An analysis of citations to retracted articles in the scientific literature
When a journal article is found to contain significant errors or the experiment cannot be reproduced, it is typically retracted by the journal. Because a retraction statement appears in a subsequent issue of the journal, there is little linkage between the retraction and the retracted article. Being unaware of the retraction, researchers go on to reference retracted articles in their publications, further perpetuating this erroneous work. This study examines citations to retracted papers in the scientific literature and the context of these citations. Citations to 211 articles, published between 1996 and 2000, were analyzed; about 30% of the citations occurred after the articles had been retracted. An in-depth analysis of the context of four selected articles was conducted. Most of the citations were affirmative; only five of the 137 citations were negative. It is concluded that, with electronic publication and in electronic databases, retractions should be more closely linked with the article retracted.
Advisor:Dr. Barbara Wildemuth
School:University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
School Location:USA - North Carolina
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:scientific and technical literature
Date of Publication:04/15/2005