that haven't yet been detected and retracted,” said study coauthor Dr. Arturo Casadevall of Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx.

-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky


To Learn More:

Misconduct, Not Error, Accounts For Most Scientific Paper Retractions (Albert Einstein College of Medicine)

Majority Of Retractions Are Due To Misconduct: Study Confirms Opaque Notices Distort the Scientific Record (Retraction Watch)

Misconduct Widespread in Retracted Science Papers, Study Finds (by Carl Zimmer, New York Times)

Misconduct Accounts for the Majority of Retracted Scientific Publications (by Ferric C. Fanga, Grant Steenc and Arturo Casadevall, PNAS) (abstract only)

Retraction Crisis Hits Scientific Journals (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)

Medical Journal Retractions Skyrocketingv(by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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