The Retraction Penalty: Evidence from the Web of Science

45 Pages Posted: 1 Dec 2013

See all articles by Susan F. Lu

Susan F. Lu

Purdue University - Krannert School of Management

Ginger Zhe Jin

University of Maryland - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Brian Uzzi

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management

Benjamin F. Jones

Northwestern University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Abstract

Scientific articles are retracted at increasing rates, with the highest rates among top journals. Here we show that a single retraction triggers citation losses through an author’s prior body of work. Compared to closely-matched control papers, citations fall by an average of 6.9% per year for each prior publication. These chain reactions are sustained on authors’ papers (a) published up to a decade earlier and (b) connected within the authors’ own citation network by up to 4 degrees of separation from the retracted publication. Importantly, however, citation losses among prior work disappear when authors self-report the error. Our analyses and results span the range of scientific disciplines.

Keywords: retraction, self-reporting

JEL Classification: D

Suggested Citation

Lu, Susan Feng and Jin, Ginger Zhe and Uzzi, Brian and Jones, Benjamin F., The Retraction Penalty: Evidence from the Web of Science. Simon School Working Paper No. FR 13-30. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2361984

Susan Feng Lu

Purdue University - Krannert School of Management ( email )

1310 Krannert Building
West Lafayette, IN 47907-1310
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/susanluhome/home

Ginger Zhe Jin

University of Maryland - Department of Economics ( email )

College Park, MD 20742
United States
301-405-3484 (Phone)
301-405-3542 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Brian Uzzi

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

Benjamin F. Jones (Contact Author)

Northwestern University ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States
847-491-3177 (Phone)
847-467-1777 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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