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Highly cited and retracted

An article published in 2017 on the effects of chronic inflammation during the aging process has been retracted by The Journals of Gerontology: Series A based on evidence that it contained excerpts from 13 other studies that were not referenced. The case has drawn a lot of attention due to the high impact of the paper. It has been cited 41 times in other scientific articles, earning the title of “highly cited” by Clarivate Analytics—meaning it received more citations than 99% of the papers in its field over the year.

The journal editors avoided using the term “plagiarism,” explaining that the article was retracted due to overlap with unreferenced studies. At the same time, the lead author of the study, Bertrand Fougère, a researcher at the Paul Sabatier University hospital in Toulouse, France, explained that it was a review article (a type of paper that compiles the recent knowledge on a topic without presenting any new data) and said the missing references were an involuntary omission. “We made a big mistake forgetting to cite some papers in our review paper. We were very uncomfortable with this situation,” Fougère explained in an email to Retraction Watch.