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date: 18 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The retraction of articles from the scientific literature is a growing phenomenon in scholarly publishing. Retractions, considered the “nuclear option” in scientific self-correction, are becoming more frequent. The number of retractions per year grew by a factor of 10 during the first decade of this century. These events have substantial consequences for scientists, journals, the taxpaying public, and even, in some instances, patients. This chapter provides an overview of the rise in retractions, as well as the reasons for these events and how journals and publishers handle them. Retractions also are placed in the context of a distorted system of merit and productivity in science and academia based on the published paper. Although some observers believe that retractions threaten the integrity of science, the pressure to publish has driven the growth in publications is more corrosive to it as an institution.

Keywords: retractions, integrity, scholarly publishing, scientific literature, self-correction

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