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Which research journals cite the most retracted work?

Citations to retracted articles after they have been retracted continue to accumulate in the scientific literature. In some cases, these citations are warranted as they acknowledge and discuss the retraction. For example, a recent citation to the retracted Wakefield paper states:

However, in many cases, citations to retractions continue to accumulate without acknowledgment by the author or publisher, likely because they are unaware the article was retracted. This is problematic as the arguments and evidence that authors are using are no longer reliable, potentially weakening the findings or undermining the validity of the citing paper.

In this post, we share which journals cite retracted studies the most and offer a solution to this problem, with our Reference Check.

The top 100 journals with the most citations to retracted studies

Note: papers can cite a retracted study multiple times so this is not a direct count of articles citing retracted studies.

How do citations like this continue to accumulate and how can we stop it?

Citations to papers post-retraction continue to accumulate for a variety of reasons: 1) readers often read and store PDFs so changes made to the version of record are not easily visible to authors after they’ve already read the paper, 2) retraction notices are often vague or hard to see on the version of record, and 3) until now there has been no easy ways to search/check references systematically.

We are working to solve the problem of citations to retracted studies with the scite Reference Check, which is now live on Manuscript Manager and will be live on other submission systems early next year. Utilizing data from Crossref, Pubmed, and Retraction Watch, we are able to automatically identify and flag references at the submission stage made to retracted studies. In addition to this, we can also surface highly disputed references based on our smart citation data.

If you’re interested in adding the Reference Check to your submission workflow, please send us an email at If you’d like to test the Reference Check on an individual manuscript, you can do so here.



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