We often hear — with data to back the statement — that top-tier journals, ranked by impact factor, retract more papers than lower-tier journals. For example, when Murat Cokol and colleagues compared journals’ retraction numbers in EMBO Reports in 2007, as Nature noted in its coverage of that study (h/t Richard van Noorden):
"Journals with high impact factors retract more papers, and low-impact journals are more likely not to retract them, the study finds. It also suggests that high- and low-impact journals differ little in detecting flawed articles before they are published."
One thing you notice when you look at Cokol et al’s plots is that although their models seem to take retractions “per capita” — in other words per study published – into account, they don’t report those figures.
Enter a paper published this week in Infection and Immunity (IAI) by Ferric Fang and Arturo Casadevall, “Retracted Science and the Retraction Index.” Fang, the editor of IAI, takes scientific integrity and retractions very seriously. He’s made his thinking on these issues clear every time we’ve asked, and was part of the review of the the Naoki Mori case that led to a 10-year ban on Mori publishing in American Society of Microbiology journals (including IAI). >>>