Nine years ago this coming Saturday, on August 3, 2010, we published a post, “Why write a blog about retractions?”
What has become clear in the intervening nine years is what a rich vein retractions are as stories of what happens when something goes wrong in science. And as we have done every year at this time, we’ll review what happened in the last 12 months.
We now know, for example, that there are close to 20,000 retractions from the scholarly literature dating back to the 1970s. We know that because we completed work on our database and were able to launch it with a package of stories in Science in October.
Since that time, a number of studies have already made use of the dataset to analyze patterns from the rate of retractions in genetics to frequency of publications by those with retractions, to drugs used in humans. So have a several news outlets, from Australia to the Arab League. (If you’re a scholar or journalist and you want the dataset, drop us a line.)
Speaking of making use of the database, we also partnered this year with Zotero, the free and open-source research platform, to allow its users to be alerted to retractions of any papers in their personal libraries. We’re very excited about this, and so are Zotero users.
In addition to publishing daily at Retraction Watch — we’re up to more than 4,800 posts in nine years — we’ve continued to write for and break news for other outlets, including:
- Harvard and the Brigham call for more than 30 retractions of cardiac stem cell research (STAT)
- UCSF settles sexual harassment suit involving star researcher (STAT)
- Meet the Whistleblower Who Just Cost Duke $112.5 Million (Medscape)
- Eye for Manipulation: A Profile of Elisabeth Bik (The Scientist)
We also continue to be cited and quoted by major news outlets around the world, for example
Those are just some of our highlights from the last year.
As we are fond of saying, your readership, criticism, and tips are anniversary gifts enough, but we would be remiss if we didn’t note that donations to our parent non-profit organization, The Center For Scientific Integrity, are tax-deductible. Should you feel so moved, we would be deeply grateful for any and all contributions to help us continue our work. While foundation support — we have been funded at various times by the MacArthur Foundation, the Helmsley Trust, and the Arnold Foundation — has been critical to our growth, there are always more investigations, more research, and more work that we’d like to do.
At the moment, so that our dollars stretch as far as they can, neither I nor my co-founder Adam Marcus are taking salaries, and we donate all honoraria and writing fees to the Center. We will do that as long as we need to.
And thank you, as always, for your support.