I’d like to hope that one day my work will be comparable to the tireless and commendable work done by those at retractionwatch. I attempt to describe some of the dynamics of the research process, the ways in which the peer-review succeeds or fails, and other “behind the curtain” processes which result in the research published in journals and misrepresented in popular science articles. There is no better source to understand how seriously flawed the processes underlying essential components of virtually all scientific publication than this blog. I’m going to make a point of referring to it now and again just to ensure that however few readers check out my blog know where to go for vital information.
One of the complaints we often hear about the self-correcting nature of science is that authors and editors seem very reluctant to retract papers with obvious fatal flaws. Indeed, it seems fairly clear that the number of papers retracted is smaller than the number of those that should be.
To try to get a sense of how errors are corrected in the literature, Arturo Casadevall, Grant Steen, and Ferric Fang, whose work on retractions will be familiar to our readers, in a new paper in the FASEB Journal, look at the sources of error in papers retracted for reasons other than misconduct.
Here’s the abstract (emphasis ours):
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