Post retraction citations in context: a case study

Judit Bar-Ilan, Gali Halevi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations
25 Downloads (Pure)


This study examines the nature of citations to articles that were retracted in 2014. Out of 987 retracted articles found in ScienceDirect, an Elsevier full text database, we selected all articles that received more than 10 citations between January 2015 and March 2016. Since the retraction year was known for only about 83% of the retracted articles, we chose to concentrate on recent citations, that for certain appeared after the cited paper was retracted. Overall, we analyzed 238 citing documents and identified the context of each citation as positive, negative or neutral. Our results show that the vast majority of citations to retracted articles are positive despite of the clear retraction notice on the publisher’s platform and regardless of the reason for retraction. Positive citations can be also seen to articles that were retracted due to ethical misconduct, data fabrication and false reports. In light of these results, we listed some recommendations for publishers that could potentially minimize the referral to retracted studies as valid.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)547-565
Number of pages19
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, The Author(s).


  • Negative citations
  • Neutral citation
  • Positive citations
  • Post retraction citations
  • Retracted articles


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