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

Dear Retraction Watch readers:

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 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 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:

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 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 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:

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 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 need your help to be able to continue our work

The Year In Retractions, 2018: What 18,000+ retractions (and counting) told us

Another year in the books — or journals — already?

2018 was another  productive year for Retraction Watch. Topping our own leaderboard of achievements was the launch of our database of retractions, along with an analysis published in Science. With more than 18,000 entries, the repository is the largest of its kind. We are grateful to all of those who helped make it happen, including the MacArthur Foundation and Arnold Foundation, our generous funders for the project over the years, as well as individual donors. And we would like to thank our researcher, Alison Abritis, without whose efforts the project would never have come to fruition. 

But that wasn’t all we did in 2018. We continued to break stories and write in-depth analyses of research misconduct cases and other misadventures in science publishing. Some of these articles include: Continue reading The Year In Retractions, 2018: What 18,000+ retractions (and counting) told us

The Top 10 Retractions of 2018: From Anversa to Wansink, with a Kardashian along the way

2018 was a busy year in retractions. (OK, they’ve all been busy for a while.) In what has become an annual tradition, our friends at The Scientist asked us to round up what we thought were the biggest retractions of the last 12 months.

Head on over to see our picks. Continue reading The Top 10 Retractions of 2018: From Anversa to Wansink, with a Kardashian along the way

It’s time to get serious about decreasing bias in the clinical literature. Here’s one way to do that.

Tom Jefferson

Recently, we wrote in STAT about the “research integrity czars” that some journals are hiring to catch misconduct and errors. But are there other ways that journals could ensure the integrity of the scientific record? Tom Jefferson, a physician, methods researcher, and campaigner for open clinical trial data, has a suggestion, which he explores in this guest post. (Jefferson’s disclosures are here.)

Readers of Retraction Watch know that the quality control mechanisms in the publication of science, chiefly editorial peer review, are not infallible. Peer review in biomedicine in its current form and practice is the direct descendant of the bedside consultation. In a consultation the object or person under observation (patient/the journal submission) is observed and analyzed by the doctor (editor) who decides what the best course of action is. If unsure, the physician/editor may call on the help of outside specialists (the hospital physicians/referees) to help make a final decision on the therapy and fate of the patient/submission.

Such a wonderfully genteel paradigm of scrutiny and scholarly activity cannot be expected to identify problems caused by the contemporary rampant commercialization of biomedical research and its dissemination. In fact it does not. In fact, the system as designed does little, if anything, to detect these issues. Continue reading It’s time to get serious about decreasing bias in the clinical literature. Here’s one way to do that.

On Giving Tuesday, please consider supporting Retraction Watch

We know there are a lot of causes that matter to you, but since you’re reading this, we may be one of them. So we’d like to ask for your support.

On this Giving Tuesday, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to The Center For Scientific Integrity, the 501(c)3 parent organization of Retraction Watch. Any amount helps. Your donation will help us shine a spotlight on scientific misconduct, and hold accountable the entities that profit from publishing, including journals, institutions, and individuals.

Here’s what your donations will continue to help make possible:

Continue reading On Giving Tuesday, please consider supporting Retraction Watch

It’s time to end the code of silence at universities

Brian Wansink

Yesterday, Cornell University told a group of researchers who had petitioned them to release a report of their investigation into alleged misconduct by Brian Wansink, a food marketing researcher who recently resigned his post there, that they would not release that report. As BuzzFeed reports, the university is now conducting a “Phase II” investigation into Wansink’s work. (It’s unclear what a “Phase II” investigation refers to; we’ve asked the university to clarify.)

Unfortunately, Cornell’s lack of transparency about the case puts them in the majority. Here’s a piece by our two co-founders, Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus, about why this veil of secrecy needs to be lifted.

For more than a decade, Cornell University’s Brian Wansink was a king in the world of nutrition. He published his findings — on everything from why small plates make us eat less to the behavior of obese people at all-you-can-eat Chinese buffets — in top-tier journals and garnered media coverage in prestigious newspapers. His work even formed the basis of U.S. dietary guidelines.

But Wansink’s fortune cookie has crumbled. In September, he resigned in disgrace from Cornell. He has now lost 15 papers to retraction — one, twice — and the university found him guilty of committing research misconduct. Continue reading It’s time to end the code of silence at universities

We’re officially launching our database today. Here’s what you need to know.

Readers, this is a big day for us.

We’re officially launching the Retraction Watch Database of more than 18,000 retractions, along with a six-page package of stories and infographics based on it that we developed with our partners at Science Magazine. In that package, you’ll learn about trends — some surprising, some perhaps not — and other tidbits such as which countries have the highest retraction rates. Thanks as always to our partners at Science, particularly Jeffrey Brainard and Jia You, who crunched the numbers and developed the package.

As readers no doubt know, we’ve been working on the database for some years. Some have asked us why it has taken so long — can’t we just pull retractions from existing databases like PubMed, or publishers’ sites? The answer is resoundingly no. All of those databases are missing retractions, whether by design or because notices aren’t transmitted well. That’s why we found more than 18,000, far more than you’ll find elsewhere. And we also went through each one and assigned it a reason, based on a detailed taxonomy we developed over eight years of reporting on retractions. Continue reading We’re officially launching our database today. Here’s what you need to know.

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