Retraction and research quality

Acupuncture needles being placed on a person

Our colleagues at Cochrane Cochrane Complementary Medicine Korea recently submitted a critique to the editors of the journal Pain Medicine. Their critique focused on a previously published network meta-analysis (NMA) which evaluated the effect of sham acupuncture. In their letter to the editor, the research team presented a critical assessment of the methods used in the NMA, including the units of measurement chosen, the decision to summarize heterogenous results, and the absence of several significant studies. 

In response to these points, the authors of the NMA and the Editor-in-Chief of the publishing journal made the decision to retract the paper. This process illustrates the importance of using good methods, of speaking up to critique poorly done research, and the use of retraction to correct the publication record.