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Research: Financial costs and personal consequences of research misconduct resulting in retracted publications

  1. Andrew M Stern
  2. Arturo Casadevall
  3. R Grant Steen
  4. Ferric C Fang  Is a corresponding author
  1. University of Pennsylvania, United States
  2. Albert Einstein College of Medicine, United States
  3. MediCC!, Medical Communications Consultants, LLC, United States
  4. University of Washington, United States
Feature Article
Cite this article as: eLife 2014;3:e02956 doi: 10.7554/eLife.02956
3 figures

Figures

Financial costs attributable to research retracted due to misconduct.

(A) Summary of statistics for articles retracted due to research misconduct between 1992 and 2012. ‘NIH-Funded Only’ refers to articles that exclusively cited NIH funding sources and for which all supporting grants were retrievable from NIH databases. The complete dataset is available in Figure 1—source data 1. (B) Histogram depicting the distribution of articles by their individual attributable cost for 149 articles for which at least some NIH funding was cited and retrievable from NIH databases. (C) Correlation of attributable cost with impact factor. For articles published during or after 1999, the impact factor for the year of publication was used. For articles published before 1999, the 1999 impact factor was used.

https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.02956.002
Figure 1—source data 1

Articles retracted due to research misconduct between 1992 and 2012, and their funding sources.

https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.02956.003
Effect of Office of Research Integrity misconduct findings on research productivity.

The productivity of principal investigators found to have committed misconduct by the ORI was evaluated by a PubMed search by author name and institution for 3-year (A and B) and 6-year (C and D) intervals prior to and following the release of the ORI report, excluding the actual year of the ORI report. Represented are authors with at least one publication in the 3- or 6-year intervals before the ORI report which in both cases totaled 44. (A and C) Percent change in publications following the ORI report. Most of these authors experienced a large negative change, although some experienced a positive change, primarily those who did not falsify or fabricate data. (B and D) Absolute number of publications during 3-year (B) and 6-year (D) intervals before and after the ORI report. Each dot represents a single investigator before and after the ORI report. Dotted line indicates the median before the ORI report; in both cases the median was zero after the ORI report. (E) Productivity of PIs before and after ORI findings of misconduct was analyzed using the Web of Knowledge Author Search. This includes all publications by that author before the ORI finding compared to the interval between the ORI finding and 2012, excluding the actual year of the ORI report.

https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.02956.004
Effect of Office of Research Integrity misconduct findings on funding.

The ExPORTER database was searched for PIs found to have committed misconduct by the ORI, and their funding totals by year were aligned with respect to the year of citation by the ORI. This was performed for ORI reports published between 1997 and 2007. Shown are median (A) and total (B) funding by the NIH to PIs found by the ORI to have committed misconduct, with respect to the year of the ORI report. The complete dataset is available in Figure 3—source data 1.

https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.02956.005
Figure 3—source data 1

PIs found by the ORI to have committed misconduct between 1992 and 2012, and their NIH funding support.

https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.02956.006

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