Journalists to Catalog Retractions

Staff of the blog Retraction Watch will create a database of papers retracted from the scientific literature.

Dec 16, 2014
Kerry Grens

WIKIMEDIA, NIKLAS BILDHAUERThanks to a grant from the MacArthur Foundation, co-founders of the Retraction Watch blog, Adam Marcus and Ivan Oransky, along with their colleagues are creating a database of journal retractions. “The goal of the grant—$200,000 per year for two years—is to create a comprehensive and freely available database of retractions, something that doesn’t now exist,” Oransky announced on the blog.

The Retraction Watch team claims to already catalog two-thirds of retractions as they occur; “we’ll need more resources to be comprehensive.” 

According to Bio-IT World, Retraction Watch “has been a beloved resource in the scientific community, focused on retractions in the literature. From the beginning, Retraction Watch has tried to dig past the brief and sometimes opaque notices of retraction published by journals, contacting authors and editors to get the real scoop on why retractions have occurred.”

Having a searchable database of retractions could help scientists in preparing manuscripts or even experiments, but as the Covering Health blog noted, “it certainly sounds like it will be a useful tool for reporters to check the credibility of studies or sources they are using.”

Oransky was an editor at The Scientist from 2002 to 2008.