To wit: The Journal of Clinical Pathology (JCP) has withdrawn/retracted a 2008 paper by a group of Indian authors (from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, at Deemed University) whose cliff-hanging title asks the question “Tracking the footprints of the rabies virus: are we any closer to decoding this elusive virus?”
The authors have withdrawn the paper following an allegation of plagiarism
Would that be a no, then?
The JCP has another recent withdrawal of a paper, but this one provides nothing in the way of information for its readers:
Yamaguchi R, Mitsuyama S, Tanaka M, et al. Practical considerations in the detection of HER2 status: the pathological perspective. J Clin Path 2011. Published Online First 21 September 2011. doi:10.1136/jclinpath-2011-200046. This article has been withdrawn.
We asked C. Soon Lee, editor-in-chief of JCP, for elaboration and he told us that
Both were withdrawn because of plagiarism of other authors’ work.
Meanwhile, we understand that the JCP will be retracting yet another paper soon, this time for duplication. The article, “Immunohistochemical prognostic markers in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma: validation of tissue microarray as a prerequisite for broad clinical applications (a study from the Lunenburg Lymphoma Biomarker Consortium,” by a group of Dutch scientists led by Daphne de Jong, appeared online in September 2008.
But it was strikingly similar to a 2007 article in the Journal of Clinical Oncology by the same group, titled “Immunohistochemical prognostic markers in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma: validation of tissue microarray as a prerequisite for broad clinical applications (a study from the Lunenburg Lymphoma Biomarker Consortium).” The JCP article has been cited 30 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.
The similarity was first brought to the attention of Lee last July by the JCO and its publisher, the American Society of Clinical Oncology
American Cancer Society. Email traffic we have seen shows that Lee contacted de Jong in October asking for her explanation for the apparent overlap. Here’s her response:
At the time of publication of our paper in the Journal of Clinical Pathology , this issue was also brought up by your predecessor. Much to my embarrassment, I must admit. We have had correspondence at that time in which I have clarified the essential differences between our two papers and indeed the discussion was concluded to our mutual satisfaction.
In brief, the Journal Clinical Oncology paper addresses the ability of pathologists to reliably score optimized immunohistochemical stains and elaborates on the consequences for the interpretation of clinico-pathological correlations and the weight that clinicians should put to these publications. The Journal of Clinical Pathology paper, however, addresses technical reproducibility by pathology labs, the causes of lack of reproducibility and their various solutions. Therefore, of the large validation project performed by LLBC, two largely independent validation studies are reported in the two publications and there is little overlap in the actual information content albeit that the overall conclusions are largely similar: immunohistochemistry is not a sufficiently reproducible method for patient stratification in daily practice.
I hope that this further clarifies this matter and that you can also convince the editor-in-chief of the Journal Clinical Oncology that indeed this matter was taken seriously both by your predecessor at JCP and by myself at the time of publication and in depth discussed and concluded at that time.
That reply evidently neither clarified the matter nor did much convincing — not, at least, quite how de Jong might have hoped.
In late December, Lee sent this reply:
The Editors of the Journal of Clinical Pathology (JCP) and our publisher, BMJ Publishing Group, have met on 6 Dec, 2011, to discussed your publication in JCP in 2009. As alerted by the Editor-in-Chief, Dr Stephen Cannistra, of the Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO), we agreed with him that most of the content of the JCO publication was reproduced word for word in the JCP paper. In view of the later publication of JCP, we regret to inform you that a unanimous decision was made to retract your publication in the Journal of Clinical Pathology, entitled: “Immunohistochemical prognostic markers in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma: validation of tissue microarray as a prerequisite for broad clinical applications (a study from the Lunenburg Lymphoma Biomarker Consortium D de Jong, W Xie, A Rosenwald, M Chhanabhai, P Gaulard, W Klapper, A Lee, B Sander, C Thorns, E Campo, T Molina, A Hagenbeek, S Horning, A Lister, J Raemaekers, G Salles, R D Gascoyne, E Weller Journal of Clinical Pathology February 2009:128-38
A notice on this matter will be made in the next available issue of JCP, and also to PubMed.
We’re curious whether that notice, when it arrives, will state the reason for the retraction.
Hat tip: Clare Francis