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Retractions covered by Retraction Watch in the 2013–2015 period: prevalence for the most productive countries


  • M. D. Ribeiro

    (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro)

  • S. M. R. Vasconcelos

    () (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro)


The research output of countries is among the indicators that help us understand the dynamics of science. Increasingly, these dynamics have been marked by changes in scientific communication. Researchers’ attitudes toward open science, alternative models of publication and toward originality are among the elements shaping the current scientific landscape. This changing panorama reflects on the attitude of authors, editors and publishers toward the correction of the literature, a practice that is encountered to different extents in different fields. This practice may suggest, among several issues, commitment of the scientific community to boosting the reliability of the research record. Would the research output of countries have any association with this panorama? We analyzed 1623 retractions issued in 2013–2015 and discussed in Retraction Watch (RW), . These retractions account for a considerable fraction of the total of retraction notices in PubMed in the same period. They were categorized by reason, field and country (that of the corresponding author). These retractions were distributed among 71 countries, with 15 countries accounting for a major share (85%)—most of those with the largest number of publications in the Scimago Journal & Country Rank (SJR). However, there is no consistent pattern for the relationship between ranking in SJR and ranking in number of retractions across countries in our RW dataset, which is skewed mostly by the fact that the RW website tends to post newsworthy retractions, with a bias toward biomedical and clinical sciences. This caveat notwithstanding, the prevalence of the most productive countries in our dataset of retractions is worth noting. Gradually, retractions have been permeating the dynamics of research productivity in many countries but, so far, there is limited knowledge of this interaction. We believe it should be further explored.

Suggested Citation

  • M. D. Ribeiro & S. M. R. Vasconcelos, 2018. "Retractions covered by Retraction Watch in the 2013–2015 period: prevalence for the most productive countries," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 114(2), pages 719-734, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:scient:v:114:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s11192-017-2621-6
    DOI: 10.1007/s11192-017-2621-6

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Aparna Basu, 2006. "Using ISI's 'Highly Cited Researchers' to obtain a country level indicator of citation excellence," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 68(3), pages 361-375, September.
    2. Azoulay, Pierre & Bonatti, Alessandro & Krieger, Joshua L., 2017. "The career effects of scandal: Evidence from scientific retractions," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(9), pages 1552-1569.
    3. repec:sae:envira:v:35:y:2003:i:5:p:761-765 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Dag W. Aksnes & Gunnar Sivertsen, 2004. "The effect of highly cited papers on national citation indicators," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 59(2), pages 213-224, February.
    5. Wolfgang Glänzel & Raphael Beck & Katrin Milzow & Stig Slipersæter & Gábor Tóth & Michał Kołodziejski & Pei-Shan Chi, 2016. "Data collection and use in research funding and performing organisations. General outlines and first results of a project launched by Science Europe," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 106(2), pages 825-835, February.
    6. Tianwei He, 2013. "Retraction of global scientific publications from 2001 to 2010," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 96(2), pages 555-561, August.
    7. Minghua Zhang & Michael L. Grieneisen, 2013. "The impact of misconduct on the published medical and non-medical literature, and the news media," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 96(2), pages 573-587, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bakthavachalam Elango & Marcin Kozak & Periyaswamy Rajendran, 2019. "Analysis of retractions in Indian science," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 119(2), pages 1081-1094, May.


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