In 2015, cancer researcher Anil Potti – back then associated with Duke University in Durham, North Carolina – was found guilty of research misconduct by a US federal investigation led by the office for research integrity of the Department of health and human services. “The findings bring to a close one of the most egregious U.S. scientific misconduct cases in recent years” wrote Science magazine.
It is easy to forget, but there is a positive side to retractions: The weeding out of frauds, cheats and even honest mistakes, the body of scientific evidence is corrected, clinical practice improved and patient lives made safer.
Now, Retraction Watch is much more that a blog launched and updated as a past-time: it has become a freely available, comprehensive database including nearly 21,000 retractions, “compared to just over half that on sites like Scopus” Oransky says. “Nothing like this exists because no one has been cataloguing retractions so effectively”.