Back to Journals » Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare » Volume 11

Exploring the characteristics, global distribution and reasons for retraction of published articles involving human research participants: a literature survey

Authors Li G, Kamel M, Jin Y, Xu MK, Mbuagbaw L, Samaan Z, Levine MA, Thabane L

Received 15 September 2017

Accepted for publication 12 December 2017

Published 18 January 2018 Volume 2018:11 Pages 39—47

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/JMDH.S151745

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser


Guowei Li,1–3 Mariam Kamel,1 Yanling Jin,1 Michael Kuan Xu,1 Lawrence Mbuagbaw,1,2 Zainab Samaan,1,4 Mitchell AH Levine,1–4 Lehana Thabane1,2

1Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact, 2St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, 3Centre for Evaluation of Medicines, Programs for Assessment of Technology in Health Research Institute, 4Department of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada

Aim: Article retraction is a measure taken by journals or authors where there is evidence of research misconduct or error, redundancy, plagiarism or unethical research. Recently, the retraction of scientific publications has been on the rise. In this survey, we aimed to describe the characteristics and distribution of retracted articles and the reasons for retractions.
Methods: We searched retracted articles on the PubMed database and Retraction Watch website from 1980 to February 2016. The primary outcomes were the characteristics and distribution of retracted articles and the reasons for retractions. The secondary outcomes included how article retractions were handled by journals and how to improve the journal practices toward article retractions.
Results: We included 1,339 retracted articles. Most retracted articles had six authors or fewer. Article retraction was most common in the USA (26%), Japan (11%) and Germany (10%). The main reasons for article retraction were misconduct (51%, n = 685) and error (14%, n = 193). There were 66% (n = 889) of retracted articles having male senior or corresponding authors. Of the articles retracted after August 2010, 63% (n = 567) retractions were reported on Retraction Watch. Large discrepancies were observed in the ways that different journals handled article retractions. For instance, articles were completely withdrawn from some journals, while in others, articles were still available with no indication of retraction. Likewise, some retraction notices included a detailed account of the events that led to article retraction, while others only consisted of a statement indicating the article retraction.
Conclusion: The characteristics, geographic distribution and reasons for retraction of published articles involving human research participants were examined in this survey. More efforts are needed to improve the consistency and transparency of journal practices toward article retractions.

Keywords:
article retraction, research misconduct, research ethics, journal policy
 

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]