Through the past decades, the number of retractions has greatly increased; “The data confirm that the absolute number of retractions has risen over the past few decades, from fewer than 100 annually before 2000 to nearly 1000 in 2014”, Jeffrey Brainard mentioned, Associate News Editor at Sciences Magazine. But don’t be scared because, at the same time, the rate of the published scientific papers was nearly doubled from 2003 to 2016, which played a role in increasing the number of retractions as well.
Knowing the reasons for your paper retraction is not an easy task; most of the editors may not mention any reasons after retracting a paper, leaving you in a fog. So, let us reveal the underlying causes for retractions according to studies conducted on a huge database, like PubMed.
What Is Paper Retraction?
Oxford Dictionary defines retraction: “a statement saying that something you previously said or wrote is not true.” And in the world of scientific research, paper retraction means withdrawal of scientific research after getting published because of discovering certain errors or mistakes, which may be intentional errors (like fabrication or falsification) or just human errors, which may be corrected if possible.
Here’s an example of a retracted paper in The Lancet due to data fabrication; you can check it from this link:
Reasons For Paper Retraction
Increasing the number of retractions is alarming to the scientific literature; therefore, knowing the core reasons for this phenomenon is crucial.
Data errors and paper retraction
Data errors are a common cause of paper retraction, and these errors may be due to falsification and fabrication of data to change the final result. Or due to human errors during data collection, statistical analysis, etc..
In the past, detecting plagiarism was arduous, but nowadays online plagiarism checkers have turned it into an easy task. And certainly, it’s one of the critical reasons for increasing retractions.
Adding the name of an author who did not participate in the research and authorship disputes can lead to paper retraction.
Also, unethical research, peer review issues (like fake peer review), and journal issues (such as publishing the same paper twice) are reasons for paper retraction.
A Study Revealed The Causes Of Retracting Publications In The Pubmed Database
About 65.3% of retractions were due to misconduct (fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism). Plagiarism, data management, and compromise of the review process—inaccurate peer review—were the top reasons for retracting publications in this study. The majority of retractions due to misconduct were related to particular countries: Iran, Egypt, and China. Maybe authors in these countries face obstacles to overcome plagiarism by using original wording as English is not their native language. Or they may suffer from pressure to publish their paper. About 6.6% of the total retracted papers were written by a single author; a single person may avoid committing misconduct.
What Is The Impact Of Increasing Retractions On Scientific Literature?
Although paper retraction may affect the reputation of the author, it increases the trustability of the editors and journals. Plagiarism and fraud are far apart from the core and aim of scientific research. But sometimes, a paper retraction may occur as a result of human errors or even a journal fault, and the author may not realize the key reason for the retraction. And remember, if you discover any fault in your paper, even after publishing, inform the journal and editors to maintain a good reputation and reliability.