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How reliable is the science published in high impact journals?

An interesting article by Julia Belluz explores whether high impact journals are more likely to publish ‘flawed research’ than lower ranked journals. The idea stems from a report written by Björn Brembs which found that retractions and papers that were later discredited were more often printed in top journals. There are a number of possible explanations for this finding including the prestige and perceived career advantages of publishing in such journals influencing the writing, the editorial process and the high degree of analysis that articles published in these journals attract. Julia points out that other research has come to the same conclusion and she highlights a report by Fang et al that found a positive relationship between impact factor of journal and frequency of retraction. Julia reflects on whether this is a result of a higher degree of scrutiny by readers of top journals, the likelihood of the journal audience to make a comment or the accountability of the journal itself to respond to feedback on an article. Read her article here and join in the debate.


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