A $400,000 grant from the MacArthur Foundation will be used to create a database of retractions from scientific journals, extending the work done by Adam Marcus and AHCJ Vice President Ivan Oransky on their Retraction Watch blog.
The grant was awarded to the Center for Scientific Integrity, a nonprofit organization set up by Marcus and Oransky.
The goal of the grant — $200,000 per year for two years — is to create a comprehensive and freely available database of retractions, something that doesn’t now exist, as we and others have noted.
While the grant proposal says the “main benefit would be that scientists could use it when planning experiments and preparing manuscripts to make sure studies they would like to cite have not been the subject of a retraction, correction, expression of concern or similar action,” it certainly sounds like it will be a useful tool for reporters to check the credibility of studies or sources they are using.
Oransky notes that “journalists could use it to add important detail and context to their articles.”
Thanks to the grant, Retraction Watch, a “volunteer activity” for Marcus and Oransky, has already hired reporter Cat Ferguson and will hire an editor and a database developer. Oransky says the grant also will allow them to write more about the topic for other outlets.