A Dilemma…

A random thought popped into my head today, and something I don’t know the answer to.

Assume someone publishes a research paper. For sake of argument, let’s say it’s a Doctor who claims s/he can clone from cloned cells an infinite number of times without genetic instability or degradation.

The paper is published in journals like @thelancet and passes a few verification checks for content and accuracy.

Other doctors extend on, and/or reference the findings in this paper when creating their own.

Now, a few years down the line (or maybe decades), it’s found out that the findings of the original paper were derived using objectionable means. Perhaps the doctor experiments on corpses during the creation of the paper, or kidnapped children to perform said experiments or to extract cells or organs.

This doctor’s paper is subsequently severely discredited.

So what happens to the other doctors’ papers who used or referenced this now-discredited paper? Do their papers get discredited in the same way, even though the authors weren’t aware of the original doctors’ behaviour regarding the original paper? What about the doctors who wrote those newer papers that referenced the (previously good) paper?

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