The continued citation of retracted publications in dentistry




Retraction of Publication as Topic, Ethics, Research, Dentistry, Evidence-Based Dentistry, Publishing


Objective: Publications are retracted for many reasons, but the continued use and citation of retracted publications presents a problem for future research. This study investigated retractions in the dental literature to understand the characteristics of retracted publications, the reasons for their retractions, and the nature and context of their citations after retraction.

Methods: In September 2018, the authors identified retracted dentistry publications using the Retraction Watch database. Citations to those publications were retrieved from Scopus and Web of Science. Characteristics of retracted publications and their citations were collected, including study design, reasons for retraction, and nature of citation (positive, negative, or neutral). We used chi-square tests to determine if there were notable differences between retracted publications that were cited following retraction and those that were not, and if there were relationships between the nature of the citation, the study design of the original publication, and its reason for retraction.

Results: Of the 136 retracted publications, 84 were cited after retraction. When restricted to English language, 81 retracted publications received citations from 685 publications. Only 5.4% of the citations noted the retracted status of the original publication, while 25.3% of citations were neutral and 69.3% were positive. Animal studies were more likely to be uncited after retraction, while in vitro studies and randomized controlled trials were more likely to be cited. Retracted publications that were cited negatively were more likely to have been retracted due to scientific distortion than those that were cited positively or neutrally. Retracted publications that were cited negatively were also more likely to be observational studies than those cited positively or neutrally.

Conclusion: Retracted publications in dentistry are continually cited positively following their retraction, regardless of their study designs or reasons for retraction. This indicates that the continued citation of retracted publications in this field cannot be isolated to certain research methods or misconduct but is, instead, a more widespread issue.


Grieneisen ML, Zhang M. A comprehensive survey of retracted articles from the scholarly literature. PLoS One. 2012;7(10):e44118. DOI:

Bar-Ilan J, Halevi G. Temporal characteristics of retracted articles. Scientometrics. 2018 Sep 14;116(3):1771–83. DOI:

Steen RG. Retractions in the scientific literature: is the incidence of research fraud increasing? J Med Ethics. 2011 Apr;37(4):249–53. DOI:

Steen RG, Casadevall A, Fang FC. Why has the number of scientific retractions increased? PLoS One. 2013 Jul 8;8(7):e68397. DOI:

Stretton S, Bramich NJ, Keys JR, Monk JA, Ely JA, Haley C, Woolley MJ, Woolley KL. Publication misconduct and plagiarism retractions: a systematic, retrospective study. Curr Med Res Opin. 2012 Oct;28(10):1575–83. DOI:

Resnik DB, Wager E, Kissling GE. Retraction policies of top scientific journals ranked by impact factor. J Med Libr Assoc. 2015 Jul;103(3):136–9. DOI:

Wager E, Barbour V, Yentis S, Kleinert S on behalf of COPE Council. Guidelines for retracting articles [Internet]. Hampshire, UK: COPE Council; Sep 2009 [cited 28 Aug 2019]. <>.

Atlas MC. Retraction policies of high-impact biomedical journals. J Med Libr Assoc. 2004 Apr;92(2):242–50.

Cosentino AM, Veríssimo D. Ending the citation of retracted papers. Conserv Biol. 2016 Jun;30(3):676–8. DOI:

Samp JC, Schumock GT, Pickard AS. Retracted publications in the drug literature. Pharmacother J Hum Pharmacol Drug Ther. 2012 Jul;32(7):586–95. DOI:

Wasiak J, Hamilton DG, Foroudi F, Faggion CM. Surveying retracted studies and notices within the field of radiation oncology. Int J Radiat Oncol. 2018 Nov 1;102(3):660–5. DOI:

Bozzo A, Bali K, Evaniew N, Ghert M. Retractions in cancer research: a systematic survey. Res Integr Peer Rev. 2017 May 12;2:5. DOI:

Rosenkrantz AB. Retracted publications within radiology journals. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2016 Feb;206(2):231–5. DOI:

Chauvin A, De Villelongue C, Pateron D, Yordanov Y. A systematic review of retracted publications in emergency medicine. Eur J Emerg Med. 2019 Feb;26(1):19–23. DOI:

King EG, Oransky I, Sachs TE, Farber A, Flynn DB, Abritis A, Kalish JA, Siracuse JJ. Analysis of retracted articles in the surgical literature. Am J Surg. 2018 Nov;216(5):851–5. DOI:

Yan J, MacDonald A, Baisi LP, Evaniew N, Bhandari M, Ghert M. Retractions in orthopaedic research: a systematic review. Bone Joint Res. 2016 Jun;5(6):263–8. DOI:

Faggion CM Jr., Ware RS, Bakas N, Wasiak J. An analysis of retractions of dental publications. J Dent. 2018 Dec;79:19–23. DOI:

Nogueira TE, Gonçalves AS, Leles CR, Batista AC, Costa LR. A survey of retracted articles in dentistry. BMC Res Notes. 2017 Jul;10(1):253. DOI:

McGowan R, Stellrecht E. Retraction tracking: indexing dental article retractions in literature databases. Poster presented at: American Dental Education Association Annual Conference; Chicago, IL; 17 Mar 2019.

