Scroll down to read this post.


Please consider supporting my work, as I take no advertisements nor accept any sponsors in order to keep the website clean, easy to read, and to avoid any accusations of conflict of interest. Your support leaves me entirely independent, able to say whatever I think while being free from censorship or reprisals.


You can support me either by giving a one-time contribution or a regular subscription. There are five ways of doing so:


1. Zelle: This is the only internet method that charges no fees. All you have to do is use the Zelle link at your internet bank and give my name and email address (zimmerman at nasw dot org). What you donate is what I get.


2. Patreon: Go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation.

3. A Paypal Donation:

4. A Paypal subscription:

5. Donate by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman and mailed to
Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652

Retractions of peer-reviewed scientific papers has risen 13,750% in this century

Modern peer review in science
Modern peer review in science

The present and growing dark age: According to the watchdogs who run the website Retraction Watch, the number of peer-reviewed scientific papers that have been retracted each year has risen from 40 in 2000 to 5,500 in 2022, an astonishing increase of 13,750%.

According to these watchdogs, there are two reasons for this increase in research failure:

Retractions have risen sharply in recent years for two main reasons: first, sleuthing, largely by volunteers who comb academic literature for anomalies, and, second, major publishers’ (belated) recognition that their business models have made them susceptible to paper mills – scientific chop shops that sell everything from authorships to entire manuscripts to researchers who need to publish lest they perish.

These researchers are required – sometimes in stark terms – to publish papers in order to earn and keep jobs or to be promoted. The governments of some countries have even offered cash bonuses for publishing in certain journals. Any surprise, then, that some scientists cheat?

I think the watchdogs are missing the major and much more basic source for this problem. Since the 1990s the academic community has largely abandoned — even condemned — the fundamental concepts of the Enlightenment, which established the scientific method with its unwavering dedication to finding the truth, no matter where it led. These fundamentals required from scientists not only the ability to think critically, questioning without mercy everything they did, they also demanded a very high level of ethics from scientists, since without those ethics the urge to lie and cheat becomes so much easier.

Since the 1990s, however, academia has decided that political goals and ideological concerns trumped honest and skeptical research. If your data contradicted your ideology or your concerns, than that data had to be fixed somehow. Furthermore, it was now considered inappropriate to challenge students with uncomfortable ideas and concepts. Instead, they were to be given “safe-spaces” so that their fragile minds would be protected from new ideas. Rather than teach critical thinking and open-mindedness, the purpose of a college education was to enforce close-mindedness and narrow thinking.

The consequences of these new bankrupt academia goals became most evident first in the climate field, where for the past two decades government scientists have been adjusting past data — without providing any justification — to make it appear that the climate is warming more than it has. This same corrupt climate science community also worked to destroy the careers of anyone who disagreed with them, as the climategate emails proved.

Thus, at this moment near the end of the first quarter of this century, you no longer can be a climate scientist without kneeling meekly to the god of global warming, no matter what your data shows.

This dishonesty and corruption became even more obvious during the COVID panic, when health officials and many medical experts nonchalantly rejected the traditional and long-established methods for dealing with new infectious diseases to push — for obvious political reasons — invalid lockdowns, mask and vaccine mandates, based not on previous proven data but on panic and fear and off-the-cuff opinions.

When will scientists all re-enter the truth booth?
It is time for all scientists to re-enter the truth booth.

Compounding this willingness to put politics and ideology first, the Marxist political theories that have taken over many campuses have worked to slander and discredit the Enlightenment, often calling it simply an expression of “systemic racism” because it was established mostly by “old white men.” The high standards of honesty and ethics it demanded from everyone, no matter their race, were obviously “racist” and must therefore be abandoned.

The result in the 21st century has been this skyrocketing retraction rate. Too many scientists no longer see anything wrong with cheating and lying and falsifying data. Too many put their political goals first. And too many scientists are also willing to look the other way in order to keep their jobs.

Unless there is a sea change soon in academia, the future of western civilization, in fact all human civilization, does not look good.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • Col Beausabre

    Here we go again

    “The Indiana Pi Bill is the popular name for bill #246 of the 1897 sitting of the Indiana General Assembly, one of the most notorious attempts to establish mathematical truth by legislative fiat. Despite its name, the main result claimed by the bill is a method to square the circle, although it does imply various incorrect values of the mathematical constant π, the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. The bill, written by a physician who was an amateur mathematician, never became law due to the intervention of Prof. C. A. Waldo of Purdue University, who happened to be present in the legislature on the day it went up for a vote.

    The mathematical impossibility of squaring the circle using only compass and straightedge constructions, suspected since ancient times, had been rigorously proven 15 years previously, in 1882 by Ferdinand von Lindemann. Better approximations of π than those implied by the bill have been known since ancient times.”

  • Ray Van Dune

    Just before the election of 2000, Scientific American magazine covered a paper that claimed to prove that news media coverage of candidate John McCain was more favorable than that given to candidate Barack Obama. This flew in the face of the opinions expressed by many commentators, that decried the media’s evident preference towards Obama.

    I was skeptical, but the study’s approach, being conducted by a professor of Journalism, using an analysis by grad students of hundreds of news articles, seemed to lend a credibility to the result. That is, it did until I read a note at the very end.

    In the literal last sentence, the date range of the news articles used in the analysis was mentioned. I had naturally expected that it would be sometime in the summer of 2000, as this was in either September or October as I recall. But no, the date range was in the summer of the PRIOR YEAR. The upshot was that this was not an analysis of articles about opponents McCain and Obama at all, but about those two compared to their PRIMARY opponents of last year!

