Differences In Support For Retractions Based On Information Hazards Among Undergraduates and Federally Funded Scientists

Document Type


Publication Date





Retractions have traditionally been reserved for correcting the scientific record and discouraging research misconduct. Nonetheless, the potential for actual societal harm resulting from accurately reported published scientific findings, so-called information hazards, has been the subject of several recent article retractions. As these instances increase, the extent of support for such decisions among the scientific community and lay public remains unclear. Undergraduates (Study 1) and federally funded researchers (Study 2) reported their support for retraction decisions described as due to misconduct, honest errors, or potential information hazards. Participants supported retraction on the former two grounds more than the latter. Despite limited support, women remained more receptive to retractions based on information hazards. Activist tendencies additionally predicted undergraduate men’s receptivity. Receptivity toward retraction due to information hazards was unrelated to scientists’ engagement in activism, suggesting that formal scientific training affords researchers an ability to separate personal and professional values in scientific discourse. Findings could inform the development of educational materials that may aid less experienced scientists and the lay public in understanding retraction ethics.

Publication Title

Journal of Academic Ethics

Find in your library