A systematic review of retracted publications in emergency medicine

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The objective of this study was to characterize retracted publications in emergency medicine.


We searched MEDLINE, Web of Science and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials to identify all retracted publications in the field of emergency medicine. We also searched an independent website that reports and archives retracted scientific publications. Two researchers independently screened titles, abstracts and full text of search results. Data from all included studies were then independently extracted.


We identified 28 retraction notes. Eleven (39%) articles were published by authors from Europe. The oldest retracted article was published in 2001. The 28 retracted papers were published by 22 different journals. Two authors were named on multiples retractions. The median impact factor of journals was 1.03 (0.6–1.9). Almost all studies were available online [26/28 (93%)], but only 40% had watermarking on the article. The retraction notification was available for all articles. Three (11%) retraction notices did not clearly report the retraction reasons, and most retraction notices were issued by the editors [14 (56%)]. The most frequent retraction reasons were plagiarism [eight (29%)], duplicate publication [three (11%)] and overlap [two (2%)]. Retracted articles were cited on average 14 times. In most cases, the retraction cause did not invalidate the study’s results [17 (60%)].


The most common reason for retraction was related to a misconduct by the authors. These results can question the necessity to normalize retraction procedures among the large number of biomedical editors and to educate future researchers on research integrity.

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