We have shared previously items that have pointed to the serious harm caused by the continued citation and circulation of retracted papers. Journal articles can be retracted for a number of reasons, many can relate to exposed research misconduct. When work is compromised, fraudulent or otherwise dodgy its continued use to inform clinical practice can have serious consequences. We need retractions to be promptly and clearly marked as having been retracted. Subsequent papers must never cite work that has been retracted.
The incorporation of publications that have been retracted is a risk in reliable evidence synthesis. Retraction is an important mechanism for correcting the literature and protecting its integrity. Within the medical literature, the continued citation of retracted publications occurs for a variety of reasons. Recent evidence suggests that systematic reviews and meta-analyses often unwittingly cite retracted publications which, at least in some cases, may significantly impact quantitative effect estimates in meta-analyses. There is strong evidence that authors of systematic reviews and meta-analyses may be unaware of the retracted status of publications and treat them as if they are not retracted. These problems are difficult to address for several reasons: identifying retracted publications is important but logistically challenging; publications may be retracted while a review is in preparation or in press; and problems with a publication may also be discovered after the evidence synthesis is published. We propose a set of concrete actions that stakeholders (e.g., scientists, peer-reviewers, journal editors) might take in the near-term, and that research funders, citation management systems, and databases and search engines might take in the longer term to limit the impact of retracted primary studies on evidence syntheses.
Bakker, C., Boughton, S., Faggion, C., Fanelli, D., Kaiser, K., & Schneider, J. (2022, September 13). Reducing the residue of retractions in evidence synthesis: Ways to minimize inappropriate citation and use of retracted data. https://doi.org/10.31222/osf.io/9we43
Publisher (Creative Commons): https://osf.io/preprints/metaarxiv/9we43/
continued citation of retracted publications, Evidence-Based Practice, evidence synthesis, Information Storage and Retrieval, meta-analyses, Publishing/standards, retracted publications, Retraction of Publication as Topic, systematic reviews, Systematic Reviews as Topic