Research is a crucial endeavour. It demands integrity. It expands our knowledge base which in turn drives progress in medicine and science. Results of research need to be published and publicly available. Then the ideal outcome is that the published results can be viewed and checked by others and the experimental findings can be reliably generated by others.
Trust is one of the pillars that underpins the conduct and publication of research: trust that the results can be accepted, trust that the work is not lifted from the work of others, and trust that the results are not made up. Further we expect the work to have been conducted in an ethical way.
Unfortunately, research publications do not necessarily embody this ideal. Many published research findings false, simply due to publication bias and poor statistics. Not surprisingly this contributes to the failure to reproduce research findings. Other reasons contribute.
While scientists clamour to put their findings into the literature, less effort is put into the removal of defective papers from it. Many reasons are given for the retraction of papers. They cover the spectrum from discovery that measurements are flawed to realisation that parts of publications have been fabricated, falsified or plagiarized. The database generated by Retraction Watch is the prime way that scientists can check the publication status of papers that have been retracted. The integrity and research quality of individual publications can be raised anonymously at PubPeer.
Scientists and medical researchers at NeuRA are trying to take a practical role in improving research integrity and the reproducibility of research.