Crossref acquires Retraction Watch data

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The Center for Scientific Integrity, the organisation behind the Retraction Watch blog and database, and Crossref, the global infrastructure underpinning research communications, both not-for-profits, announced today that the Retraction Watch database has been acquired by Crossref and made a public resource. An agreement between the two organisations will allow Retraction Watch to keep the data populated on an ongoing basis and always open, alongside publishers registering their retraction notices directly with Crossref.

Both organisations have a shared mission to make it easier to assess the trustworthiness of scholarly outputs. Retractions are an important part of science and scholarship regulating themselves and are a sign that academic publishing is doing its job. But there are more journals and papers than ever, so identifying and tracking retracted papers has become much harder for publishers and readers. That, in turn, makes it difficult for readers and authors to know whether they are reading or citing work that has been retracted. Combining efforts to create the largest single open-source database of retractions reduces duplication, making it more efficient, transparent, and accessible for all.

Product Director Rachael Lammey says, “Crossref is focused on documenting and clarifying the scholarly record in an open and scalable form. For a decade, our members have been recording corrections and retractions through our infrastructure, and incorporating the Crossmark button to alert readers. Collaborating with Retraction Watch augments publisher efforts by filling in critical gaps in our coverage, helps the downstream services that rely on high-quality, open data about retractions, and ultimately directly benefits the research community.”

The Center for Scientific Integrity and the Retraction Watch blog will remain separate from Crossref and will continue their journalistic work investigating retractions and related issues; the agreement with Crossref is confined to the database only and Crossref itself remains a neutral facilitator in efforts to assess the quality of scientific works. Both organisations consider publishers to be the primary stewards of the scholarly record and they are encouraged to continue to add retractions to their Crossref metadata as a priority.

“Retraction Watch has always worked to make our highly comprehensive and accurate retraction data available to as many people as possible. We are deeply grateful to the foundations, individuals, and members of the publishing services industry who have supported our efforts and laid the groundwork for this development,” said Ivan Oransky, executive director of the Center for Scientific Integrity and co-founder of Retraction Watch. “This agreement means that the Retraction Watch Database has sustainable funding to allow its work to continue and improve.”