Scientific publications with compromised integrity should be retracted. Papers citing retracted publications might need correction if findings depend on the retracted publication. While many studies have reported on post-retraction citations, few have focused on citations made before the retraction. We investigated the citation profile for a research group with 113 published concerns regarding publication integrity (CRPI). We identified 376 of their source publications that were cited by 5577 articles, and whether the source publication had a published CRPI. Of 6926 references to a source publication in these citing articles, for 3925 (57%) the source article had a published CRPI, while for 3001 (43%) it did not. Of these 3925 references, 3688 were in citing articles published before the source article CRPI was published. 166 citing articles containing 198 references to source publications were published after the corresponding source article CRPI was published (range 1–5 such references/article; 19/166 (11%) articles had >1 reference). In summary, many articles cite retracted publications, with the majority of these references occurring before the retraction. However, very few publications assess the impact of the retracted citations, even though the findings of many might be altered, at least in part, by removal of the retracted citation.
- expression of concern
- publication integrity