Rethinking retractions

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Science  26 Oct 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6413, pp. 390-393
DOI: 10.1126/science.362.6413.390

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Nearly a decade ago, headlines highlighted a disturbing trend in science: The number of articles retracted by journals had increased 10-fold during the previous 10 years. But a new analysis using the largest and most comprehensive database of retractions, assembled by the Retraction Watch blog, indicates that the continuing increase reflects not so much an epidemic of fraud as a community trying to police itself. Science worked with Retraction Watch to analyze about 10,500 retracted journal articles, shedding light on one of scientific publishing's most consequential but shrouded practices. The analysis reveals trends about the rate of retractions, their causes, and which authors and countries have the most. Ironically, the stigma associated with retraction may be making the literature harder to clean up.