Pfeifer MP, Snodgrass GL. The continued use of retracted, invalid scientific literature. JAMA. 1990 Mar 9;263(10):1420–3. DOI:

Budd JM, Sievert M, Schultz TR. Phenomena of retraction: reasons for retraction and citations to the publications. JAMA. 1998 Jul 15;280(3):296–7. DOI:

Budd J, Sievert M, Schultz TR, Scoville C. Effects of article retraction on citation and practice in medicine. Bull Med Libr Assoc. 1999 Oct;87(4):437–43.

Budd, JM, Coble A, Abritis A. An investigation of retracted articles in the biomedical literature. Proc Assoc Inf Sci Technol. 2016:53(1):1–9. DOI:

Garfield E. Can citation indexing be automated? In: Stevens ME, Giuliano VE, Heilprin LB, eds. Statistical association methods for mechanical documentation. Washington, DC: National Bureau of Standards; 1965. p. 84–90.

White HD. Citation analysis and discourse analysis revisited. Appl Linguist. 2004 Mar;25(1):89–116. DOI:

Bakker C, Riegelman A. Retracted publications in mental health literature: discovery across bibliographic platforms. J Librariansh Sch Commun. 2018;6(general issue):eP2199. DOI:

Bar-Ilan J, Halevi G. Post retraction citations in context: a case study. Scientometrics. 2017 Oct 3;113(1):547–65. DOI:

Retraction watch database [Internet]. New York, NY: Center for Scientific Integrity [cited 28 Aug 2019]. <>.

American Dental Association. Center for evidence-based dentistry [Internet]. Chicago, IL: The Association; 2019 [cited 28 Aug 2019]. <>.

R Core Team. The R project for statistical computing [Internet]. Vienna, Austria: R Foundation for Statistical Computing; 2018 [cited 28 Aug 2019]. <>.

Redman BK, Yarandi HN, Merz JF. Empirical developments in retraction. J Med Ethics. 2008 Nov;34(11):807–9. DOI:

Patsopoulos NA, Analatos AA, Ioannidis JPA. Relative citation impact of various study designs in the health sciences. JAMA. 2005 May 18;293(19):2362–6. DOI:

Eaton L. Norwegian researcher admits that his data were faked. BMJ. 2006 Jan 28;332(7535):193. DOI:

Marris E. Doctor admits Lancet study is fiction. Nature. 2006 Jan 19;439(7074):248–9. DOI:

Office of Research Integrity, US Department of Health and Human Services. Case summary: Sudbo, Jon [Internet]. Rockford, MD: The Department [cited 14 Jan 2020]. <>.

Vastag B. Cancer fraud case stuns research community, prompts reflection on peer review process. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2006 Mar 15;98(6):374–6. DOI:

Hamilton DG. Continued citation of retracted radiation oncology literature—do we have a problem? Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2019 Apr 1;103(5):1036–42. DOI:

Davis PM. The persistence of error: a study of retracted articles on the Internet and in personal libraries. J Med Libr Assoc. 2012 Jul;100(3):184–9. DOI:

Hua F, Walsh T, Glenny AM, Worthington H. Surveys on reporting guideline usage in dental journals. J Dent Res. 2016 Oct 21;95(11):1207–13. DOI:

Isham A, Bettiol S, Hoang H, Crocombe L. A systematic literature review of the information-seeking behavior of dentists in developed countries. J Dent Educ. 2016;80(5):569–77.

Himmelstein D. The history of publishing delays [Internet]. Satoshi Village; 2016 [cited 28 Aug 2019]. <>.

Himmelstein D. Publication delays at PLOS and 3,475 other journals [Internet]. Satoshi Village; 2015 [cited 28 Aug 2019]. <>.

Amos KA. The ethics of scholarly publishing: exploring differences in plagiarism and duplicate publication across nations. J Med Libr Assoc. 2014 Apr;102(2):87–91. DOI:

Riegelman A, Bakker CJ. Understanding the complexities of retraction. Coll Res Libr News. 2018;79(1):38. DOI:

Sayre F, Riegelman A. The reproducibility crisis and academic libraries. Coll Res Libr. 2018;79(1):2. DOI:






Original Investigation