Ethics in science can relate to how science influences ethical decisions or the integrity of scientific
practices and publication. Scientific retractions have been occurring at an alarming rate. Some
reasons retractions occur can be fabricated data, small sample size, plagiarism, or even honest error.
When we read headlines in news articles citing findings from scientific papers it is important to
consider those studies directly and evaluate their scientific practices and reasoning.
Your assignment is to research ONE peer-reviewed scientific journal article that has been retracted
OR that you think should be retracted. You should discuss the article and evaluate your own ethical
To find retracted articles, I recommend using this Retraction Database:
Under “Subjects” search any of the “Biology” categories.
Remember it might take some time to actually locate a retracted article because they could be removed from
the journal, or we might not have access to them on the CWI library databases.
To HELP with issues locating retracted articles from this database, contact the library. Part of this assignment
is becoming familiar with what the CWI library has to offer.
To help with your writing, it is beneficial to use this book as a resource/guide while writing:
Writing in the Biological Sciences: A Comprehensive Resource for Scientific
Communication by Hofmann (Oxford) ISBN: 9780190852191
Your paper MUST include the following information:
• One paragraph dedicated to the scientific ethics that govern data publication.
• Two paragraphs dedicated to discussing the research article.
o One paragraph should summarize the article
o One paragraph should specifically detail the reason(s) the article was retracted, and
detail the reputation of the journal the article was published in.
One way to determine the reputation of the scientific journal, you will need
to research the Impact Factor (IF).
• One paragraph dedicated to the implications of the violations of ethics in science can have.
o For example, discuss the following questions: How could this misinformation impact
the general population? …The scientific community?
• One paragraph dedicated to your own ethical values.
o In this paragraph you should assess the origin of your ethical values and
compare/contrast them to scientific ethics.
What do you find most critical when it comes to the ethics of science?
o Discuss your thoughts on the magnitude of the violations of ethics within the
retracted articles. Do you think it was a big deal, why or why not?
• The document should be made using a word processor (i.e. Microsoft Word, Pages, Google
Docs.) and should be submitted as a .doc/.docx format.
• Around 1500 – 2300 works to cover the topic. Writing should be double-spaced with 1-inch
margins on all sides. Do not use distracting fonts. (Estimate your document to be 5-7 pages
• You should not use a ton of quotations in your paper. Some specific quotes from the paper
might be necessary to discuss the retraction but keep quotations to a minimum.
• Include a “Works Cited” (reference) page with references documented according to the
o All “Works Cited” references must have an internal citation in the body of the paper
referring back to them. See
_style_guide/mla_formatting_and_style_guide.html for information on MLA
• Use a minimum of 3 research sources.
o None may be from a general encyclopedia, or Wikipedia.org.
o One from a Scientific Journal (See http://www.doaj.org/ for a listing of appropriate
journals). These will most likely be your retracted articles.
o The others may be from any of the above, or an appropriate internet site. You may
have more than 3 references. Be careful about the sources you choose to use, some
of them are not carefully edited or contain false information.
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