Background: Increasing awareness of scientific misconduct has prompted various fields of medicine, including orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, and dentistry to characterize the reasons for article retraction. The purpose of this review was to evaluate the reasons for and the rate of article retraction in the field of anesthesia within the last 30 years. Methods: Based on a reproducible search strategy, two independent reviewers searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Retraction Watch website to identify retracted anesthesiology articles. Extracted data included: author names, year of publication, year of the retracted article, journal name, journal five-year impact factor, research type (clinical, basic science, or review), reason for article retraction, number of citations, and presence of a watermark indicating article retraction. Results: Three hundred and fifty articles were included for data extraction. Reasons for article retraction could be grouped into six broad categories. The most common reason for retraction was fraud (data fabrication or manipulation), which accounted for nearly half (49.4%) of all retractions, followed by lack of appropriate ethical approval (28%). Other reasons for retraction included publication issues (e.g., duplicate publications), plagiarism, and studies with methodologic or other non-fraud data issues. Four authors were associated with most of the retracted articles (59%). The majority (69%) of publications utilized a watermark on the original article to indicate that the article was retracted. Journal Citation Reports journal impact factors ranged from 0.9 to 48.1 (median [interquartile range (IQR)], 3.6 [2.5–4.0]), and the most cited article was referenced 197 times (median [IQR], 13 [5–26]). Most retracted articles (66%) were cited at least once by other journal articles after having been withdrawn. Conclusions: Most retracted articles in anesthesiology literature were retracted because of research misconduct. Limited information is available in the retraction notices, unless explicitly stated, so it is challenging to distinguish between an honest error and research misconduct. Therefore, a standardized reporting process with structured retraction notices is desired.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine