Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Reverse tissue engineering: data reuse causes retractions of three papers from German organ researchers

with 11 comments

The body count has reached three for a group of German tissue engineers who appear to have cloned their data in many of their publications.

Tissue Engineering Part A has retracted one of the papers from the investigators, titled “Clinically established hemostatic scaffold (tissue fleece) as biomatrix in tissue- and organ-engineering research,” which was published in 2003.

The notice states:

The Editors of Tissue Engineering are officially retracting the published article entitled, ‘‘Clinically established hemostatic scaffold (tissue fleece) as biomatrix in tissue- and organ-engineering research,’’ by Kofidis T, Akhyari P, Wachsmann B, Mueller-Stahl K, Boublik J, Ruhparwar A, Mertsching H, Balsam L, Robbins R, Haverich A. Tissue Eng. 2003 Jun;9(3):517–523.

This article is being retracted due to the discovery of multiple publications of identical data in the following three journals:

Kofidis T, Akhyari P, Boublik J, Theodorou P, Martin U, Ruhparwar A, Fischer S, Eschenhagen T, Kubis HP, Kraft T, Leyh R, Haverich A. In vitro engineering of heart muscle: Artificial myocardial tissue. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2002 Jul;124(1):63–69.
Kofidis T, Akhyari P, Wachsmann B, Boublik J, Mueller-Stahl K, Leyh R, Fischer S, Haverich A. A novel bioartificial myocardial tissue and its prospective use in cardiac surgery. Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2002 Aug;22(2):238–243.
Kofidis T, Balsam L, de Bruin J, Robbins RC. Distinct cell-to-fiber junctions are critical for the establishment of cardiotypical phenotype in a 3D bioartificial environment. Med Eng Phys. 2004 Mar;26(2):157–163.

Tissue Engineering is committed to the highest standards of scientific content and integrity, and does not tolerate such improprieties.

The retraction of the paper, which has been cited 22 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge, follows the retractions last year of two papers from the researchers that had appeared in the European Journal of Cardiothoracic Surgery. One, from 2003, was titled “Bioartificial grafts for transmural myocardial restoration: a new cardiovascular tissue culture concept,” and cited 17 times. According to the retraction notice:

The data described in this article have already been published in:

One of the conditions of submission of a paper for publication is that authors declare explicitly that their work is original and has not been published elsewhere. Re-use of any data should be appropriately cited. As such this article represents a severe abuse of the scientific publishing system. We apologize to readers of the journal.

It cites the now-retracted paper in Tissue Engineering.

The journal also has retracted a 2002 paper from the group, “A novel bioartificial myocardial tissue and its prospective use in cardiac surgery,” cited 27 times, for the same reason:

This article has been retracted at the request of the Editor-in-Chief and the authors.

The data described in the above article have already been published in J. Thorac. Cardiovasc. Surg. 2002;124:63–9 (doi:10.1067/mtc.2002.121971). One of the conditions of submission of a paper for publication is that authors declare explicitly that their work is original and has not been published elsewhere. Re-use of any data should be appropriately cited. As such this article represents a severe abuse of the scientific publishing system. We apologize to readers of the journal.

We tried to contact the authors for comment, but have yet to hear back.

Comments
  • Fernando Pessoa July 3, 2012 at 7:41 am

    According to http://www.mh-hannover.de/haverich.html

    amongst other things,

    the senior author, prof Dr. Dr. h.c. Axel Haverich won the 1995 “Leibniz-Förderpreis”, Leibniz award for advancement (science).

    “1995 erhielt Professor Haverich den Leibniz-Förderpreis für deutsche Wissenschaftler von der Deutschen Forschungsgesellschaft (DFG).”

    He is the co-publisher of the famous scientific “European Journal of Cardio-thoracic surgery”.

    “Professor Haverich ist Mitherausgeber des international renommierten wissenschaftlichen „European Journal of Cardio-thoracic Surgery“

    was the president of the German society of surgeons 2010 to 2011.

    “2010 bis 2011 Präsident der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Chirurgie”
    http://www.mh-hannover.de/haverich.html

    Axel Haverich is also editor on numerous other scientific journals:

    http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axel_Haverich

    In 2009 he was cleared of scientific misconduct:

    http://www.dfg.de/service/presse/pressemitteilungen/2009/pressemitteilung_nr_16/index.html

  • Concerned July 9, 2012 at 9:16 am

    T. Kofidis will be blamed and that will be the end of it. Nothing will happen to the senior author. This is really too bad. REBIRTH has been putting out some excellent and verifiable work.

    • Concerned, too October 14, 2012 at 11:03 pm

      How come they only found out the multiple publications after ten years?
      Is it true that although Kofidis studied and worked in Germany for many years (with many enemies) he became boss in Asia?

  • Ressci Integrity October 15, 2012 at 12:20 am

    Ahoy…I missed this…T Kofidis – is currently working as an Associate Professor at the National University of Singapore and National University Hospital, I guess. I checked his publication and profile. He is in a high profile position in Singapore. Is this of any concern, national university of singapore? Another breakthrough!!

    @concerned: I feel that nothing is going to happen to Kofidis either – he is probably a star now..what a pity…

    someone should forward this page to National University of Singapore…

    • AX October 15, 2012 at 12:41 am

      Wow, as said, Kofidis has many enemies… but why?

  • Concerned, too October 15, 2012 at 2:55 am

    Seems, since no one can touch Haverich they will go for the small fishes.
    …is it time for a change of era?

    Oh and for so many years they were all authors happy with these published papers and now it’s only Haverich’ s and Kofidis’ s fault?!

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