Retraction Watch: A year in review, an accounting, and thanks

logo2014 was quite a year for Retraction Watch. We reported on hundreds of retractions — here are our top 10 — but we also took some big steps in our development. Some highlights:


  • We surpassed 10 million page views since our August 2010 launch




  • Cat came on board full time as our first staff writer
  • We surpassed 15 million page views since launch



It’s no accident that a lot of those highlights came in the second half of the year. Hiring Cat — whose work has been terrific, we’re sure you’ll agree — was possible thanks to the generosity of our readers. In March, we asked for your financial support, and you delivered, with more than $4,200 in contributions. And having her write daily posts meant that we could focus on other work that we’d hoped to get to — the op-ed, the grant, the feature, and the peer-reviewed paper.

What all of that means is that your financial contributions are a big part of what has made, and continue to make, our growth possible. So: A big thank you. We have exciting plans for 2015 and beyond, and we’d welcome any help you can give us. It’s not only financial contributions, of course: We continue to rely on our readers for tips, critiques, and for spreading the word.

Speaking of those financial contributions, we promised an accounting of how we used the funds. After PayPal fees, service fees by the independent company handling these contributions for us (more on why we’re doing things this way here), and the costs of sending T-shirts to contributors at certain levels, we were left with about $3,200. A bit more than half of that went to pay Cat for her internship, and the rest went toward legal costs for our incorporation of The Center for Scientific Integrity, a not-for-profit organization we’ve created to expand our efforts. We’re now in process of applying for 501(c)3 non-profit status.

Of course, we have other sources of revenue that allowed us to hire Cat full-time before the MacArthur grant began. Those include advertising (WordAds and now Google AdSense), payment for outside writing, honoraria for speaking, syndication fees, and merchandise sales. (The last two added up to less than $100 in 2014.) Retraction Watch, and the Center, remain volunteer activities for Adam and Ivan, with all of our writing fees and honoraria contributed to Retraction Watch. 100% of the MacArthur grant is for other peoples’ salaries, and for 2014, we expect to show a slight loss.

From all of us at Retraction Watch, a happy, healthy, and productive 2015.

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