Retraction Watch readers, we could still really use your help

Dear Retraction Watch readers:

We hope that you continue to enjoy Retraction Watch, and find it — and our database of retractions — useful. Maybe you’re a researcher who likes keeping up with developments in scientific integrity. Maybe you’re a reporter who has found a story idea in our database, or on the blog. Maybe you’re an ethics instructor who uses the site to find case studies. Or a publisher who uses our blog to screen authors who submit manuscripts — we know at least two who do.

Whether you fall into one of those categories or another, we need your help. Continue reading Retraction Watch readers, we could still really use your help

Reports of misconduct investigations can tell us a lot. Here are more than a dozen of them.

the waving cat, via Flickr

Fakery. Ignored whistleblowers. Sabotage. Subterfuge.

Reading reports of institutional investigations into allegations of misconduct can sometimes feel like reading a spy novel about science. And we’ve read a lot of them.

In a recent post that drew from one such report, we wrote:

Whenever we learn about misconduct cases at public universities, we file such public records requests to obtain more information because we believe, as did Justice Louis Brandeis, that sunlight is the best disinfectant.

But just as retraction notices are often unhelpful and even misleading, suggesting a lack of transparency, reports of institutional investigations can leave a lot to be desired, and reveal flaws in the the process that lead to them. As we and C.K. Gunsalus noted recently in JAMA: Continue reading Reports of misconduct investigations can tell us a lot. Here are more than a dozen of them.

Meet the scientific sleuths: A dozen who’ve had an impact on the scientific literature

Over the years, we have written about a number of the sleuths who, on their own time and often at great risks to their careers or finances, have looked for issues in the scientific literature. Here’s a sampling: Continue reading Meet the scientific sleuths: A dozen who’ve had an impact on the scientific literature

Retraction Watch readers, we really need your help

Dear Retraction Watch readers:

We hope that you continue to enjoy Retraction Watch, and find it — and our database of retractions — useful. Maybe you’re a researcher who likes keeping up with developments in scientific integrity. Maybe you’re a reporter who has found a story idea in our database, or on the blog. Maybe you’re an ethics instructor who uses the site to find case studies. Or a publisher who uses our blog to screen authors who submit manuscripts — we know at least two who do.

Whether you fall into one of those categories or another, we need your help. Continue reading Retraction Watch readers, we really need your help

Misconduct investigation reports are uneven at best. Here’s how to make them better.

Retraction Watch readers may have noticed that over the past year or so, we have been making an effort to obtain and publish reports about institutional investigations into misconduct. That’s led to posts such as one about a case at the University of Colorado, Denver, one about the case of Frank Sauer, formerly of the University of California, Riverside, and this story on a case out of the University of Florida.

We’ve obtained the dozen-plus reports we’ve published so far by a variety of means, from public records requests to court documents to old-fashioned leaks. Reading these reports confirms what others — including the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. National Science Foundation — have found. Namely, the reports — which are subject to an inherent conflict of interest, given that institutions are investigating their own — are uneven at best.

We’d like to do something about that. Continue reading Misconduct investigation reports are uneven at best. Here’s how to make them better.

Retraction Watch is back at full speed. Here’s what you need to do to make sure you’re seeing our content.

Our readers will likely know that the site has been having significant trouble for more than two weeks. Thanks for your patience, your offers to help, and for sticking with us during that time. We’re happy to say that we seem to have identified all of the various issues involved, and have solved them. Some of those fixes may mean that you’ll need to resubscribe to our email alerts, so keep reading (or skip over the vaguely technical stuff in the next few paragraphs if you’d rather). Continue reading Retraction Watch is back at full speed. Here’s what you need to do to make sure you’re seeing our content.

The RW Week In Review: Anti-gay bias, an authorship lawsuit; misconduct in industry vs. academia

We’ve been having some technical issues with the site, which may have kept some readers from accessing our content this week. We think we’ve figured out what was wrong, and fixed it, but in the meantime here’s what we were up to this week, in case you missed it:

Continue reading The RW Week In Review: Anti-gay bias, an authorship lawsuit; misconduct in industry vs. academia

Is our database missing a retraction? Tell us!

As many readers know, we’ve been hard at work curating a comprehensive database of retractions, and are now up to more than 16,000 entries. Despite that large number — as much as triple what you’ll find in commonly used databases — we know there are notices we’re missing.

We’re doing our best to fill in the gaps, but the work will go faster with help. So if you come across a recent or previous retraction, and don’t see it in our database, let us know about it using this form. None of the fields is required, but the more information we have, the quicker we’ll be able to add the relevant details. Please note: This isn’t for papers that you think should be retracted; send us tips about those to retractionwatchteam@gmail.com. (And to answer a question we are often asked: Yes, we plan for an API of the database, once it’s comprehensive.)

Thanks in advance!

Like Retraction Watch? You can make a tax-deductible contribution to support our growth, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, add us to your RSS reader, sign up on our homepage for an email every time there’s a new post, or subscribe to our daily digest. If you find a retraction that’s not in our database, you can let us know here. For comments or feedback, email us at retractionwatchteam@gmail.com.

The 2017 Retraction Watch Year in Review (hint: Our database is nearly done)

One journal broke a retractions record by pulling more than 100 papers in one day for faked reviews, a Harvard graduate student obtained a restraining order against his boss after being forced to undergo a psychiatric exam, and a well-known food scientist at Cornell faced heavy criticism about his research.

And that’s just some of what we reported in the first few months of 2017.

This year, our team worked hard this year to dig deeper into retractions and hold publishers and institutions accountable, while filing more public records requests (including investigation reports, which journals have noticed), and exploring larger stories affecting academic publishing.

But our biggest accomplishment this year was working on our database — now close to complete (thanks to the hard work of more than a dozen graduate students, librarians, and others), it includes just shy of 16,000 retractions.

Here’s a sampling of what else we worked on this year:

Continue reading The 2017 Retraction Watch Year in Review (hint: Our database is nearly done)

Top 10 retractions of 2017

It’s time for the “Best of 2017” lists to start appearing — so why not do one for retractions? We think it’s a good idea, so have partnered with The Scientist for the last few years to compile our most notable notices of the year.

From new records to mass resignations, you can check out our picks for 2017 here. Continue reading Top 10 retractions of 2017