Are We Standing on Unreliable Shoulders? The Effect of Retracted Papers Citations on Previous and Subsequent Published Papers: A Study of the Web of Science Database

Sepideh Fahimifar, Ali Ghorbi, Marcel Ausloos


The present research attempts to identify the impact of retracted papers on previous or subsequent papers. We consider the 5693 retracted papers from 1975 to 2020 indexed in the Web of Science database based on bibliometric methods. We use HistCite, Excel, and SPSS software as technical means. The findings suggest a significant difference between the average number of retracted and unretracted papers when cited in retracted papers. Furthermore, there is a significant difference between the average number of unretracted and retracted papers citing retracted papers. The reasons for the retraction of an article may not be the previous retracted papers, yet unretracted papers may be retracted later because of referring to (many) retracted papers. It is deduced that proprietors of citation databases should carefully focus on these papers by checking references to each new paper citing previously retracted papers.


Publication Ethics; Retracted Paper; WoS; Unretracted Paper; Citation

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E-ISSN: 2008-8310

   ISSN: 2008-8302