Abstract

To what extent does “false science” affect the rate and direction of scientific change? We examine the impact of over 1,100 scientific retractions on the citation trajectories of articles that are related to retracted papers in intellectual space but were published prior to the retraction event. Following retraction and relative to carefully selected controls, related articles experience a lasting 5% to 10% decline in the rate of citations received. This penalty is more severe when the retracted article involves fraud or misconduct rather than honest mistakes. In addition, we find that the arrival rate of new articles and funding flows into these fields decrease after a retraction.

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Supplementary data