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Scientific journals plagued by fraud cases, says new study


A new study says that most retractions in scientific journals are due to fraud and plagiarism.


Loic Venance

Fraud is the main reason for retractions in scientific journals says a new study.

The study found that over two thirds of the journal articles retracted over the last four decades were due to various transgressions rather than simple mistakes.

"We found something that is very disturbing," said study co-author Arturo Casadevall, of New York's Albert Einstein College of Medicine, reported NPR.

"This kind of stuff has the potential to do damage to science. But we need to expose it to clean our own house."

The study looked at 2,047 retractions, said the Los Angeles Times.

Only 21 percent they found retracted were due to mistakes in research.

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They found that 67 percent were due to misconduct by the scientist, which included fraud, plagiarism or falsifying results, said the Associated Press.

The reason behind the other 12 percent of cases in which there was a retraction remains unknown.

Oddly, researchers found that 43 percent of the retractions came from just 38 labs - a tiny number compared to the tens of thousands of labs worldwide.

Bloomberg reported that fraud cases are on the increase. with the number of misconduct cases rising 10-fold since 1975.

The year 2007 was particularly bad for retractions with 83 papers withdrawn out of 867,700, said the news service.

The findings were published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.