Happy second anniversary, Retraction Watch: Plus, our plans for year three
We didn’t plan it this way, but our second anniversary gift came a few days early this week, when we learned that a retraction notice had cited us. Given that the traditional second anniversary gift is cotton, and we’re really not sure what to do with that information, we’re much happier — and humbled — by the mention.
Two years ago today, we launched Retraction Watch. When we looked back at year one, we had written more than 250 posts; that number is up to more than 600. We had a new record-holder in our first year, Joachim Boldt, with 88 retractions; we now have a new one, Yoshitaka Fujii, with 172 likely. This July, we crossed the three million-pageview threshold, and also saw our first 300,000-pageview month.
But numbers don’t always tell the whole story, and one thing we have been particularly proud of is the support of our growing core of readers. Their — your — response and encouragement has helped us gain exposure, with invited articles by us in Nature, the Boston Globe and The Scientist, for example, testimony at the National Academy of Sciences, invited talks at conferences and institutions, and more. Your comments and tips — productive, provocative and yes, at times infuriating — have helped us create a far more robust and consequential site. To which we say a most heartfelt: Thanks!
We doubt that in the coming year anyone will come along to trump Boldt and Fujii with yet another record holder for retractions, so we won’t promise that. But we will be introducing several new features to the blog. The first is what we are calling the Transparency Index, a way, as we put it in The Scientist, to judge journals on how willing they are to share information about their decisionmaking process with their readers.
Another, which Ivan described in an interview with The Scholarly Kitchen:
We’re also going to offer a membership to the site, so that our readers, in addition to the tremendous support they’ve already given us with criticisms, tips, and spreading the word, have the opportunity to support our efforts to create a robust and user-friendly database of retractions, corrections, and other updates to the literature.
We’ll have more about that — think an NPR model, content available to everyone regardless of whether you support us — once we’ve got the technology in place, so stay tuned. In the meantime, feel free to stop by the Retraction Watch Store. (And our Facebook page, for that matter.)
Some of the funds from memberships, we should note, will go to pay guest bloggers. You may have noticed Trevor Stokes‘ great posts. Trevor, an accomplished science writer, came to us wanting to contribute, and was undeterred when we told him we couldn’t pay. But we’d like to be able to offer him — and other contributors — something once we have revenue.
Onto year three. Thanks again!