2 Replies to “Peer review question: What if universities had to refund grants after a retraction?

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    I think it would be more harmful than helpful.

    Many retractions are for superficial technical reasons. They are like releasing an “innocent” prisoner because the search warrant was misdated. Other retractions are premature publications. The line of research may be valid, but the authors jumped the gun and didn’t take time to check things properly.

    If all universities at once declared a “loser pays” policy, the loss of genuinely evil research would be much smaller than the loss of decent but sloppy research.

    Evil researchers have lots of money. They can handle the technicalities. New discoveries come from smaller organizations with marginal resources, and new discoveries are premature almost by definition.

  2. 2
    REC says:

    To some extent, they do. In cases of outright fraud or double-dipping salaries, the NIH or NSF have required payback.

    As #1 mentions, not everyone who makes a mistake deserves the academic “death penalty.”

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