Retraction Watch

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Retraction Watch is a blog that reports on retractions of scientific papers and on related topics.[1] The blog was launched in August 2010[2] and is produced by science writers Ivan Oransky (Vice President and Global Editorial Director of MedPage Today)[3] and Adam Marcus (editor of Gastroenterology & Endoscopy News).[4]


Oransky and Marcus were motivated to launch the blog to increase the transparency of the retraction process.[5] They observed that retractions of papers generally are not announced, and the reasons for retractions are not publicized.[5] One result is that other researchers or the public who are unaware of the retraction may make decisions based on invalid results. Oransky describes an example of a paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that reported that a certain molecule could cause some types of breast cancers to respond to a drug that would otherwise be ineffective. Although the paper was retracted, its retraction was not reported in the media outlets that had reported on its conclusions, and before it was retracted a company had been established to make use of the reported discovery.[6]

The blog argues that retractions provide a window into the self-correcting nature of science, and can provide insight into cases of scientific fraud.[7] Its operators say that as science journalists, they have "found retractions to be the source of great stories that say a lot about how science is conducted."[6]


Retraction Watch has demonstrated that retractions are more common than was previously thought.[6] When Retraction Watch was launched, Marcus "wondered if we'd have enough material".[8] It had been estimated that about 80 papers were retracted annually.[6] However, in its first year, the blog reported on approximately 200 retractions.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Strauss, Stephen (April 7, 2011). "Searching for truth in published research". CBC News. Retrieved October 25, 2011.
  2. ^ Collier R (2011). "Shedding light on retractions". CMAJ. 183 (7): E385–6. doi:10.1503/cmaj.109-3827. PMC 3080553. PMID 21444620.
  3. ^ Ivan Oransky Bio on Retraction Watch Retrieved Feb 5, 2015.
  4. ^ Adam Marcus Bio on Retraction Watch Retrieved Feb 5, 2015.
  5. ^ a b Silverman, Craig (August 9, 2010). "Retraction Action". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved October 25, 2011.
  6. ^ a b c d Kelly Oakes, Helping journalists track retractions: one year of Retraction Watch, Association of British Science Writers, 20 August 2011
  7. ^ Oransky, Ivan; Adam Marcus (August 3, 2010). "Why write a blog about retractions?". Retraction Watch. Retrieved October 25, 2011.
  8. ^ Wade, Nicholas (October 14, 2010). "3 Harvard Researchers Retract a Claim on the Aging of Stem Cells". New York Times. Retrieved October 25, 2011.
  9. ^ "Making science transparent". Ottawa Citizen. August 12, 2011. Retrieved October 25, 2011.

External links[edit]