Misconduct prompts most retractions | Science News



Support credible science journalism.

Subscribe to Science News today.


Misconduct prompts most retractions

Two-thirds of scientific papers pulled from journals are for fraud, suspected fraud and plagiarism

5:52pm, October 1, 2012

Scientific misconduct — including fraud, suspected fraud and plagiarism — is the reason behind most retractions of papers published in scientific journals, a new study shows.

Only 21.3 percent of biomedical and life sciences studies pulled from scientific journals were withdrawn because honest errors invalidated the findings, researchers report online October 1 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Retraction notices often don’t explain why a study is being withdrawn, or they cover up the real reason for pulling a paper, says study coauthor Arturo Casadevall, a microbiologist at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City and editor of the journal mBio.

To understand the scope of the problem, Casadevall and coauthors Ferric Fang and R. Grant Steen studied 2,047 retracted journal articles in the PubMed database, which references more than 25 million studies dating back to the 1940s. Of the retractions,

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join the Society today or Log in.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from this issue of Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content