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Fraud, not error, is why two thirds of biomedical papers are withdrawn

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e6658 (Published 02 October 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e6658
  1. Bob Roehr
  1. 1Washington, DC

Retraction of biomedical and life science research papers for fraud or misconduct is more widespread than previously thought and is roughly 10-fold more common today than in 1975, shows a new study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.1

The study looked at all 2047 retractions listed in the PubMed index as at 3 May 2012. It tallied the reasons stated by the journal in making its retraction and also examined reports filed with the US government’s Office of Research Integrity and other sources. That resulted in reclassification of 118 of 742 retractions (16%) given in an earlier study of retraction from error to fraud.

“In contrast to earlier studies, we found …

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