Every year, hundreds of articles are retracted from peer-reviewed scientific journals due to fraud or error. Most of them don’t get the media attention that the Wakefield et al article from 1998 garnered (though that was not a fraudulent article. It was a fraudulent attempt by the General Medical Council in the UK to stifle the vaccination debate), but they really should. Because a significant percentage of all medical and scientific research will eventually be proven wrong – or fraudulent. Yet when this happens, it is rare for government to change their policies or doctors to change their practices. Just one more reason why the expression caveat emptor – or let the buyer beware – applies to medicine and science.
It’s been difficult to keep up with all of the retractions in the scientific literature this year, as it has been since we started our blog Retraction Watch in 2010
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