Science and Engineering Ethics

, Volume 24, Issue 5, pp 1409–1420 | Cite as

Lack of Improvement in Scientific Integrity: An Analysis of WoS Retractions by Chinese Researchers (1997–2016)

  • Lei LeiEmail author
  • Ying Zhang
Original Paper


This study investigated the status quo of article retractions by Chinese researchers. The bibliometric information of 834 retractions from the Web of Science SCI-expanded database were downloaded and analysed. The results showed that the number of retractions increased in the past two decades, and misconduct such as plagiarism, fraud, and faked peer review explained approximately three quarters of the retractions. Meanwhile, a large proportion of the retractions seemed typical of deliberate fraud, which might be evidenced by retractions authored by repeat offenders of data fraud and those due to faked peer review. In addition, a majority of Chinese fraudulent authors seemed to aim their articles which contained a possible misconduct at low-impact journals, regardless of the types of misconduct. The system of scientific evaluation, the “publish or perish” pressure Chinese researchers are facing, and the relatively low costs of scientific integrity may be responsible for the scientific integrity. We suggested more integrity education and severe sanctions for the policy-makers, as well as change in the peer review system and transparent retraction notices for journal administrators.


Scientific integrity Article retractions Misconduct Fraud Chinese researchers 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Foreign LanguagesHuazhong University of Science and TechnologyWuhanChina

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