Original Article

Continued Visibility of COVID-19 Article Removals

Authors: Christopher J. Peterson, MS, Caleb Anderson, BS, Kenneth Nugent, MD

Abstract

Objective: The coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic has produced an unprecedented amount of scientific research as well as a high number of article retractions. Social and news media have been used to disseminate scientific research, and this can include retracted or withdrawn research. This risks the persistence of low-quality research and may contribute to controversial ideas or conspiracy theories.

Methods: We examined 34 retracted or withdrawn coronavirus disease 2019 articles using alternative metrics.

Results: These articles continued to receive social and news media mentions up to 180 days postremoval, although most mentions occurred within 30 days postremoval. Articles available on preprint servers accounted for 45.5% of total mentions.

Conclusions: A significant, positive correlation was observed among Scimago Journal Rank, Immediacy Index, and Journal Citation Index, and total article mentions.
Posted in: Infectious Disease84

Full Article

Having trouble viewing the article content below? Click here to open it directly.

Images

Table 1. Total alternative metric mentions for retracted articles

Download Image

Table 2. Mean alternative metric mentions for retracted articles

Download Image

Table 3. Percentage of total alternative metric mentions per time period for retracted articles

Download Image

References

1. Callaway E. Will the pandemic permanently alter scientific publishing? Nature 2020;582:167–168.
 
2. Bagdasarian N, Cross GB, Fisher D. Rapid publications risk the integrity of science in the era of COVID-19. BMC Med 2020;18:192.
 
3. Palayew A, Norgaard O, Safreed-Harmon K, et al. Pandemic publishing poses a new COVID-19 challenge. Nat Hum Behav 2020;4:666–669.
 
4. Fraser N, Brierley L, Dey G, et al. The evolving role of preprints in the dissemination of COVID-19 research and their impact on the science communication landscape. PLOS Biol 2021;19:e3000959.
 
5. Bramstedt KA. The carnage of substandard research during the COVID-19 pandemic: a call for quality. J Med Ethics 2020;46:803–807.
 
6. Yeo-Teh NSL, Tang BL. An alarming retraction rate for scientific publications on coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Account Res 2021;28:47–53.
 
7. Khatter A, Naughton M, Dambha-Miller H, et al. Is rapid scientific publication also high quality? Bibliometric analysis of highly disseminated COVID-19 research papers. Learn Publ 2021. DOI: 10.1002/leap.1403.
 
8. Anderson C, Nugent K, Peterson C. Academic journal retractions and the COVID19 pandemic. J Prim Care Community Health 2021;12:21501327211015592.
 
9. Trueger NS, Thoma B, Hsu CH, et al. The Altmetric score: a new measure for article-level dissemination and impact. Ann Emerg Med 2015;66:549–553.
 
10. Melero R. Altmetrics—a complement to conventional metrics. Biochem Med (Zagreb) 2015;25:152–160.
 
11. Peterson CJ, Anderson C, Nugent K. Alternative publication metrics in the time of COVID-19. Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent) 2021;35:43–45.
 
12. Steen RG, Casadevall A, Fang FC. Why has the number of scientific retractions increased? PLoS One 2013;8:e68397.
 
13. Serghiou S, Marton RM, Ioannidis JPA. Media and social media attention to retracted articles according to Altmetric. PLoS One 2021;16:e0248625.
 
14. West JD, Bergstrom CT. Misinformation in and about science. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2021;118:e1912444117.
 
15. Fioranelli M, Sepehri A, Roccia MG, et al. RETRACTED: 5G technology and induction of coronavirus in skin cells. J Biol Regul Homeost Agents 2020;34. DOI: 10.23812/20-269-E-4R.
 
16. Allington D, Duffy B, Wessely S, et al. Health-protective behaviour, social media usage and conspiracy belief during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Psychol Med 2021;51:1763–1769.
 
17. Romer D, Jamieson KH. Patterns of media use, strength of belief in COVID19 conspiracy theories, and the prevention of COVID-19 from March to July 2020 in the United States: survey study. J Med Internet Res 2021;23:e25215.
 
18. Islam MS, Kamal A-HM, Kabir A, et al. COVID-19 vaccine rumors and conspiracy theories: the need for cognitive inoculation against misinformation to improve vaccine adherence. PLoS One 2021;16:e0251605.
 
19. Bierwiaczonek K, Kunst JR, Pich O. Belief in COVID-19 conspiracy theories reduces social distancing over time. Appl Psychol Health Well Being 2020;12: 1270–1285.
 
20. Jan R, Zainab T. The impact story of retracted articles Altmetric it! Paper presented at 5th International Symposium on Emerging Trends and Technologies in Libraries and Information Services (ETTLIS); New Dehli; February 21–23, 2018.