Want alerts about retractions of papers in your library? Check out PubChase

pubchase250If you were gathering references to write a paper, or just keeping studies in an online library, wouldn’t it be nice to get an alert any time any of those papers was retracted?

Well, now you can. We’re very pleased to announce that PubChase, a free biomedical literature search and recommendation tool, will now feature links to Retraction Watch posts. As PubChase writes in an announcement of the new initiative:

You have a thousand papers in your library. One of them is retracted today. How do you know? Starting today, any new story on Retraction Watch will be linked to from the corresponding paper in PubChase. Most importantly, starting today, if a paper in your library is retracted and there is an announcement on Retraction Watch or PubMed, you will get a notification from PubChase right away.

For example, if you had the Micron paper “Sperm ultrastructure in two species of Panorpa and one Bittacus (Mecoptera)” in your PubChase library, you’d have received a notification that the paper had been retracted. And the PubChase entry would include a link to our post on the paper.

PubChase continues:

Science is an ever-evolving enterprise and no paper is ever final or static. We are pushing hard to facilitate the sharing of new knowledge and to ensure that this information finds you.

So go check out PubChase — no, we have no financial relationship with the site, so we don’t earn any kind of referral fee — and let relevant retractions come to you.

Like Retraction Watch? Consider supporting our growth. You can also follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, add us to your RSS reader, and sign up on our homepage for an email every time there’s a new post.

8 thoughts on “Want alerts about retractions of papers in your library? Check out PubChase”

    1. PubChase is a community service resource from ZappyLab. We built it as part of an effort to create a free, up-to-date, crowdsourced protocols repository for the life sciences (protocols.io). Everything we build is free for the user, and the business model is based on charging vendors for links to the reagent listings. More information on this is in the FAQ here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1881346585/protocolsio-life-sciences-protocol-repository?ref=live.

      1. Lenny, why are only PubMed and RW entries being used? PubMed, I agree with, but RW does not represent a complete complement, as they always point out. Their entries, however, often have far more reliable information than the publishers’ notices that PubMed links to. Surely, you would need to link to the data-bases of all major publishers (at first) and then even to “predatory” OA publishers (aka Beall’s list) in order for your “corrective” tool to be effective, and useful? Or is this just stage 1? For example, denying the existence of the “predatory” OA publishers, and their retractions, does not in fact remove their existence. This is a formidable force in the OA movement that can no longer be ignored and has to be tracked as carefully as the tier 1 OA journals like PLOS and others.

          1. Lenny, thank you for responding. I wish Elsevier and Springer management would sent a PR to attend to the criticisms of their publishing systems on RW and other blogs the way you have come to respond to valid concerns or queries. I can fully appreciate that PubChase, under the ZappyLab umbrella, are relatively new initiatives, and we need many more of these. I guess, like any initiative, momentum is required. But momentum can only be achieved, and sustained, if there is a real practical use. In the case of RW, the stories provide scientists with case-by-case clues as to what is going wrong in science publishing, and that the problems lie both with the scientist pool and with the publisher pool. PubChase could be a valuable tool if it actually went beyond the stated objectives of an “alerting” service. The scientific community desperately needs two things at the moment:
            a) FREE open-source software that can analyze the literature for plagiarism, as powerful or more than iThenticate (or equivalent);
            b) an up-to-date library of retractions that span all publishers. If a library were to be available, including three documents I have alluded to elsewhere on RW (peer reports, retraction notice, retrascted article), then we could potentially be dealing with an extremely powerful and practically useful tool for scientists and others. I understand that this is most likely not the intended aim of PubChase, but keep this in mind.

            As far as I can tell, although “cute” and fun, despite the high-profile testaments on your web-site, I wold personally see little use to use any of the services I have seen, although I could imagine how it could serve a certain slice of the tech-loving scientific base.

            As a scientist, my time is extremely limited. I turn to RW and other blogs simply to gather ideas so as to better prepare myself for the next stage of this publishing battle that affects me, too. While many, if not most, scientists I know are like cicadas, sitting back, confident that their salaries and grants will exist eternally, I hold a more critical and cloudy stance that nothing is stable and everything can get lost, even within a 24-hour period. So, tools that help us survive, assess the situation in publishing more clearly, and prepare us not only for defense, but for retaliation, are what we need in order to take on the state of militarization in science. In that sense, PubChase could have some use short-term, but fizzle out in a year as other similar apps get developed by other groups.

            For example, I like the idea of scientists being able to submit retractions. This could be worth the investment of time, but not so that it becomes an “alert service” or app. I would be interested, together with an increasing following of critics in the plant sciences, in providing the retraction notices and the retracted paper PDFs to a group that creates a “retraction library”. However, as alluded to on another story on your web-site, although I can’t seem to find the link today, wouldn’t you have problems with copyrighted material? In fact, I am also thinking about your Zappylab app, how does it take copyrighted protocols into consideration?

          2. PubChase is not just an alert service. It is a personalized recommendation engine for newly published research in the biomedical sciences. The very purpose of PubChase is to save scientists like you time, so you don’t have to search and randomly collide with the papers that are relevant to you.

  1. I think it is really useful and all, however I am afraid that giving more visibility to retractions is leading to a decrease in their frequency. I have a personal feeling that since the popularisation of Retraction Watch, meaning the visibility and discussion of reasons behind scientific retractions, they have become less likely to happen, as this exposes more the journal editors and authors. Lame corrections have been becoming more and more frequent.

    Anyway, let us keep and eye and see.

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