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Retractions

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  • Pierre Azoulay
  • Jeffrey L. Furman
  • Joshua L. Krieger
  • Fiona E. Murray
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    Abstract

    To what extent does “false science” impact the rate and direction of scientific change? We examine the impact of more than 1,100 scientific retractions on the citation trajectories of articles that are related to retracted papers in intellectual space but were published prior to the retraction event. Our results indicate that following retraction and relative to carefully selected controls, related articles experience a lasting five to ten percent decline in the rate of citations received. This citation penalty is more severe when the associated retracted article involves fraud or misconduct, relative to cases where the retraction occurs because of honest mistakes. In addition, we find that the arrival rate of new articles and funding flows into these fields decrease after a retraction. We probe the mechanisms that might underlie these negative spillovers. The evidence is consistent with the view that scientists avoid retraction-afflicted fields lest their own reputation suffer through mere association, but we cannot rule out the possibility that our estimates also reflect scientists’ learning about these fields’ shaky intellectual foundations.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18499.

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    Date of creation: Oct 2012
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    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18499

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    References

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    1. Levin, Sharon G & Stephan, Paula E, 1991. "Research Productivity over the Life Cycle: Evidence for Academic Scientists," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 114-32, March.
    2. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2002. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," NBER Working Papers 8841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    7. Hausman, Jerry & Hall, Bronwyn H & Griliches, Zvi, 1984. "Econometric Models for Count Data with an Application to the Patents-R&D Relationship," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(4), pages 909-38, July.
    8. Jeffrey L. Furman & Scott Stern, 2011. "Climbing atop the Shoulders of Giants: The Impact of Institutions on Cumulative Research," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 1933-63, August.
    9. Kirk B. Doran & George J. Borjas, 2012. "Cognitive Mobility - Labor Market Responses to Supply Shocks in the Space of Ideas," Working Papers 019, University of Notre Dame, Department of Economics, revised Nov 2012.
    10. Ginger Zhe Jin & Benjamin Jones & Susan Feng Lu & Brian Uzzi, 2013. "The Reverse Matthew Effect: Catastrophe and Consequence in Scientific Teams," NBER Working Papers 19489, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Waverly W. Ding & Sharon G. Levin & Paula E. Stephan & Anne E. Winkler, 2009. "The Impact of Information Technology on Scientists' Productivity, Quality and Collaboration Patterns," NBER Working Papers 15285, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Furman, Jeffrey L. & Jensen, Kyle & Murray, Fiona, 2012. "Governing knowledge in the scientific community: Exploring the role of retractions in biomedicine," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 276-290.
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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. The Economics of Retractions
      by René Böheim in Econ Tidbits on 2012-11-19 21:06:00

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