Study Challenges Conventional Wisdom on Retractions

June 15, 2015

With retractions of scholarly papers attracting much attention these days, a study that will be released Wednesday will challenge conventional wisdom on the factors that encourage work that must be retracted. The paper will appear in PLOS ONE and features an analysis of retractions to look for trends. A summary of the paper is available now at Retraction Watch. "The hypothesis that males might be prone to scientific misconduct was not supported, and the widespread belief that pressures to publish are a major driver of misconduct was largely contradicted: high-impact and productive researchers, and those working in countries in which pressures to publish are believed to be higher, are less likely to produce retracted papers, and more likely to correct them. Efforts to reduce and prevent misconduct, therefore, might be most effective if focused on promoting research integrity policies, improving mentoring and training, and encouraging transparent communication amongst researchers," says the summary.

It adds: "Some factors were associated with a higher rate of misconduct, of course -- a lack of research integrity policy, and cash rewards for individual publication performance, for instance. Scientists just starting their careers, and those in environments where 'mutual criticism is hampered,' were also more likely to commit misconduct."

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