Sharp Rise in Retractions of Scientific Papers Is a Red Flag

Sharp Rise in Retractions of Scientific Papers Is a Red Flag

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Retractions of papers published in scientific journals are rising at an alarming rate, according to Dr. Ferric C. Fang a professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine and editor in chief of the journal Infection and Immunity, but that is just a manifestation of a much more profound problem — “a symptom of a dysfunctional scientific climate.” Dr. Arturo Casadevall of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, now editor in chief of the journal mBio, said he feared that science had turned into a winner-take-all game with perverse incentives that lead scientists to cut corners and, in some cases, commit acts of misconduct.

Last month, in a pair of editorials in Infection and Immunity, the two editors issued a plea for fundamental reforms. They also presented their concerns in March at the annual meeting of the National Academies of Sciences committee on science, technology and the law, arguing that science has changed in some worrying ways in recent decades — especially biomedical research, which consumes a larger and larger share of government science spending..

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