Assessing last decimal digits in retracted research articles: accounting for missing zeroes

Volume 7, Issue 4, August 2023     |     PP. 276-286      |     PDF (165 K)    |     Pub. Date: August 15, 2023
DOI: 10.54647/sociology841134    60 Downloads     1965 Views  


Walter R. Schumm, Kansas State University, United States

The cumulative nature of knowledge in science in general and for social science in particular depends on research being conducted with integrity, with fraudulent research being one of the most harmful of questionable research practices. It has been observed that, in some fabricated research, there has been a deficit of zeroes in the last digits of regression results. In research, authored by Dr. Eric Stewart, that has been retracted, there appears to have been a paucity of zeroes as last digits in his regression results. Eight hypotheses were tested to re-examine the relative lack of zeroes and possible increases in ones or nines as last digits. Some support was found for all hypotheses. It appears that in Stewart’s retracted research, not only were zeroes underrepresented as terminal digits in regression coefficients, but that ones and nines were more frequently detected as terminal digits, in roughly equal proportions. Furthermore, the increased proportions of ones and nines was found to be highly correlated with other anomalies in the same retracted articles, possibly indicative of fabrication of the results in the retracted articles. Further research in this area might use symbolic interaction theory or justification theory to guide our developing knowledge about this type of questionable research practice.

Scientific misconduct, fraud, regression digits, zeroes, Eric Stewart, fabrication of results

Cite this paper
Walter R. Schumm, Assessing last decimal digits in retracted research articles: accounting for missing zeroes , SCIREA Journal of Sociology. Volume 7, Issue 4, August 2023 | PP. 276-286. 10.54647/sociology841134


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