This is our 3,000th post, dear reader, and to celebrate we’re presenting you with a wealth of retraction data from fiscal year 2015, courtesy of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
The biggest take-home: The number of retracted articles jumped from 500 in Fiscal Year 2014 to 684 in Fiscal Year 2015 — an increase of 37%. But in the same time period, the number of citations indexed for MEDLINE — about 806,000 — has only increased by 5%.
To illustrate, we’ve presented the increase in a handy graphic:
(Note that these figures stem from fiscal years, not calendar years; FY 2015 extends from October 1, 2014 through September 30, 2015.)
We have estimated that roughly 500-600 papers are retracted per year — not all retractions will be indexed in MEDLINE, which focuses on the biomedical sciences — so we’re not sure if last year is an outlier or a sign of a new plateau. We did a rough glance at the list of retractions for FY 2015, and no obvious explanation for the increase — such as a ton of retractions for one author or from one journal — jumped out at us. But we’ll be continuing to pore over the data to see if any pattern emerges. (Retraction Watch readers will likely recall that the number of retractions grew ten-fold from 2001 to 2010.)
We also saw a significant increase — by nearly 30% — in the number of errata listed in FY 2015, versus FY 2014.
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