Table 1

Retracted genetics articles (N:1582). Reasons for retraction* and investigation, in 1970−2018

Reasons for retractionN (%) (95% CI)Reasons for retraction†N (%) (95% CI)
Fabrication / falsificationa 377 (23.8) (21.7 to 26.0)Results not reproducible117 (7.4) (6.2 to 8.8)
Plagiarismb 148 (9.4) (8.0 to 10.9)Contaminationg 27 (1.7) (1.1 to 2.5)
Duplicationc 384 (24.3) (22.2 to 26.5)Conflicts of interest13 (0.8) (0.4 to 1.4)
Unreliable informationd 170 (10.7) (9.2 to 12.3)Fake peer review182 (11.5) (10.0 to 13.2)
Authorship issuese 169 (10.7) (9.2 to 12.3)Error by journal/publisher33 (20.9) (1.4 to 2.9)
Investigationf 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: (a) Falsification/fabrication of data, images and of results, and manipulation of results and of images; (b) Euphemism for plagiarism and plagiarism of article, data, images or text; (c) Duplication of article, data, image and of text and euphemism for duplication; (d) Unreliable data, image or results; (e) Breach of policy by author, concerns/Issues about authorship, forged authorship, lack of approval from author, breach of policy by author and objections by author; (f) Investigation by company/institution, journal/publisher, US Office of Research Integrity or by third party; (g) Of cell lines/tissues, materials or reagents.

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

  • †Reasons with less than 50 retracted articles in one or both groups (medical genetics, non−medical genetics)

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