Monday, January 07, 2013

Peer review: It isn't always perfect!

Wanjek, C. (2012, December 21). Science retractions: Top 5 withdrawn studies of 2012. The Huffington Post. Retrieved from

This article (linked above) from The Huffington Post brings up an interesting conundrum for Saint Mary's students and faculty, especially those in the School of Health and Human Services: You can't always trust what you read (duh), not even when it appears in a peer-reviewed journal (wait, what?).

In the academic community it is generally accepted that peer-reviewed articles are the gold standard in publishing and that the process of peer review ensures quality, reliability, and truthfulness. However, even peer review cannot ensure 100% accuracy. This article brings this last point into the spotlight.

The primary source for retraction information is the blog Retraction Watch. The librarians at Saint Mary's follow it and always have a good smirk when an item is retracted from a journal to which we have access.

One of our librarian's favorite sentences of the article was "The king of retractions, according to Retraction Watch, is Japanese anesthesiologist Yoshitaka Fujii, who falsified data in 172 of 212 of his papers published between 1993 and 2011. All of this came to light in 2012." Our Nurse Anesthesia students might find that interesting!!

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