What do studies of retractions tell us?

jmbeThe Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education has published a special issue on scientific ethics, and it includes an invited piece from us.

In “What Studies of Retractions Tell Us,” we decided to do a literature review of the small but growing field of retraction studies. Five years ago, this would have been a very short paper, consisting of a handful of references, but we were able to find about 30 studies to include quite easily.

Here’s the abstract:

The retraction is receiving a growing amount of attention as an important event in scientific and scholarly publishing. Not only are some journals becoming increasingly open in their handling of the articles they withdraw—allowing researchers to gain important insights into the work of their colleagues—but scholars, too, have greater access to the reasons for retractions, information that is dramatically reshaping our understanding of such events. As this article will demonstrate, recent research has inverted the accepted lore about why retractions happen and their impact.

We hope the paper will be a useful resource for those interested in studies of retractions and scientific integrity. Take a look at the whole issue, which features some names that will be familiar to Retraction Watch readers.

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