Citation of retracted research: a case-controlled, ten-year follow-up scientometric analysis of Scott S. Reuben’s malpractice

Istvan Szilard Szilagyi, Gregor A. Schittek, Christoph Klivinyi, Holger Simonis, Torsten Ulrich, Helmar Bornemann-Cimenti*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A major problem in scientific literature is the citation of retracted research. Until now, no long-term follow-up of the course of citations of such articles has been published. In the present study, we determined the development of citations of retracted articles based on the case of anaesthesiologist and pain researcher Scott S. Reuben, over a period of 10 years and compared them to matched controls. We screened four databases to find retracted publications by Scott S. Ruben and reviewed full publications for indications of retraction status. To obtain a case-controlled analysis, all Reuben’s retracted articles were compared with the respective citations of the preceeding and subsequent neighbouring articles within the same journal. There were 420 citations between 2009 and 2019, of which only 40% indicated the publication being retracted. Over a 10-year period, an increasing linear trend is observed in citations of retracted articles by Scott S. Ruben that are not reported as retracted (R2 = 0.3647). Reuben’s retracted articles were cited 92% more often than the neighbouring non-retracted articles. This study highlights a major scientific problem. Invented or falsified data are still being cited after more than a decade, leading to a distortion of the evidence and scientometric parameters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2611-2620
Number of pages10
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2022


  • Anaesthesiology
  • Anaesthetist
  • Ethics research
  • Pain
  • Retraction of publication
  • Scientific misconduct
  • Scott S. Reuben

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences


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