Are there a limited number of ways to describe the the background and methods of an experiment? Once something has been written well, and vetted by editors, is it a waste of time to rewrite it ? And if text has been reused, how should that be indicated — if at all?
These are questions we’ve asked before — and are revisiting after reviewing a pair of commentaries published earlier this year in Research Integrity and Peer Review. We’ve certainly seen our fair share of retractions due to duplication (so many we can’t cover them all) — but in one commentary, Cary Moskovitz — the Director of Writing in the Disciplines at the Thompson Writing Program at Duke University — argues that some text recycling — aka, “self-plagiarism” or duplication — is sometimes unavoidable, and, in some situations, even preferable. He told us:
Continue reading How much text recycling is okay?
When a paper is retracted, how many other papers in the same field — which either cite the finding or cite other papers that do — are affected?
That’s the question examined by a study published in BioMed Central’s new journal, Research Integrity and Peer Review. Using the case of a paper retracted from Nature in 2014, the authors found that subsequent research that cites the retracted paper often repeats the problematic finding, thereby spreading it throughout the field. However, papers that indirectly cited the retracted result — by citing the papers that cited the Nature paper, but not the Nature paper itself — typically don’t repeat the retracted result, which limits its spread.
Here’s how the authors describe their findings in the paper: Continue reading How much does a retracted result pollute the field?