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More scientist authors on a study, makes retractions more likely. This alcohol/health study has almost too many to count.

More scientist authors on a study, makes retractions more likely. This alcohol/health study has almost too many to count.

 

This paper: Pathogenic Organization in Science: Division of Labor and Retractions, concludes that “the rate of retractions is higher as the division of labor increases (net of team size).”

 

Then along comes this oft-cited Lancet paper: Risk thresholds for alcohol consumption: combined analysis of individual-participant data for 599 912 current drinkers in 83 prospective studies which offers us this:

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That’s not to say that this — or every other study with lots of authors — is bogus, but that the odds increase.

 

The bigger the crowd, the easier it is for any single investigator to fudge numbers or be innocently careless. And the smaller the odds that another team member is inclined or capable of quality controlling the overall crowd and conclusions.

 

And despite having just two authors, there is no guarantee that the “Pathogenic” study itself might not be retracted some day.