Correction and use of biomedical literature affected by scientific misconduct
The purpose of this study was to identify and describe published research articles that were named in official findings of scientific misconduct and to investigate compliance with the administrative actions contained in these reports for corrections and retractions, as represented in PubMed. Between 1993 and 2001, 102 articles were named in either the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts (“Findings of Scientific Misconduct”) or the U.S. Office of Research Integrity annual reports as needing retraction or correction. In 2002, 98 of the 102 articles were indexed in PubMed. Eighty-five of these 98 articles had indexed corrections: 47 were retracted; 26 had an erratum; 12 had a correction described in the “comment” field. Thirteen had no correction, but 10 were linked to the NIH Guide “Findings of Scientific Misconduct”, leaving only 3 articles with no indication of any sort of problem. As of May 2005, there were 5,393 citations to the 102 articles, with a median of 26 citations per article (range 0–592). Researchers should be alert to “Comments” linked to the NIH Guide as these are open access, and the “Findings of Scientific Misconduct’ reports are often more informative than the statements about the retraction or correction found in the journals.