The Integrity of the Scientific Literature

Research Misconduct, Retraction, and Cleansing the Medical Literature: Lessons from the Poehlman Case. ‘The scientific literature is a record of the search for truth. Publication of faked data diverts this search. The scientific community has a duty to warn people to ignore an article containing faked data and must try to prevent inadvertent citation of it. The scientific community accomplishes these tasks by publishing a retraction and linking it to the fraudulent article’s citation in electronic indexes of the medical literature, such as PubMed. This mechanism is far from perfect, as shown by a case history of scientific fraud perpetrated by Eric Poehlman, PhD. His institution notified 3 journals that they had published tainted articles. Two journals failed to retract. The third journal retracted immediately, but authors continued to cite the retracted article.’

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