Retraction Watch readers, we need your help to be able to continue our work

Dear Retraction Watch readers:

Have you seen our database of retractions?

While we’re still putting finishing touches on it before an official launch, with more than 18,000 retractions, it’s already the most comprehensive collection of retractions anywhere. We have learned a great deal as we’ve gathered those retractions, which we look forward to sharing quite soon, along with ways that the database can help cut down on waste in research, but — and this is key — it has been painstaking work.

Because of how scattered, incomplete, and sometimes even wrong retraction notices are, every retraction must be located, double-checked, and entered by hand. That means all 18,244, at the time of this writing — and growing every day. Our researcher spends much of her time curating the database, assisted at various points by a small army of terrific librarians, graduate students, and others interested in cleaning up the literature.

As you can guess, this effort requires resources. We have been fortunate to have this and other work funded by generous grants over the years, going back to 2014, but those grants have ended. We are always in discussions with past and potential funders — and would be grateful to hear suggestions on that front — but as is the case for most non-profits, our future depends on maintaining sufficient financial support. We’re therefore asking you to consider a tax-deductible financial contribution to our parent non-profit organization, The Center For Scientific Integrity. Continue reading Retraction Watch readers, we need your help to be able to continue our work

Retraction Watch readers, we need your help to be able to continue our work

Dear Retraction Watch readers:

Have you seen our database of retractions?

While we’re still putting finishing touches on it before an official launch, with more than 18,000 retractions, it’s already the most comprehensive collection of retractions anywhere. We have learned a great deal as we’ve gathered those retractions, which we look forward to sharing quite soon, along with ways that the database can help cut down on waste in research, but — and this is key — it has been painstaking work.

Because of how scattered, incomplete, and sometimes even wrong retraction notices are, every retraction must be located, double-checked, and entered by hand. That means all 18,129, at the time of this writing — and growing every day. Our full-time researcher spends much of her time curating the database, assisted at various points by a small army of terrific librarians, graduate students, and others interested in cleaning up the literature.

As you can guess, this effort requires resources. We have been fortunate to have this and other work funded by generous grants over the years, going back to 2014, but those grants have ended. We are always in discussions with past and potential funders — and would be grateful to hear suggestions on that front — but as is the case for most non-profits, our future depends on maintaining sufficient financial support. We’re therefore asking you to consider a tax-deductible financial contribution to our parent non-profit organization, The Center For Scientific Integrity. Continue reading Retraction Watch readers, we need your help to be able to continue our work

Meet the journal full of baloney (and cheese)

“Baloney on Wonder Bread with American Cheese,” by Ann Larie Valentine

For researchers wandering in the food desert of scientific publishing, the journal description is irresistible — or, you might say, appetizing. Meet The International Cheese Journal:

Have you ever wondered how your colleagues got each cheese published in journals with great sounding names? And that there was so little content in it? You can now too!

We asked Marcel Waldvogel, who created the new journal, some questions how he came up with this delicious idea. He was kind enough to interrupt his sandwich lunch to answer: Continue reading Meet the journal full of baloney (and cheese)

Happy birthday, Retraction Watch: We’re eight today

Hey, we’re eight today!

Every year on August 3, we like to remind readers of everything we have to celebrate on our anniversary — and of what a privilege it is to be able to do this work.

We’ve come a long way since we launched in 2010. For one, we’re one shy of 4,500 posts. And we’re very close to completing work on something we hope we become an indispensable tool in scholarly publishing: Our database of retractions. Entries stretch back decades, and include nearly 18,000 retractions so far.

Now that the database is nearly complete, we’re able to step back, take stock, and think more broadly about scientific misconduct, academic incentives, and scholarly publishing. There are well over a thousand retractions each year, and we couldn’t possibly report on each one of them, so we are relying more and more on the database to inform researchers when a study is no longer reliable. Instead, we’re doing deeper dives, prompting us to file public records requests for reports of misconduct investigations and other materials (and our co-founders to urge universities to do a better job with them).

A lot of that work shows up in other outlets. In the past year, we’ve collaborated with a growing host of journalism organizations, using our joint resources to bring readers stories that go deep and reach larger audiences than we can on the blog. There are our established partnerships with STAT and Science, where we continue to break news and help readers make sense of developments. And this year we also appeared other places, for example: Continue reading Happy birthday, Retraction Watch: We’re eight today

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: More than 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: More than 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.