Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Public Health

Major Professor

Raymond D. Harbison, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Giffe T. Johnson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

James McCluskey, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Michael E. Fant, Ph.D.


correction, irreproducibility, ORI, publishing, research


Research misconduct has been generally considered a limited issue, occurring in a small percentage of research studies. Studies of the number of article retractions use retraction percentages to perpetuate the idea that research misconduct is not a common event, and use information in the retraction notice to quantify types of research misconduct and types or research error. However, retractions appear to be the wrong variable with which to assess misconduct rates and characteristics. Using final misconduct findings in hard science research from the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) for investigations closed from 1993 through 2013, the number of publications and subsequent retractions or corrections per final ORI finding was analyzed. Out of 167 subjects who received ORI sanctions, 84 (50.3%) had no publications associated with their misconduct. Of the remaining 83 subjects, only 72 had at least one retraction associated with their misconduct, i.e., only 43.1% of the all study subjects sanctioned for misconduct had at least one retraction from misconduct. Of the 231 retractions and corrections arising from the sanctioned misconduct, only 94 notices (40.6%) gave research misconduct as a cause for the retraction or correction. Thus, the study demonstrates that research misconduct occurs at a greater rate than retractions for misconduct are published, and retraction and correction notices cannot be relied upon to convey the presence of fraudulent data within the publication.