Because researchers need to know about retracted papers

What is RetractoBot?

RetractoBot automatically emails authors, when papers they have cited are retracted. It is currently being used in a randomised controlled trial research project from the Bennett Institute for Applied Data Science at the University of Oxford.

Why does it matter?

Papers are typically retracted as a result of error or fraud, but retracted papers sometimes continue to be cited as if the research was still valid. Currently researchers who have cited a paper that was later retracted have no way of learning about the retraction, unless they happen to see the retraction notice. This project aims to improve the visibility of retraction notices.

Aren’t there already services like this?

There are tools to help authors spot retracted papers in their citations during writing and at the point of submission, but research suggests that plenty of retracted papers are still cited as if they are valid (e.g. Pfeifer and Snodgrass 1990, Korpela 2010, Neale, Dailey, and Abrams 2010). As far as we know, there are no other projects that actively alert authors to retractions of papers they’ve previously cited.

Where do you get citation data?

There is no freely and openly accessible database of all citations. Elsevier have kindly given us access to their citations database in Scopus to help run the project. The RetractoBot currently knows about more than 20,000 retracted papers; and over 400,000 papers that cite those retracted papers.

A paper I cited has been retracted - what should I do?

RetractionWatch has written an article about that.

Can I see your data?

We’ll be publishing it with our paper on the project. If you’re interested in how we built the software, our code is available.

I’ve got a question that’s not answered here.

We welcome all feedback and questions. Get in touch: [email protected].