At Nature, Retraction Watch bloggers Adam Marcus and Ivan Oransky write that the increase in retractions of scientific papers isn't necessarily a bad thing, and that the trend shows instead that journal editors and researchers need to stop treating papers as if they are "sacred." Instead of focusing on an individual paper, the record of scientific study on a particular subject should include other material like media coverage, blog posts, and how many times a paper has been downloaded, Marcus and Oransky write. It's also important that journal editors and researchers embrace the idea of post-publication peer review. "We see many papers retracted now that may not need to be, but they contain some nuances that editors don't know how to handle," Marcus and Oransky write. "In the new system, a fleshed-out addendum, or correction, could suffice if the paper included some of the post-publication discussion." Such a system could, in fact, lead to a decline in retractions, and a rise in the quality of papers published, they add.
Nothing Is Sacred
Dec 23, 2011