The Times attributes the sharp rise in journal-paper retractions to a hyper-competitive environment:
Dr. Fang became curious how far the rot extended. To find out, he teamed up with a fellow editor at the journal, Dr. Arturo Casadevall of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. And before long they reached a troubling conclusion: not only that retractions were rising at an alarming rate, but that retractions were just a manifestation of a much more profound problem — “a symptom of a dysfunctional scientific climate,” as Dr. Fang put it.
Dr. Casadevall, now editor in chief of the journal mBio, said he feared that science had turned into a winner-take-all game with perverse incentives that lead scientists to cut corners and, in some cases, commit acts of misconduct.
This new article highlights the danger of “questionable research practices” which pervade academia and science in general: http://pss.sagepub.com/content/23/5/524
Accepting studies with null results into prestigious and eventually all journals is one way to encourage less academic dishonesty.