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Most Cited Retracted Papers

The folks over at Retraction Watch have put together a list of the most cited retracted articles. A number of these papers continued to accrue citations even after they were pulled, Alison McCook at Retraction Watch adds.

About half the list, she notes, are papers that were retracted this past year, though some oldies, like Andrew Wakefield's 1998 Lancet paper, retracted in 2010, are also present.

Topping the list with 247 citations prior to its retraction and 776 citations after its retraction is a 2005 Science paper from Osaka University's Atsunori Fukuhara and colleagues that reported on a visceral fat protein that seemed to mimic the effects of insulin. It was retracted following an investigation by the school's Committee for Research Integrity that found that not all preparations of their protein bound and activated the insulin receptor.

Also on the list is the 2004 BMC Evolutionary Biology Treefinder paper that the journal editors retracted after one of the authors declined to make the software available to researchers in countries with lenient immigration policies, a move the editors said breached its sharing policy. That paper has been cited 748 times, all prior to its retraction.

McCook adds that one researcher, ETH Zurich's Oliver Voinnet, has two papers on the list, one appearing in Plant Journal and the other in EMBO Journal.