Top 10 most highly cited retracted papers

Ever curious which retracted papers have been most cited by other scientists? Below, we present the list of the 10 most highly cited retractions as of May 2019. Readers will see some familiar entries, such as the infamous Lancet paper by Andrew Wakefield that originally suggested a link between autism and childhood vaccines. You’ll note that many papers — including the #2 most cited paper — received more citations after they were retracted, which research has shown is an ongoing problem.

Although just missing out on the top ten and coming in at number 11 – with 670 citing articles – this article was previously designated as a “Highly Cited Paper” by Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science, meaning it was ranked in the top one percent of all papers in its subject field in the last 10 years:  Selective killing of cancer cells by a small molecule targeting the stress response to ROS. NATURE July 14, 2011. (by: Lakshmi Raj, Takao Ide, Aditi U. Gurkar, Michael Foley, Monica Schenone, Xiaoyu Li, Nicola J. Tolliday, Todd R. Golub, Steven A. Carr, Alykhan F. Shamji, Andrew M. Stern, Anna Mandinova, Stuart L. Schreiber, Sam W. Lee).

Article Year of retraction Citing Articles before retraction Citing Articles after retraction Total cites (journals indexed by Web of Science)
  1. Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet. N Engl J Med April 4, 2013

Estruch R, Ros E, Salas-Salvado J, Covas MI, Corella, D, Aros F, Gomez-Gracia E, Ruiz-Gutiérrez V, Fiol M, Lapetra J, Lamuela-Raventos RM, Serra-Majem L, Pinto X, Basora J, Munoz MA, Sorli JV, Martinez JA, Martinez-Gonzalez MA, et al., for the PREDIMED Study Investigators

2018 1879 271 2150
2. Visfatin: A protein secreted by visceral fat that mimics the effects of insulin. SCIENCE, JAN 21 2005

Fukuhara A, Matsuda M, Nishizawa M, Segawa K, Tanaka M, Kishimoto K, Matsuki Y, Murakami M, Ichisaka T, Murakami H, Watanabe E, Takagi T, Akiyoshi M, Ohtsubo T, Kihara S, Yamashita S, Makishima M, Funahashi T, Yamanaka S, Hiramatsu R, Matsuzawa Y, Shimomura I.

2007 228 1074 1302
3. Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children. LANCET, FEB 28 1998

Wakefield AJ, Murch SH, Anthony A, Linnell J, Casson DM, Malik M, Berelowitz M, Dhillon AP, Thomson MA, Harvey P, Valentine A, Davies SE, Walker-Smith JA

2010 633 638 1271
4. An enhanced transient expression system in plants based on suppression of gene silencing by the p19 protein of tomato bushy stunt virus. PLANT JOURNAL, MAR 2003

Voinnet O, Rivas S, Mestre P, Baulcombe D.

2015 893 256 1149
5. Cardiac stem cells in patients with ischaemic cardiomyopathy (SCIPIO): initial results of a randomised phase 1 trial. LANCET, NOV 2011 

Bolli, Roberto; Chugh, Atul R.; D’Amario, Domenico; et al.

2019 897 9 906
6. Purification and ex vivo expansion of postnatal human marrow mesodermal progenitor cells. BLOOD,  NOV 1 2001

Reyes M, Lund T, Lenvik T, Aguiar D, Koodie L, Verfaillie CM.

2009 594 296 890
7. TREEFINDER: a powerful graphical analysis environment for molecular phylogenetics. BMC EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY, JUN 28 2004

Jobb G, von Haeseler A, Strimmer K.

2015 757 130 887
8. Viral pathogenicity determinants are suppressors of transgene silencing in Nicotiana benthamiana. EMBO JOURNAL, NOV 16 1998

Brigneti G, Voinnet O, Li WX, Ji LH, Ding SW, Baulcombe DC

2015 771 50 821
9. Spontaneous human adult stem cell transformation. CANCER RESEARCH, APR 15 2005

Rubio D, Garcia-Castro J, Martín MC, de la Fuente R, Cigudosa JC, Lloyd AC, Bernad A.

2010 326 416 742
10. Combination treatment of angiotensin-II receptor blocker and angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitor in non-diabetic renal disease (COOPERATE): a randomised controlled trial. LANCET, JAN 11 2003

Nakao N, Yoshimura A, Morita H, Takada M, Kayano T, Ideura T.

2009 582 148 730

Note: To obtain the number of citations before and after a retraction was issued, we had to rely on the “Citation index” portion of  Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science (WoS), which only adds up the number of citations from journals indexed by the WoS Core Collection. Therefore, the  citation count using just those two values can be lower than the total citation count for each article listed by WoS. Those eagle-eyed readers may notice that the column headings have been changed slightly; this was to better reflect the criteria causing the discrepancy in total counts.