The top retractions of 2010

This is a bit of a pessimistic list, but here are the top science/scientist retractions in 2010. This reminds me of a pretty interesting New Yorker article I just read on the difficulty in reproducing scientific results. The lingering feeling after reading that article is that we need better statistics than just blindly applying chi-square tests and blah blah blah.

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5 thoughts on “The top retractions of 2010

  1. I’m not sure those really call for better statistics – an awful lot of them seem to involve falsified data. And Marc Hauser’s (sad to see him on that list) work sounds like either flat-out falsification or else not-very-well-trained, overzealous coders that were marking just about anything as a reaction. Or maybe his team has just been working too closely with the monkeys and thinks they’re seeing reactions when they’re not.

    • I meant the New Yorker article more than the top 10 list, actually. In those there was less falsification and more diminishing effect size due to things like bias in publication towards studies that show large effects…

  2. It’s sad they villify Amy Wagers for the suspect work of one postdoc (the first author of the two papers in question). Wagers is the one who alerted the journals (as well as the schools who were courting the postdoc for a PI position) when others in her lab couldn’t reproduce the postdoc’s results. They are big stem cell papers.

    • What I got out of that list is that most of the retractions were people honestly fessing up to something that had gone wrong. I thought they were going to be mean (villifying) but was pleasantly surprised. Maybe it’s just that I went into the article with different expectations, though.

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