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Research misconduct in hospitals is spreading: A bibliometric analysis of retracted papers from Chinese university-affiliated hospitals

 y    | 22 sept 2023



The number of retracted papers from Chinese university-affiliated hospitals is increasing, which has raised much concern. The aim of this study is to analyze the retracted papers from university-affiliated hospitals in mainland China from 2000 to 2021.


Data for 1,031 retracted papers were identified from the Web of Science Core collection database. The information of the hospitals involved was obtained from their official websites. We analyzed the chronological changes, journal distribution, discipline distribution and retraction reasons for the retracted papers. The grade and geographic locations of the hospitals involved were explored as well.


We found a rapid increase in the number of retracted papers, while the retraction time interval is decreasing. The main reasons for retraction are plagiarism/self-plagiarism (n=255), invalid data/images/conclusions (n=212), fake peer review (n=175) and honesty error(n=163). The disciplines are mainly distributed in oncology (n=320), pharmacology & pharmacy (n=198) and research & experimental medicine (n=166). About 43.8% of the retracted papers were from hospitals affiliated with prestigious universities.

Research limitations

This study fails to differentiate between retractions due to honest error and retractions due to research misconduct. We believe that there is a fundamental difference between honest error retractions and misconduct retractions. Another limitation is that authors of the retracted papers have not been analyzed in this study.

Practical implications

This study provides a reference for addressing research misconduct in Chinese university-affiliated hospitals. It is our recommendation that universities and hospitals should educate all their staff about the basic norms of research integrity, punish authors of scientific misconduct retracted papers, and reform the unreasonable evaluation system.


Based on the analysis of retracted papers, this study further analyzes the characteristics of institutions of retracted papers, which may deepen the research on retracted papers and provide a new perspective to understand the retraction phenomenon.

Calendario de la edición:
4 veces al año
Temas de la revista:
Computer Sciences, Information Technology, Project Management, Databases and Data Mining