ACN - 101321555 Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

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Research Ethics MonthlyISSN 2206-2483

Research results

Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

A Multi-dimensional Investigation of the Effects of Publication Retraction on Scholarly Impact (Papers: Xin Shuai, et al | January 2016)0

Posted by Admin in on February 20, 2018


The findings of this work provide an interesting insight into the impacts of forced retractions. It is somewhat at odds with findings of other research listed in this library (or perhaps incomplete) in terms of impacts on coauthors and subsequent collaborators.

Over the past few decades, the rate of publication retractions has increased dramatically in academia. In this study, we investigate retractions from a quantitative perspective, aiming to answer two fundamental questions. One, how do retractions influence the scholarly impact of retracted papers, authors, and institutions? Two, does this influence propagate to the wider academic community through scholarly associations? Specifically, we analyzed a set of retracted articles indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science (WoS), and ran multiple experiments to compare changes in scholarly impact against a control set of non-retracted articles, authors, and institutions. We further applied the Granger Causality test to investigate whether different scientific topics are dynamically affected by retracted papers occurring within those topics. Our results show two key findings: first, the scholarly impact of retracted papers and authors significantly decreases after retraction, and the most severe impact decrease correlates to retractions based on proven purposeful scientific misconduct; second, this retraction penalty does not seem to spread through the broader scholarly social graph, but instead has a limited and localized effect. Our findings may provide useful insights for scholars or science committees to evaluate the scholarly value of papers, authors, or institutions related to retractions.

Shuai, X., Rollins, J., Moulinier, I., Custis, T., Edmunds, M., & Schilder, F. (2017).  A Multidimensional Investigation of the Effects of Publication Retraction on Scholarly Impact. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 68(9), 2225-2236. doi: 10.1002/asi.23826.
Publisher (Open Access):

Understanding the complexities of retractions (Amy Riegelman and Caitlin Bakker | January 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on February 19, 2018

Recommended resources

Reasons for retracted publications range from honest errors made by authors or publishers to research misconduct (e.g., falsified data, fraudulent peer review). A retraction represents a status change of a publication in the scholarly literature. Other examples of status changes include correction or erratum. A retraction could be initiated by many parties, including authors, institutions, or journal editors. The U.S. National Library of Medicine annually reports on the number of retracted publications indexed within PubMed. While the overall rate of retractions is still very small, retractions have increased considerably in the last decade from 97 retracted articles in 2006 to 664 in 2016.1

Quite simply an excellent resource that we urge institutions to include in you research integrity resource library and all ECRs to read/keep for ongoing reference.

As librarians help users navigate research platforms and maintain awareness of publication status changes, it is important to understand both the publishing and discovery landscape. Guidelines exist to help publishers and platforms identify retractions, but a recent study found inconsistent representations of retractions across various platforms.2 Another consideration is when scholars export citations or full-text articles out of various discovery platforms to personal libraries (e.g., Mendeley, DropBox).
Philip Davis studied retracted articles residing in personal libraries and nonpublisher websites. Among the findings, Mendeley libraries contained many retracted articles, and Davis concluded that this decentralized access without automated status updates “may come with the cost of promoting incorrect, invalid, or untrustworthy science.”3

RIEGELMAN, Amy; BAKKER, Caitlin. Understanding the complexities of retractions: Recommended resources.College & Research Libraries News, [S.l.], v. 79, n. 1, p. 38. ISSN 2150-6698. Available at: <>. doi:
Publisher (Open Access):

It’s official: When journals behave badly, there could be some punishment – Retraction Watch (Alison McCook | December 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on February 17, 2018

Here at Retraction Watch, we constantly receive emails from readers who are frustrated with a particular journal — perhaps it has ignored obvious problems in a published paper, performed only a cursory peer review, or takes months (or years) to take action on a problematic article. Many whistleblowers bring their concerns to the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), which provides guidelines for best practices in publishing. But sometimes, those same whistleblowers complain to us that there aren’t adequate punishments for journals that ignore allegations or maintain improper practices — and COPE, though an important standard-bearer for the industry, lacks teeth. Did you know COPE can revoke a journal’s membership if it doesn’t uphold the organization’s ethical standards? This has always been possible, and a recently released COPE statement about its sanctions policy has tried to clarify its position. We spoke with COPE co-chairs Geri Pearson and Chris Graf about this and other recently announced changes.

Retraction Watch: Why did you change “Code of Conduct” to “Core Practices?”

Geri Pearson and Chris Graf: COPE’s remit is to support and advise editors of scholarly journals and publishers/owners. The Core Practices include the core tenets of the Code of Conduct, but have been simplified and better reflect current practice. Additionally, the new framework will make it easier for members and the wider community to find COPE’s continuously updated resources as new issues arise.

Read the rest of this interview

Why scientists need to do more about research fraud – The Guardian (Richard P Grant | January 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on February 14, 2018

Scientific misconduct is more than just an academic problem – it has repercussions for real people

About 10 years ago, in my lab rat days, I moved to a large structural biology lab. As a cell biologist I had a different skillset to my new colleagues, and my new boss asked to me tackle a problem that had been eluding the rest of the lab. This was to replicate the result of an experiment performed by our cell-biological collaborators across the road.

A great story and, while often said, bears repeating

I approached the challenge with the enthusiasm of a new starter. I was soon able to show results proving I had the system up and running, with positive and negative controls all doing the right thing.
But trying it for real, I just as quickly got stuck. I repeated the experiment countless times over the coming months, varying this and that parameter and trying different cell lines and farting around with different sequences, and never once managed to achieve the intended result.

Read the rest of this discussion piece

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