Bad science: Notable studies retracted in 2015

For CBSNEWS, Christopher Wanjek reports on the 5 most notable scientific studies that were retracted in 2015.


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Or maybe it just seems that way when you’re reading through the retraction notices that scientific journals are posting with greater and greater frequency. There has been a 10-fold increase in the percentage of scientific papers retracted because of fraud since 1975, according to a study published in 2012 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Among the more than 2,000 retracted life science papers that researchers reviewed in this study, only about 20 percent were retracted because of honest errors. A whopping 70 percent were pulled as a result of scientific misconduct – that is, lying, cheating and/or stealing.

A retraction implies that the paper is flawed, that it should never have been published and that the presented results shouldn’t be considered trustworthy. Unfortunately, while you can scrub a paper from a journal, you can’t always erase it from public consciousness. One of the most notorious papers that has been retracted is the fraudulent 1998 study by Andrew Wakefield proposing that the MMR vaccine might cause autism.

Read the rest of Wanjek’s interesting and insightful piece at CBSNEWS.