Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Happy second anniversary, Retraction Watch: Plus, our plans for year three

with 21 comments

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!

Written by Ivan Oransky

August 3rd, 2012 at 9:30 am

  • Robert Fagan (@RobFagan) August 3, 2012 at 9:43 am

    Congratulations guys! A job well done so far but lots still to do….

  • Ann August 3, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Happy Anniversary! Sounds like you have great plans for year 3 – I’ll be with you all the way!

  • Toby White August 3, 2012 at 11:50 am

    Happy Anniversary. May your retractions continue to expand!

  • Larry Husten August 3, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    As long as scientific misconduct takes place RW will be required reading! Congratulations and good luck.

  • Conrad T Seitz MD August 3, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    Congratulations on two years and six hundred posts, and wishing you many many more.

  • Jessica G August 3, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    Congratulations on your accomplishments! Keep up the great work.

  • Chip_MoMo (@Chip_Molly) August 3, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    You guys are just amazing. Absolutely adore reading your posts every week.

  • VN August 3, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    Please keep going ! You guys and your blog are unforgettable !

  • John Mashey August 3, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    This is generally a thankless ask … so thanks so much for doing it!

  • Steven McKinney August 3, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    “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.”

    Clearly, journal editors have “cottoned on” to Retraction Watch and your eminently reasonable suggestions! Congratulations, and many thanks for all of your hard work.

    • Paul A. Thompson August 3, 2012 at 2:53 pm


  • Eric Schliesser August 3, 2012 at 2:59 pm


  • devra c marcus August 3, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    congratulations. you have changed the landscape for scientists and there seems to be a ripple effect
    to other disciplines.


  • George Howard Brown August 4, 2012 at 10:28 am

    Thanks for being here. Whenever I hear some bozo assert “That’s not how science works,” I refer them here.

  • YouKnowBestOfAll August 5, 2012 at 2:12 am

    Congratulations for the great initiative and for the outstanding progress you have achieved!

    This shows clearly that RW is doing something which is really needed.

    I admire your stand to purify the academic publishing in spite of all well-organised efforts of the fraudsters, their institutions, the editors and the publishers, all of which are busy only to cover up the misconduct and very reluctant to do the right thing.

    It has been said long ago:

    To be, or not to be, that is the question:
    Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
    The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
    And by opposing end them.

    Let’s join our efforts in opposing publication misconduct to end it once and forever!

  • JudyH August 5, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    Congratulations on your success so far, and here’s hoping you’ll have much more in the years to come. You have contributed to the upholding of standards that, noble though they might be in concept, are rarely applied unless someone is looking and questionning and reminding.

    The Retraction Watch web site is a great resource that I have used for work, in addition to looking up information just out of personal interest. Thanks again for all the work you guys put into making it thorough and helpful with links and search function.

  • Walter Eisner August 6, 2012 at 9:43 am

    Well done. You are part of the Digital Reformation that is disrupting everything.

  • Paul A. Thompson August 6, 2012 at 10:20 am

    I religiously follow RW. The service rendered here is immense, and you are owed a thanks.

  • mortshirkhanzadeh August 6, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    Congratulations on impressive progress so far.
    Introducing the Transparency Index to the blog is another great initiative.

  • Catherine Charlton August 10, 2012 at 2:50 am

    Congratulations on your successes!

  • Amy Moore August 10, 2012 at 2:54 pm


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