He, T. Scientometrics (2013) 96: 555. doi:10.1007/s11192-012-0906-3
Retraction is a self-cleaning activity done in the global science community. In this study, the retraction of global scientific publications from 2001 to 2010 was quantitatively analyzed by using the Science Citation Index Expanded. The results indicated that the number of retractions increased faster compared to the number of global scientific publications. Three very different patterns of retraction existed in each field. In the multi-disciplinary category and in the life sciences, retraction was relatively active. The impact factor strongly correlated with the number of retractions, but did not significantly correlate with the rate of retraction. Although the increases in the number of publications in China, India, and South Korea were faster, their retraction activities were higher than the worldwide average level.