Despite the fact that research fraud and misconduct are under scrutiny in the field of orthopaedic research, little systematic work has been done to uncover and characterise the underlying reasons for academic retractions in this field. The purpose of this study was to determine the rate of retractions and identify the reasons for retracted publications in the orthopaedic literature.
Two reviewers independently searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library (1995 to current) using MeSH keyword headings and the ‘retracted’ filter. We also searched an independent website that reports and archives retracted scientific publications ( www.retractionwatch.com ). Two reviewers independently extracted data including reason for retraction, study type, journal impact factor, and country of origin.
One hundred and ten retracted studies were included for data extraction. The retracted studies were published in journals with impact factors ranging from 0.000 (discontinued journals) to 13.262. In the 20-year search window, only 25 papers were retracted in the first ten years, with the remaining 85 papers retracted in the most recent decade. The most common reasons for retraction were fraudulent data (29), plagiarism (25) and duplicate publication (20). Retracted articles have been cited up to 165 times (median 6; interquartile range 2 to 19).
The rate of retractions in the orthopaedic literature is increasing, with the majority of retractions attributed to academic misconduct and fraud. Orthopaedic retractions originate from numerous journals and countries, indicating that misconduct issues are widespread. The results of this study highlight the need to address academic integrity when training the next generation of orthopaedic investigators. Cite this article: J. Yan, A. MacDonald, L-P. Baisi, N. Evaniew, M. Bhandari, M. Ghert. Retractions in orthopaedic research: A systematic review. Bone Joint Res 2016;5:263–268. DOI: 10.1302/2046-3758.56.BJR-2016-0047.