Fraud, Not Error, Is Main Reason Studies in Journals Are Retracted

Fraud, Not Error, Is Main Reason Studies in Journals Are Retracted

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Falsified data is the main reason biomedical and life science research articles are retracted, a problem that has increased 10-fold in the past three decades, a review of studies found. About 43% of the articles were rescinded because of made-up or manipulated data, 14% were retracted because the study appeared in more than one publication and about 10% because of plagiarism, according to the report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study is the most comprehensive analysis of retracted articles, said Arturo Casadevall, the study’s senior author. Published studies that are withdrawn can have a negative effect on society and the public’s trust, Casadevall said. A 1998 study published in the Lancet medical journal linked a childhood vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella to autism and bowel disease and caused immunization rates in the U.K. to plummet. The journal retracted the study in 2010 after an investigation found the research to be flawed.

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