Editors have a duty to maintain the integrity of the scientific record.
An analysis of 312 retractions from 1988 to 2008 at the Peer Review Congress in Vancouver, BC, Canada revealed the main reasons for retraction:
- fabrication (5%)
- falsification (4%)
- plagiarism (16%)
- redundant publication (17%)
- disputed authorship or data ownership (5%)
- inaccurate or misleading reporting (4%)
- honest research errors (28%)
- non-replicable findings (11%)
- not stated findings (9%)
Overall, 42% of retractions were due to scientific misconduct. In an earlier analysis, 27% of 395 articles were retracted because of misconduct.
COPE's retraction guidelines. The Lancet, Volume 374, Issue 9705, Pages 1876 - 1877, 5 December 2009.