Publish in high "retraction rate journals"….

From Bjorn Brembs via the London School of Economics site, here. Turns out that if you’re encouraged to publish in high impact factor journals, you’re also being encouraged to publish in high retraction rate journals.

Money quote:

This already looks like a much stronger correlation than the one between IF and citations. How do the critical values measure up? The regression is highly significant at p<0.000003, with a coefficient of determination at a whopping 0.77. Thus, at least with the current data, IF indeed seems to be a more reliable predictor of retractions than of actual citations. How can this be, given that the IF is supposed to be a measure of citation rate for each journal? There are many reasons why this argument falls flat, but here are the three most egregious ones:

  • The IF is negotiable and doesn’t reflect actual citation counts (source)
  • The IF cannot be reproduced, even if it reflected actual citations (source)
  • The IF is not statistically sound, even if it were reproducible and reflected actual citations (source)

In other words, all the organizations that require scientists to publish in ‘high-impact journals’ at the same time require them to publish in ‘high-retraction journals’. I wonder if requiring publication in high-retraction journals can be good for science?