Retraction Watch

Friday, June 08, 2012


There's often a really interesting story behind a retraction. That's what Ivan Oransky told us. He's a doctor and journalist and founder, along with Adam Marcus, of a blog called Retraction Watch. They monitor scientific journals and investigate why articles were retracted. They uncovered serious ethical breaches at a variety of journals. Oransky tells Brooke about some of the stories he's covered this year.


Quantic - Una Tarde en Mariquita


Ivan Oransky

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Brooke Gladstone

Comments [4]

Monte Haun

I remember the controversy and had mixed feelings about it, but it was a way to recover some of the then, and still current, appalling waste of fish products by the industry.

As I recall, the main objection was that the product contained "filth", which seems not quite so repulsive after I realized that canned sardines, which I enjoyed then, contained all the innards and contents of the digestive tract, (including the excrement).

I guess it was the size of the excrement etc of the larger fish, that made it more unappetizing.

Monte Haun

Jul. 07 2013 03:27 PM
T Fenton

Paula has an excellent selection, but may be underestimating the level of effort required to provide a citation service like Westlaw's KeyCite or Lexis' Shepard's service. Both publishers hire large teams of attorneys (each with a J.D., a three year graduate degree) to read and analyze every published opinion issued by appellate courts and many of those issued by district courts. An attorney and his/her client can be sanctioned by a court for failing to check (and properly communicate in his/her brief) the citation status of a case.

The efforts of Lexis and Westlaw attorneys is part of a tremendous undertaking and the end product is the primary reason why clients and law firms continue to pay very high fees for access to case law in spite of free services including Google Scholar.

Retractions of scientific articles would be relatively easy to flag in an automated way, but there would be great value in a more nuanced citation system (like KeyCite or Shepards) that would indicate positive or negative treatment by other scholars.

Jun. 16 2012 11:50 AM
Paula Voss

The suggestion that it would be difficult to link debunked scientific papers to the research that attacks it is not new. Appellate cases which have been questioned or overturned by subsequent court rulings are regularly linked to those cases on Westlaw and other research programs. Lawyers are expected to cite to those non-favorable cases and distinguish them from the case at hand. It shouldn't be that hard to create the same sort of links in the scientific community.

Jun. 10 2012 10:40 AM

Great story. Someone told me how the scientific publishers, and then the World Health Organization deep-sixed the story behind Stewart Udall work (just search online for fish flour and fish powder 1961 and 1962) and I did not want to believe it. You have clarified much of what happened, and continues to happen.

Jun. 09 2012 07:29 AM

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