Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Fraudulent Studies Disappear, But Not Without a Sound (Thanks to 'Retraction Watch')

Scientific journals pride themselves on holding researchers to the highest standards. So when a previously published study is later found to be wrong, editors "retract" it. Problem is, the original is highly publicized while the retraction is not.

Fraudulent Studies Disappear, But Not Without a Sound (Thanks to 'Retraction Watch')

Medical journals and other peer-reviewed publications pride themselves on holding researchers to the highest standards of ethical and scientific integrity.  So when it’s later discovered that data in a published study were fraudulent or that human subjects were treated in an unethical manner, editors “retract” the article—removing it from the journal’s archives and making it seem as if the article was never published in the first place.

While the results of many high-profile studies are often widely publicized, their retractions rarely are—until Retraction Watch was launched, that is.

Retraction Watch is a blog that tracks retracted papers—and, in my opinion, is pretty darn interesting and important.  Started in 2010 by Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus, both well-accomplished medical writers, Retraction Watch has gained acclaim from publications like Nature and The Wall Street Journal.

At times, Retraction Watch reads like a baseball website as the bloggers pore over statistics for researchers notorious for having their papers retracted—German anesthesiologist Joachim Boldt, for example, who had 89 studies retracted!

More coverage

In the spirit of Auld Lang Syne, Retraction Watch provided a 2011 Year in Review of Retractions to close out the year. Some of the most popular posts:


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What is public health — and why does it matter?

Through prevention, education, and intervention, public health practitioners - epidemiologists, health policy experts, municipal workers, environmental health scientists - work to keep us healthy.

It’s not always easy. Michael Yudell, Jonathan Purtle, and other contributors tell you why.

Michael Yudell, PhD, MPH Associate Professor, Drexel University School of Public Health
Jonathan Purtle, DrPH, MSc Assistant Professor, Drexel University School of Public Health
Janet Golden, PhD Professor of history, Rutgers University-Camden
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