On the Shoulders of Fallen Giants: Empirical Analysis on Post-Retraction Citation
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
This paper exploits the population of retracted articles and their citing articles from the Web of Science and PubMed database. The analysis is based on 104,404 articles (excluding self-citations), which cited 5,717 retracted articles. I argue that field ignorance and strong field competition are circumstances where citations are more likely to be functioned as myth and ceremony. Both text and discipline vector distances between the retracted and citing articles were positively correlated post-retraction citation. That is, scientists who are unfamiliar with the field of retracted research were more likely to cite them after retraction. Meanwhile, scientists who are in a highly competitive environment, which is measured by topic intensity, were more likely to cite retracted articles.
Using citations information form retracted articles, this paper discussed different circumstances where citation practices are more likely to be a reflection of institutionalized practice rather than functioning of peer recognition. Not only this paper sheds lights on growing literature on bureaucratization of science, but the finding is also a cautionary tale against uses of direct citation counts as a performance measure by policymakers.