When researchers from a particular country dominate retraction statistics, what does it mean?

Iekuni Ichikawa

The Retraction Watch Leaderboard of authors with the most retractions is a frequent source of comment and speculation. Why do only men appear on it? And what fields and countries are represented? Here, Iekuni IchikawaProject Professor at Shinshu University and Emeritus Professor of Pediatrics at Vanderbilt University, as well as a co-founder of the Association for the Promotion of Research Integrity (APRIN) in Japan, takes a look at a recent story that referenced our leaderboard — and what those figures really mean.

The authors of Retraction Watch often take pains to point out that the relative rarity of retractions — despite dramatic increases in their rates — make studying them a challenge. But it is often difficult to resist seeking out truth in retraction numbers.

As a case in point, in August Science published an article by Kai Kupferschmidt about research misconduct in Japan that quoted data from the Retraction Watch Leaderboard, pointing that out that although “half of the top 10 are Japanese researchers…only about 5% of published research comes from Japan.” Continue reading When researchers from a particular country dominate retraction statistics, what does it mean?