Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Seeing double: Current Eye Research retracts three papers for duplication

without comments

Three papers in Current Eye Research have apparently not quite lived up to the journal’s name. The journal in November retracted three studies from a group of authors in China who had previously published the papers in their native language.

Here’s the notice, which also appears in this month’s print edition:

Withdrawn: Dong X, Shi W, Zeng Q, Xie L. Roles of Adherence and Matrix Metalloproteinases in Growth Patterns of Fungal Pathogens in Cornea. Current Eye Research 2005; 30(8):613–620


Withdrawn: Ma L, Xie L, Dong X, Shi W. Role of extracellular phospholipase B of Canddida albicans as a virulent factor in experimental keratomycosis. Current Eye Research 2009; 34(9):761–768


Withdrawn: Min X, Zhou Q, Dong X, Wang Y, Xie L. Expression Profile and Regulation of Telomerase Reverse Transcriptase on Oxygen-Induced Retinal Neovascularization. Current Eye Research 2011; 36(2):135–142


The above articles duplicate previously published work and are hereby retracted in both the print and online editions of Current Eye Research. These articles appeared earlier in Chinese-language journals (referenced below). As far as can be determined, no permission was sought for the translation and re-publication of the articles. The English-language versions do not cite or refer to the prior publications, and are therefore redundant to scientific literature. The articles submitted in English to Current Eye Research were peer-reviewed and published in good faith.

Roles of Adherence and Matrix Metalloproteinases in Growth Patterns of Fungal Pathogens in Cornea in by Xiaoguang Dong, Weiyun Shi, Qingyan Zeng and Lixin Xie of the Shandong Eye Institute, Qingdao People’s Republic of China, was previously published by Dong, X., Shi,W., Zeng, Q., and Xie, L. (2004) in the Chinese Journal of Ophthalmology, Volume 40, pages: 774–776.

Role of extracellular phospholipase B of Canddida albicans as a virulent factor in experimental keratomycosis by Lin Ma, Lixin Xie, Xiaoguang Dong and Weiyun Shi of The State Key Lab Cultivation Base, Shandong Provincial Key Lab of Ophthalmology and Shandong Eye Institute, Qingdao, China was previously published with the same authors as Virulence of extracellular phospholipase B of Candida albicans in rabbit experimental keratomycosis in the Chinese Journal of Ophthalmology, Volume 44, pages: 237-43.

Expression Profile and Regulation of Telomerase Reverse Transcriptase on Oxygen-Induced Retinal Neovascularization by Xiaojie Min, Qingjun Zhou, Xiaoguang Dong, Yiqiang Wang, Lixin Xie of the State Key Lab Cultivation Base, Shandong Provincial Key Lab of Ophthalmology, Shandong Eye Institute, Qingdao, China (Xiaojie Min now works at the Department of Ophthalmology, Fourth Affiliated Hospital, China Medical University, Shenyang, China) was previously published as: Min X, Zhou Q, Liu T, Yin H, Dong X, Xie L. Expression of mouse telomerase reverse transcription in a mouse model of oxygen-induced retinopathy. Chinese Journal of Ophthalmology 2009;45:199–205, 2009; and: Min X, Dong X, Zhou Q, Liu T, Yin H, Xie L. TERT-siRNA inhibits oxygen-induced retinal neovascularization in mice. Chinese Journal of Ophthalmology 2009;45:1111–1117.

The journal’s policy in this respect is clear: Current Eye Research considers all manuscripts on the strict condition that they have been submitted only to Current Eye Research, that they neither contain material that has been published already, nor are they under consideration for publication or in press elsewhere.

Current Eye Research published these articles in good faith, and on the basis of legal warranties made by the corresponding authors regarding the originality of their work.

The Publishers

This kind of situation has come up before, for example in a similar case involving the American Journal of Psychiatry. There, the journal simply issued an Expression of Concern. As we noted then:

Our understanding is that such duplications are only acceptable if a journal editor knows the material has been published elsewhere in another language, and gives the authors permission to publish a translation. That doesn’t seem to have been the case here.

Hat tip: “Ressci Integrity”

  • Ressci Integrity January 23, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    while this is being published, irregularities were pointed in some publications in the field of telomeres. Abnormal science has indicated problems with two high profile papers (Molecular Cell 2002 and 2009; a reader has commented for a 2007 current biology paper from the same group)
    I am not sure whether they are of any importance to the field or not.

  • Michael Kovari January 24, 2012 at 4:06 am

    With all due respect to the journal editors, retraction seems grotesquely harsh. The authors failed to ask permission to publish an English translation. Can’t they be granted permission retrospectively??

    I can build a HOUSE and ask for planning permission retrospectively! An English translation to allow the world’s scientific community to actually read the paper doesn’t seem like such a big step.

    Do I detect an excessively intolerant approach to Chinese scientists?

  • Karen Shashok January 24, 2012 at 4:42 am

    How many ophthalmologists outside China can read Chinese? Not many, I’d guess.

    The authors broke the rules about duplicate publication, but whose interests were actually harmed (other than the editor’s sense of authority and control, perhaps) by the publication of good research in English that otherwise would not have been available to readers?

    “Translation self-plagiarism” may violate publishers’ copyright, but given that there is unlikely to be much of an overlap in or competition between the market for information in Chinese and the market for information in English, I wonder if retraction in this case was throwing the baby (good, peer-reviewed research) out with the bathwater (broken rules about secondary publication).

    Editors understandably want to punish authors for breaking the rules, as a way to dissuade other authors from breaking them in the future. But in this case, was it worth it to erase apparently good research from the English-language literature?

    Will the punished authors learn not to break the rules about getting permission for secondary publication and citing it appropriately? Or will they only learn to avoid Current Eye Research and submit their manuscripts to other journals instead?

  • rosta January 25, 2012 at 9:31 am

    I think this is a way too harsh, and while I agree that every 5th person on the planet can indeed speak Chinese, only a handful of non-Chinese scientists can do so.
    Those seem like legitimate papers, and while I understand the editor may have felt deceived, this decision seems a bit too formal.
    Unless the former publisher (who is the one to be annoyed, really) has not granted the right for the translated work to be published, it should have remained in the literature. Ah well…

    • Marco January 25, 2012 at 10:59 am

      See also my earlier comment. Assuming it is that case (and there are really strong indications it is), the Editor of the journal that first published these papers apparently proposed retraction. Add the apparent deliberate deception (the authors ticked the box that indicated these papers were original in content), and I think the journal did exactly what it should do: retract.

  • Sadaboutsaid April 1, 2012 at 3:18 am

    I really could not understand why some people feel sorry for the authors and even critize the editors. If fact this is not the first time for this group to do this. One paper of them was retracted by Ophthalmology in 2006. At that time some scientists in china wanted to discuss over it so that all others can learn something from this bad and shamefully event. however the authors posted the response of the ophthalmology editor, in which the editor even showed great sympathy for the authors and kind of blamed those that took this issue too seriously. Now we do see that they did not learn anything from previous retractqion.
    Worse thing is that the main senior author of all these papers is kind of the number one VIP in the Chinese ophthalmology field and he had spent at least one year in USA so he should know the rules. In my opinion, he just wanted to make use the language excuse to trick.

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