Retraction of scientific papers: the case of vaccine research

Ety Elisha*, Josh Guetzkow, Yaffa Shir-Raz, Natti Ronel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The controversy over vaccines, which has recently intensified following the COVID-19 pandemic, provokes heated debates, with both advocates and opponents raising allegations of bias and fraud in research. Researchers whose work raises doubts about the safety of certain vaccines claim to be victims of discriminatory treatment aimed at suppressing dissent, including the unjustified retraction of their published research. Such practices have previously been discussed in other controversial fields in science (e.g., AIDS, the environment, and water fluoridation) but not in the field of vaccines. The purpose of this study was to analyze, for the first time, the subjective views of researchers whose papers were retracted. Study participants are active researchers, most with international reputations in their respective fields. They perceived retraction as a means of censoring and silencing critical voices with the aim of preserving the pro-vaccination agenda of interested parties. Participants also reported additional measures aimed at harming them personally and professionally. These findings point to the need for a fair, open, and honest discourse about the safety of vaccines for the benefit of public health and the restoration of trust in science and medicine.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)533-542
Number of pages10
JournalCritical Public Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Vaccines
  • medical research
  • public health
  • retraction
  • suppression of dissent


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