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Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Crise de foie: Liver journals retract duplicate biomarker pubs

with 7 comments

Two liver journals have retracted articles from a group of Irani researchers who published similar — but not quite identical — versions of the same paper some months apart.

A retraction notice in the Journal of Gastrointestinal and Liver Diseases — which bills itself as the “Official Journal of the Romanian Societies of Gastroenterology” explains what happened:

It has been brought to the Editor-in-chief’s attention that a paper published in the Journal of Gastrointestinal and Liver Diseases in June 2010 (Parsian H et al. Serum hyaluronic acid and laminin as biomarkers in liver fibrosis. J Gastrointestin Liver Dis 2010; 19 / 2: 169-174) has very close similarities to a paper of the same authors published in 2009 in the New Zealand Journal of Medical Laboratory Science (Parsian H et al. Attenuation of serum laminin concentrations upon treatment of chronic hepatitis. N Z J Med Lab Sci 2009; 63 / 1: 12-17). This fact was discovered by Robert Siebers, the Editor-in-chief of the N Z J Med Lab Sci, who also found that some of the data of the identical groups in both papers differed to some degree. Both peer-reviewed journals have received from the submitting authors a letter mentioning that their paper has not been published in its current form or in a substantially similar form, a fact certified with the signatures of all authors. The first publication was not referenced in the second one.

According to the guidelines from the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME) this amounts to substantial self-plagiarism which is not allowed and requires either a retraction or redundant publication notification. The Editors of the New Zealand Journal of Medical Laboratory Science decided to make a simultaneous retraction, because of the differences in various laboratory parameters in the otherwise identical patient groups, so that they cannot guarantee that the results in both journals are correct. The authors of both articles have been advised of the retraction notices and the reasons why.

The notice is signed by Monica Acalovschi,  editor-in-chief of the JGLD. The paper has been cited seven times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

We can’t find the New Zealand publication online, so we’ll take Acalovshi’s word for the dual retraction. However, we’ll note that the infractions she describes don’t end at self-plagiarism and duplication. It appears that the researchers may have doctored their data, too: “some of the data of the identical groups in both papers differed to some degree” — at least, if we take the word “groups” to mean groups of patients, not research groups.

For those of you wondering, “crise de fois foie” is “crisis of the liver.”

Updated, 10 a.m. Eastern, 4/9/12, to correct “fois” in headline and last sentence to “foie.” Thanks to Andre Picard, Michael Balter, and commenter Toto Totoro — and apologies to all of our French-speaking readers!

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7 Responses

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  1. Your title could be a multi-meaning pun. In French,
    foie= liver
    fois=times (as number of times)
    foi=faith

    so “crise de fois”, which certainly doesn’t exist in French, could be about duplicates, but if you mean that digesting too much duplications is bad for your health, it should be “crise de foie”

    Keep on bringing retractions, there are never enough !

    • So, a crise de fois leads to a crise de foie and a crise de foi… that is, a crisis of times (self-plagiarism) leads to indigestion and a crisis of faith. Bad French, very bad french. But funny.

  2. La “crise de foie” associe nausées, vomissements, langue pâteuse, maux de tête, parfois vertiges et difficulté à supporter la lumière. L’expression populaire “crise de foie” désigne en fait un ensemble de manifestations digestives et neurologiques.
    L’expression populaire “crise de foie” mais qui n’ont rien à voir avec le foie, finalement !
    La “crise de foie” est de fait souvent une indigestion alimentaire due à un repas trop copieux, trop riche en graisses, trop arrosé.
    A little googling reveals that, in French, the “crisis of the liver” is apparently an “upset stomach” (une indigestion alimentaire) from eating too much fatty or greasy food, like pate de foie gras, heheh.
    There’s confusion with neurological symptoms that suggest abdominal migraine…another story.
    So, self-plagiarism leads to indigestion and maybe a migraine, no surprise.
    Thought you’d like to know.

    • As my brain’s memory has only limited storage, this piece of information has led to me forgetting my credit card’s PIN code ,-)

      Sebastian

      April 10, 2012 at 11:51 am

  3. 2 more retractions in Journal of Gastrointestinal and Liver Diseases

    http://www.jgld.ro/2012/2/21.pdf

    Fernando Pessoa

    June 22, 2012 at 5:41 am

  4. PubMed citations for the above 2 retractions::

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22720315

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22720316

    Both in J Gastrointestin Liver Dis. 2012 Jun;21(2):227.

    Hats off to the editor of Journal of Gastrointestinal and Liver Diseases, M Acalovschi!

    Fernando Pessoa

    June 22, 2012 at 5:47 am

  5. I am the Editor of the New Zealand Journal of Medical Laboratory Science. The retraction notice regarding Parsian et al’s article in our journal is freely available at http://www.nzimls.org.nz/nzimls-journal,portfolio,,44,April+2012.html. Here is the text:

    The above named article has been retracted from the New Zealand Journal of Medical Laboratory Science.
    It came to our attention that a paper by the same authors appeared in the Journal of Gastrointestinal and Liver Diseases (Parsian H, Rahimipour A, Nouri M, Somi MH, Qujeq D, Fard MK, Agcheli K.
    Serum hyaluronic acid and laminin as biomarkers in liver fibrosis. J Gastrointestin Liver Dis 2010; 19 (2): 169-174) that was similar in many aspects to their article in our journal. These similarities were:
    • The patient group was identical in all aspects including inclusion criteria, histological assessment, treatment and follow up.
    • The control group was identical in all aspects.
    • Mean serum laminin levels between patients and controls were virtually identical in both articles.
    • Characteristics of the patient and control groups were identical for gender and age but differed to some degree for ALT, AST, Alkaline Phosphatase and platelet count in the patient group, but not in the control group.
    • Serum laminin levels were identical in all subgroups before treatment, but were somewhat different for fi brosis stage 0 at 2, 4 and 6 months treatment.
    • ROC curves and data derived there from were identical for serum laminin in both articles.
    According to guidelines from the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME) this amounts to substantial self-plagiarism which is not allowed and requires either a retraction or redundant publication notification.Due to the fact that there were differences in various laboratory parameters in the patient groups, despite being totally identical, requires our journal to retract the article rather than issue a notice of redundant publication as we cannot guarantee that their results
    in both journals are correct.The authors’ article in the Journal of Gastrointestinal and Liver
    Diseases is simultaneously being retracted.The authors of both articles have been advised of the retraction
    notices and the reasons why. The 1st author of both articles, Dr H Parsian apologised and stated he did not realise that he required our journal’s permission, as copyright holder of the article, to insert
    significant parts of a previous manuscript in another manuscript.The fact remains that he and his senior co-authors signed a letter to the Journal of Gastrointestinal and Liver Diseases stating that
    the manuscript they submitted had not previously been published in full or in substantial part when in fact the majority of the work had previously been published in the New Zealand Journal of
    Medical Laboratory Science.
    We regret having to take this action. Articles submitted to the journal require substantial resources in editorial and reviewers’ time and commitment. However, plagiarism, including selfplagiarism
    is absolutely not allowed and has the potential to distort the literature.
    Rob Siebers, FNZIMLS FSB
    Editor, New Zealand Journal of Medical Laboratory Science

    Rob Siebers

    July 25, 2012 at 5:46 pm


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