    So had I read the source articles, I would have been reading about McCain, the media’s beloved anti-Bush “maverick”, and about the then-upstart Obama, who was challenging “Her Inevitableness” Hillary Clinton, for the nomination!

    The SciAm article was clearly headlined to lead the reader to assume that he or she would be learning the truth about the comparative media coverage of the candidates in the upcoming Presidential election. In fact, the comparison was how each was compared to someone else, about a year ago!

    The next time I got a renewal card for SciAm, it went into the trashcan!

  • Regarding your article: “Retractions of peer-reviewed scientific papers has risen 13,750% in this century.”

    I’ve been trying to write a book about Astrophysics. However, so much of what I see indicates there are simply too many scientific theories that are invalid. I rather doubt that’s actually what your article is about, though it might be, in part. Regardless, I’m finding my writings are having to shift from simply writing about Astrophysics to dedicating my writings (website) to be about proposing my findings as ‘alternative theories’, and then seeing if I can get mainstream science to accept my findings.

    I’m only writing this in that, that 13,750% increase in retractions of peer-reviewed scientific papers could easily quadruple as I complete writing / publishing more of my research findings. I don’t expect you to acccept my none-peer reviewed research, and you shouldn’t. However, just make a little note in the back of your head. Eventually, you’ll find out if I’m write.

    My current website (book) is progressing slowly and not ready for public viewing.

  • Jeff Wright

    Cosmoquest might be a good place. Now, they banned me for politics even though a thread with a Progressive title went unchallenged…still..they have the best members on dealing with Moon Hoax Believers (MHB).

    One member did get published (Pogono) at last. He showed his work.

    If you tout “tired light” or “electric universe hokum…you better show your maths.

  • Michael Allison

    The Wright Brothers found out how incorrect published experiments re: aviation were, and then relied on their own experiments. that lead to the first manned flight at Kitty Hawk.

  • Formerly known as Skeptic

    The vast increase in retractions is in my opinion a good thing. It indicates that we are starting to get our arms around the problem. Does anyone think that the number of misleading/false/bad scientific papers was lower in 2000 than in 2022? Until more “scientists” become laughingstocks and careers are trashed, things won’t get better.

  • Ray Van Dune

    Michael Allison, I assume you mean Otto Lilienthal’s data that proved to be flawed. At first I thought it might also be Dr. Samuel Langley’s but then I realized that he probably didn’t publish any! He must have gotten his Dr. the same way Jill Biden got hers!

    Not really, he was a real PhD, just a misguided one.

  • Max

    Many of the research papers being pulled were found to be written by AI, not a true research scientist.
    Lawyers and others are finding that AI, although sounding authentic, lies.
    Lies are fine for fictional characters and fictional scenarios, Such as writing for Hollywood… but it’s not OK to make up your facts for scientific research.

    On the other hand, politically incorrect papers are being denied access for pre-peer reviewed status. Here’s one that was pulled one day after being submitted for peer review.
    12 minute deep dive into the lancet research and who pulled it without a credible explanation.

  • Jeff Wright

    Lancet has often been used by folks who can’t get published in JAMA or NEJM…for good or ill.

  • Andrew Winter


    Did you guys miss this? Nature Magazine actually broke a story I can’t find anymore about a year or two earlier on this topic. They were really alarmed. CUSTOMERS who were trying to duplicate studies published in Nature could NOT replicate the results. That led to this article in 2016.
    Which was followed up in this one two years later.

    Your dang gone RIGHT peer reviewed articles are being rejected. The Danged Peer Reviews are being bought and paid for “in kind”. That 2016 review is absolutely DAMNING.

    You have a whole category of “The Uncertainty of Science” Well these two articles should be at the top of your list. As I write this I am searching for anything I can find that has to do with “Duplication Crisis” or “Replication Crisis”. It has finally found its way to Wikipedia,

    The article sites an earlier work,
    that goes back further than I knew until now, and may represent the beginning of the cascade of complaints that caused NATURE to create that review panel.

    Folks what this means is very very serious. If you read any kind of announcement of conclusions in a “peer reviewed” study you stand a much much greater chance of being correct if you just GUESS that it’s all B.S. than if you assume it is any kind of accurate.

    There is no Science to Follow! Each and every person who crys that “we must follow the science” is preaching REGLION not Science.

    This is a mess of almost unimaginable proportions!

  • Andrew Winter: FYI, I reported these stories, and others, repeatedly over the years. Search BtB using the search terms “replicate” and “paper”. There was also this 2017 post: “Less than 1% of all science papers follow scientific method”. This quote from this second post is most clarifying:

    “They cheat. If you don’t get statistically significant results, then you throw out variables, add variables, [and] eventually you get what you want.”

  • Cotour

    “They cheat. If you don’t get statistically significant results, then you throw out variables, add variables, [and] eventually you get what you want.”

    Politics and subjective results, in other words and not science in any way shape or form.

    All primarily driven by cash flow? Continuing contract fulfillment? Ego?

    There are lots interests involved in this process and true science and new discoveries apparently take a back seat to most all others.

  • wayne

    How College Professors Duped The Scientific Community
    Jordan Peterson / James Lindsay (7-18-23)

Readers: the rules for commenting!


No registration is required. I welcome all opinions, even those that strongly criticize my commentary.


However, name-calling and obscenities will not be tolerated. First time offenders who are new to the site will be warned. Second time offenders or first time offenders who have been here awhile will be suspended for a week. After that, I will ban you. Period.


Note also that first time commenters as well as any comment with more than one link will be placed in moderation for my approval. Be patient, I will get to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *