Table 1

Retracted genetics articles (N=1582). Reasons for retraction* and investigation, from 1970 to 2018

Reasons for retractionn (%) (95% CI)Reasons for retraction†n (%) (95% CI)
Fabrication/falsification‡377 (23.8) (21.7 to 26.0)Results not reproducible117 (7.4) (6.2 to 8.8)
Plagiarism§148 (9.4) (8.0 to 10.9)Contamination¶27 (1.7) (1.1 to 2.5)
Duplication**384 (24.3) (22.2 to 26.5)Conflicts of interest13 (0.8) (0.4 to 1.4)
Unreliable information††196 (12.4) (10.8 to 14.1)Fake peer review182 (11.5) (10.0 to 13.2)
Authorship issues‡‡159 (10.1) (8.6 to 11.6)Error by journal/publisher33 (20.9) (1.4 to 2.9)
Investigation§§587 (37.1) (34.7 to 39.5)Limited or no information90 (5.7) (4.6 to 6.9)
  • The reasons for retraction and investigation of retracted articles as per the Retraction Watch database’s nomenclature.

  • *Description of all reasons for retraction are provided in online supplementary information−2.

  • †Reasons with <50 retracted articles in one or both groups (medical genetics, non-medical genetics).

  • ‡Falsification/fabrication of data, images and results, and manipulation of results and images.

  • §Euphemism for plagiarism and plagiarism of article, data, images or text.

  • ¶Contamination of cell lines/tissues, materials or reagents.

  • **Duplication of article, data, image and text and euphemism for duplication.

  • ††Unreliable data, image or results.

  • ‡‡Breach of policy by author, concerns/issues about authorship, forged authorship, lack of approval from author, and objections by author.

  • §§Investigation by company/institution, journal/publisher, US Office of Research Integrity or by third party.

  • N, number of retracted articles;n, number of retracted articles because of the specified reason.