Retractions

63 Pages Posted: 27 Oct 2012 Last revised: 16 Oct 2014

See all articles by Pierre Azoulay

Pierre Azoulay

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Jeffrey L. Furman

Boston University - Department of Strategy & Policy; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Joshua Krieger

Harvard University - Business School (HBS)

Fiona Murray

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Entrepreneurship Center

Date Written: October 2012

Abstract

To what extent does "false science" impact the rate and direction of scientific change? We examine the impact of more than 1,100 scientific retractions on the citation trajectories of articles that are related to retracted papers in intellectual space but were published prior to the retraction event. Our results indicate that following retraction and relative to carefully selected controls, related articles experience a lasting five to ten percent decline in the rate of citations received. This citation penalty is more severe when the associated retracted article involves fraud or misconduct, relative to cases where the retraction occurs because of honest mistakes. In addition, we find that the arrival rate of new articles and funding flows into these fields decrease after a retraction. We probe the mechanisms that might underlie these negative spillovers. The evidence is consistent with the view that scientists avoid retraction-afflicted fields lest their own reputation suffer through mere association, but we cannot rule out the possibility that our estimates also reflect scientists' learning about these fields' shaky intellectual foundations.

Suggested Citation

Azoulay, Pierre and Furman, Jeffrey L. and Krieger, Joshua and Murray, Fiona E., Retractions (October 2012). NBER Working Paper No. w18499. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2167602

Pierre Azoulay (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

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E62-416
Cambridge, MA 02142
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HOME PAGE: http://scripts.mit.edu/~pazoulay/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Jeffrey L. Furman

Boston University - Department of Strategy & Policy ( email )

595 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Joshua Krieger

Harvard University - Business School (HBS) ( email )

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Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States
617-495-5864 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/profile.aspx?facid=951435

Fiona E. Murray

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Entrepreneurship Center ( email )

United States

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