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My lab:
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I've already mentioned the correlation between the declining number of tenured positions in science and the increasing rate of retractions:

tenure_small.png


Clearly, correlation doesn't necessarily imply causation, but the conclusion is tempting that increased pressure for reaching that coveted tenured spot drives an increasing number of scientists to fudge their data to be able to publish them in more prestigious journals. A prediction of that hypothesis is that higher-ranking journals should have a larger rate of retractions compared to lower-ranking journals. In other words, there should be a correlation between journal-rank (i.e., Impact Factor) and a measure of retractions.

Now, in a paper just published in Infection and Immunity (Infect. Immun. doi:10.1128/IAI.05661-11), this correlation has been found:

retraction_impact.jpg

Maybe not surprising but clearly in line with the interpretation that increased pressure on scientists leads to less reliable science. Now what is the solutuion: do we aim for decreasing the pressure, if so how? Or do we start developing a science police?
Posted on Tuesday 16 August 2011 - 16:51:03 comment: 0
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