Have retraction notices improved over time?

Evelyne Decullier
Hervé Maisonneuve

Evelyne Decullier & Hervé Maisonneuve have been studying retractions for a long time. They’ve looked at how long retractions take to show up in PubMed, and five years ago they published a paper on the quality of retraction notices — and how well they were disseminated — in 2008. Now, they’ve repeated that analysis for papers retracted in 2016, and in a new paper in BMC Research Notes, conclude that “management of retraction has improved.” We asked them some questions — one of which, about an Elsevier policy, as noted below, led to a re-examination of the conclusions — about their findings:

Retraction Watch (RW): Why do you think it’s important for journals to provide a reason for retraction?

Evelyne Decullier & Hervé Maisonneuve (ED and HM): Correcting the literature is key for ensuring the quality of data and that the scientific method is respected. Readers should at least be able to differentiate retractions for honest errors from retractions for fraud or plagiarism.

Their confidence in the authors’ integrity is linked to the kind of retraction. We insist on the importance of the reader knowing whether the data, and which data, are valid. Continue reading Have retraction notices improved over time?

Weekend reads: “Chronic compulsive writing syndrome;” a new way to respond to rejection; rewards for a center that doesn’t yet exist

Before we present this week’s Weekend Reads, a question: Do you enjoy our weekly roundup? If so, we could really use your help. Would you consider a tax-deductible donation to support Weekend Reads, and our daily work? Thanks in advance.

The week at Retraction Watch featured, unfortunately, a likely DDOS attack that kept our site dark for much of Tuesday and Wednesday. That means you may have missed this post, about the temporary withdrawal of a paper about a controversial “abortion reversal” method. But the week also featured the retraction of a paper about the Shroud of Turin, a researcher who lost a PhD despite the lack of any misconduct, and a new look at a study of whether spouses were more likely to cheat if their partners earned more than they did. Here’s what was happening elsewhere: Continue reading Weekend reads: “Chronic compulsive writing syndrome;” a new way to respond to rejection; rewards for a center that doesn’t yet exist

Weekend reads: “Ethics dumping;” getting scientists to admit mistakes; the problem with conference dinner chatter

Before we present this week’s Weekend Reads, a question: Do you enjoy our weekly roundup? If so, we could really use your help. Would you consider a tax-deductible donation to support Weekend Reads, and our daily work? Thanks in advance.

The week at Retraction Watch featured a collection of reports of scientific misconduct investigations, the story of a researcher who thought his work was important enough to be published three times, and a look at what happened when Elsevier tried open peer review. Here’s what was happening elsewhere: Continue reading Weekend reads: “Ethics dumping;” getting scientists to admit mistakes; the problem with conference dinner chatter

What happened when Elsevier tried open peer review? And which field says “no, thanks?”

Bahar Mehmani

Is open peer review the future? The EMBO Journal has offered it since 2009. eLife offers it. They’re not alone, although they’re still in the minority (a fact Irene Hames wishes would change). Elsevier, one of the world’s largest publishers, has tried a pilot of it, too, so we thought it would be worth finding out what happened. We spoke to Bahar Mehmani, Elsevier’s lead for reviewer experience, about the project, and lessons learned.

Retraction Watch (RW): Why did Elsevier decide to launch a pilot of open peer review, and why with these five journals? Continue reading What happened when Elsevier tried open peer review? And which field says “no, thanks?”

Weekend reads: The fall of a Crossfit science watchdog; a CDC retraction about suicides; “superb subterfuge” by predatory journals

Before we present this week’s Weekend Reads, a question: Do you enjoy our weekly roundup? If so, we could really use your help. Would you consider a tax-deductible donation to support Weekend Reads, and our daily work? Thanks in advance.

The week at Retraction Watch featured a critic with more than two dozen retractions; why twenty journals were punished; and why 35,000 papers may be eligible for retraction. Here’s what was happening elsewhere:
Continue reading Weekend reads: The fall of a Crossfit science watchdog; a CDC retraction about suicides; “superb subterfuge” by predatory journals

Retracted papers keep being cited as if they weren’t retracted. Two researchers suggest how Elsevier could help fix that.

