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'Retraction Watch' keeps science press honest

Retraction Watch is a website dedicated to tracking retractions made by scientific journals with the intention to offer "a window into the scientific process."
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Written by Andrew Nusca, Former editor on

In a way, science is the pursuit of truth. So why not ensure that what's written about science remains accurate?

Enter Retraction Watch, a website dedicated to tracking retractions made by scientific journals with the intention to offer "a window into the scientific process."

The year-old site is the product of Reuters Health editor Ivan Oransky and Anesthesiology News editor Adam Marcus, and is an interesting and sobering look into the fact that successful science often terminates in dead ends. (And unsuccessful science, plagiarism and negligence.)

Consider a recent smattering of headlines:

  • Publisher error handling two eye papers leads to retractions, new policy on notices
  • Dutch university investigating psych researcher Stapel for data fraud
  • Anil Potti failed to disclose corporate ties in yet-to-be-retracted JAMA papers
  • Science genetics paper retracted after “unfortunate mistake”
  • Montreal Heart Institute researcher dismissed following two retractions for image manipulation

Of course, the average person doesn't subscribe to niche scientific journals -- but the findings of such research quickly make their way into the mainstream via sites like this one, making the inadvertent spread of misinformation difficult to control.

In a world where there's more news than ever to sift through, it's good to have a watchdog like this.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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