Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Meet the Retraction Watch staff

with 8 comments

Editor Alison McCook comes to us after working with both Adam and Ivan over the years, including as Ivan’s deputy at The Scientist. She took over his role there when he left in 2008. After The Scientist, she did stints at Nature in the Features and Comment section, where she edited a piece on reproducibility that was the first to report that the vast majority of landmark papers in preclinical cancer research were not reproducible, sparking much discussion since. Ever since her first full-time science writing gig as a staff writer at Reuters Health, Alison has been interested in the complexities of running a lab, and how no story is ever black and white — especially in the case of fraud.

To learn more about Alison, visit her website, follow her on Twitter, or send her an email at alisonmccook[at]

Alison, Shannon (see below), and Cat (see below) were hired thanks to the generosity of the MacArthur Foundation.



Researcher Alison Abritis recently received her Ph.D. in Public Health, with a concentration in toxicology and risk assessment.  Her dissertation focused on retractions and corrections, or the lack thereof, arising from misconduct findings by the Office of Research Integrity (ORI). She found that less than half of the findings resulted in a published retraction or correction, and even fewer had the misconduct indicated as cause for the published notice.

To learn more about Alison, follow her on Twitter (@AlisonAbritis) or send her an email at aabritis[at]

Alison Abritis and Dalmeet (see below) were hired thanks to the generosity of the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.


Staff writer Victoria Stern first began working with editor Alison McCook at The Scientist in 2009. Since then, she went on to develop a freelance career, working for Medscape, Scientific American Mind (where she became a contributing editor), General Surgery News, and Reuters Health. She studied chemistry at Swarthmore College and science writing at New York University. She is based in London, UK.

You can reach her at victoria.stern [at], and check out her website.


Staff writer Andrew P. Han comes to Retraction Watch and the Center for Scientific Integrity from GenomeWeb, where he covered the explosion of CRISPR/Cas9 into the research and biotech scene over the last two and a half years. He has also freelanced for, Popular, Newsweek, and Food & Wine. 

Andrew P. Han

Andy’s beat at Retraction Watch will of course be retractions, but he’ll also be helping us broaden our coverage of the intersection between scientific misconduct at the law — so if you have court documents or stories, send them along.

Andy studied astronomy and the history of science at Dartmouth College and science journalism at New York University, where he first met co-founder Ivan Oransky. Adam Marcus was also a guest lecturer in Ivan’s class that year.

He’s based in Brooklyn, NY. You can reach him at andrew.phillip.han [at]

Andy was hired thanks to the generosity of the Helmsley Charitable Trust.

Here’s more about our co-founders, Adam Marcus and Ivan Oransky.

Former staff: Cat Ferguson was Retraction Watch’s first intern — and was our first staff writer. She came to us from the University of California, Santa Cruz’s Science Communication Program and had already written for the New Yorker online, and for New Scientist, among other outlets. She’s now a reporter at BuzzFeed. To learn more about Cat, check out her website.

Former staff writer Shannon Palus has written for Discover, Slate, The Atlantic, and a host of other publications. She has a B.Sc. in physics, with a minor in anthropology, from McGill, where she worked at The McGill Daily. Since graduating, she’s worked as an intern at Idaho National Lab and as a fact-checker for publications including Popular Science.

To learn more about Shannon, visit her website, or follow her on Twitter.

Former staff writer Dalmeet Singh Chawla has been freelancing since June 2014, focusing on innovations in scholarly publishing, along with peer review, authorship and publisher policies. His work has appeared in Nature, Science, The Economist, The Sunday Times, New Scientist, The Observer, Times Higher Education, The Scientist and more. In September 2015, he was shortlisted for the ‘Outstanding Young Journalist’ Award, which is part of the Asian Media Awards 2015 (hosted by ITV), for his freelance reporting. He has a BSc degree in biochemistry from University College London, and an MSc in Science Communication from Imperial College London.

For more on Dalmeet – who is based in London, UK — you can check out his website, or follow him on Twitter.

Written by Alison McCook

March 10th, 2015 at 3:04 pm

Posted in

  • Dr Gautam Kaul June 11, 2015 at 3:56 am

    Alison, you are doing a great job !

  • Sunil Joshi June 17, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    Wonderful job!! Please keep this going on. The young generation of Scientists is greatly suffering and so the society.

  • SteveLaudig August 29, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    How does this fit in your model?

    cheers, working at a university in China I find your site extraordinarily interesting…

  • Cindy Fonda November 28, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    Your recent hire, Alison, has been my friend and neighbor for 20 years. She’s among my favorite human beings, and kudos to you for landing her. I’m a counseling graduate student, and had not yet heard of your website, which I see as a must for anyone whose practice/business depends upon being informed by valid and reliable research.

  • Marco February 5, 2016 at 10:55 am

    Is there a plan to have some kind of common e-mail to send any tips about retractions?

    • Alison McCook February 7, 2016 at 3:51 pm

      Thanks for your question — we do plan on creating an email for retraction tips, but in the meantime it works to post a comment on our “meet the staff” page, as you did, or contact our researcher at: aabritis [at] gmail [dot] com. Thanks!

  • Ronen January 6, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    PhD students at Harvard reports misconduct, PI from Harvard Stem Cell Institute gets him hospitalized based on fabricated allegations of insanity

  • Gonzo Manyasi July 12, 2017 at 10:29 am

    This is my first time to come across and it is a dream come true for me, a prayer answered! I have seen so much fraud and lack of integrity in my academic and research life, I was about to give up altogether. I’ve glanced though the various links and found quite a number of situations that resonate with my varied experiences, most of which have been in my country of origin – Kenya! I’m sure to have more to say later after reading some more. Thank you.

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