Gali Halevi
Judit Bar-Ilan

As many readers know, even after a paper’s retracted, it will continue to be cited — often by researchers who don’t realize the findings are problematic. But when, and in what context, do those citations occur? In a recent paper in Scientometrics, Judit Bar-Ilan of Bar-Ilan University in Israel and Gali Halevi at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York examine what happened to nearly 1,000 retracted papers over time, including how long it took to pull them, and when and how often they continue to be cited. We spoke with Bar-Ilan and Halevi about what worries them about their findings — and why they believe Elsevier could help fix the problem.

Retraction Watch: As you note, there have been a number of studies of retractions. What do you hope this study contributes?

Continue reading Retracted papers keep being cited as if they weren’t retracted. Two researchers suggest how Elsevier could help fix that.

High-profile indexing service punishes 20 journals, issues unusual warning about five others

If scientific publishing were the World Cup, twenty scientific journals are being effectively taken out of competition today. And five others are being given a stern first-time warning.

Every year, Clarivate Analytics, a company that indexes more than 11,000 journals — and which, in turn, designates their powerful, but controversial, Impact Factors and rankings, based on citation rates — issues an annual report, noting how journals’ metrics changed, and which ones showed worrisome behavior that might be an attempt to game the system, such as citing themselves too frequently. And this year is no different: In this year’s Journal Citation Reports (JCR), Clarivate is stripping 20 journals of their Impact Factors by suppressing them from the rankings. Continue reading High-profile indexing service punishes 20 journals, issues unusual warning about five others

Weekend reads: Bragging about burying bad science; women still underrepresented in Nature; does brilliance justify bad behavior?

Before we present this week’s Weekend Reads, a question: Do you enjoy our weekly roundup? If so, we could really use your help. Would you consider a tax-deductible donation to support Weekend Reads, and our daily work? Thanks in advance.

The week at Retraction Watch featured a look at a dozen scientific sleuths; the story of how gambling got in the way of a promising scientific career; and details on why a misconduct probe took more than four years. Here’s what was happening elsewhere: Continue reading Weekend reads: Bragging about burying bad science; women still underrepresented in Nature; does brilliance justify bad behavior?

He was once a prominent cancer researcher. Then his gambling — and a finding of scientific misconduct — got in the way.

In September 2014, an investigation into the work of an award-winning cancer researcher in Illinois concluded that multiple papers had been affected by misconduct. Now, nearly four years later, two of those articles have been retracted.

What happened in the intervening years reveals a complicated and at times bizarre story involving not only scientific misconduct, but accusations of mistreatment of lab members, gambling debts, and a failed lawsuit.

In 2014, the researcher, Jasti Rao, filed a lawsuit against his former employer, the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria, which conducted the misconduct investigation, along with his two former supervisors, accusing them of discrimination and violation of due process.

The investigation focused on both research misconduct and alleged ethics infractions, including taking cash from employees. Court documents reveal that Rao admitted to gambling during work hours, and after he was late in paying debts — including one worth $75,000 — his credit was suspended by the Par-A-Dice Casino in Peoria.

Continue reading He was once a prominent cancer researcher. Then his gambling — and a finding of scientific misconduct — got in the way.

Weekend reads: Scientists citing themselves; gender and clinical trials; jail after plagiarism

Before we present this week’s Weekend Reads, a question: Do you enjoy our weekly roundup? If so, we could really use your help. Would you consider a tax-deductible donation to support Weekend Reads, and our daily work? Thanks in advance.

The week at Retraction Watch featured allegations of text reuse by a Harvard professor, news about a new predatory publishing scam, and the refusal of a journal to retract a paper by Paolo Macchiarini. Here’s what was happening elsewhere: Continue reading Weekend reads: Scientists citing themselves; gender and clinical trials; jail after plagiarism