Retractions Under the Microscope
THE SOURCE: “The Trouble With Retractions” by Richard Van Noorden, in Nature, Oct. 6, 2011.
No scientist like to hear that a publication labored over for months or years contains a flaw so major that it must be withdrawn from the public record. Yet the number of retractions of published research has boomed in recent years. It was projected last fall that the Web of Science, an authoritative publication database, would record 400 retractions in 2011, up from an average of about 30 a year a decade ago.
What accounts for the surge? Scientists can