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Croat Med J. 2014 Feb;55(1):61-72.

Self-correction in biomedical publications and the scientific impact.

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Armen Yuri Gasparyan, Departments of Rheumatology and Research and Development, Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, Russells Hall Hospital, North Block, Clinical Research Unit, Dudley, West Midlands, DY1 2HQ, United Kingdom,



To analyze mistakes and misconduct in multidisciplinary and specialized biomedical journals.


We conducted searches through PubMed to retrieve errata, duplicate, and retracted publications (as of January 30, 2014). To analyze publication activity and citation profiles of countries, multidisciplinary, and specialized biomedical journals, we referred to the latest data from the SCImago Journal and Country Rank database. Total number of indexed articles and values of the h-index of the fifty most productive countries and multidisciplinary journals were recorded and linked to the number of duplicate and retracted publications in PubMed.


Our analysis found 2597 correction items. A striking increase in the number of corrections appeared in 2013, which is mainly due to 871 (85.3%) corrections from PLOS One. The number of duplicate publications was 1086. Articles frequently published in duplicate were reviews (15.6%), original studies (12.6%), and case reports (7.6%), whereas top three retracted articles were original studies (10.1%), randomized trials (8.8%), and reviews (7%). A strong association existed between the total number of publications across countries and duplicate (rs=0.86, P<0.0001) and retracted items (rs=0.812, P<0.0001). A similar trend was found between country-based h-index values and duplicate and retracted publications.


The study suggests that the intensified self-correction in biomedicine is due to the attention of readers and authors, who spot errors in their hub of evidence-based information. Digitization and open access confound the staggering increase in correction notices and retractions.

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