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Academic Integrity

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Misconduct accounts for the majority of retracted scientific publications

A recent paper has shown that ‘misconduct’ is accountable for over 67% of publication retractions. This breaks down to fraud (43%), duplication (14%) and plagiarism (9.8%).

The full abstract is found below and can be read here:


A detailed review of all 2,047 biomedical and life-science research articles indexed by PubMed as retracted on May 3, 2012 revealed that only 21.3% of retractions were attributable to error. In contrast, 67.4% of retractions were attributable to misconduct, including fraud or suspected fraud (43.4%), duplicate publication (14.2%), and plagiarism (9.8%). Incomplete, uninformative or misleading retraction announcements have led to a previous underestimation of the role of fraud in the ongoing retraction epidemic. The percentage of scientific articles retracted because of fraud has increased ∼10-fold since 1975. Retractions exhibit distinctive temporal and geographic patterns that may reveal underlying causes.

Ferric C. Fanga,b,1, R. Grant Steenc,1, and Arturo Casadevalld,1,2

Departments of aLaboratory Medicine and

bMicrobiology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA 98195;

cMediCC! Medical Communications Consultants, Chapel Hill, NC 27517; and

dDepartment of Microbiology and Immunology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY 10461

Edited by Thomas Shenk, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, and approved September 6, 2012 (received for review July 18, 2012)