Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Plagiarism topples paper co-authored by top tamoxifen scientist

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Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy has retracted a 2011 paper for plagiarism by two authors, one of whom, V. Craig Jordan, is a leading researcher on the class of drugs known as selective estrogen receptor modulators, or SERMs, and is credited with discovering the anti-tumor properties of the breast cancer drug tamoxifen.

Jordan, who is scientific director at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University, appears to have been unaware of the offense when the paper was published. Here’s the notice:

The editor would like to inform the readers that the following article has been withdrawn due to duplication of previously published material:

An author of this article, VC Jordan, noticed that his co-author, SS Ko, included various sections and sentences in this paper that were copied from a number of previously published articles. This has also been confirmed by the editor.

We would like to apologise to the authors of the following papers and to our readers for inadvertently publishing replicated material from these papers, which is not condoned by the publishing and scientific community:

  • Lee WL, Chao HT, Cheng MH, et al. Rational for using raloxifene to prevent both osteoporosis and breast cancer in postmenopausal women. The European Menopause Journal. 2008;60:92-107
  • Vogel V, Constantino J, Wickerham DL, et al. Update of the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene (STAR) P-2 Trial: Preventing Breast Cancer. Cancer Prev Res. 2010;3(6):696-706
  • Vogel. Tipping the Balance for the Primary Prevention of Breast Cancer. JNCI. 2010;102(22):1683-1685
  • Riggs BL and Hartmann LC. Selective Estrogen-Receptor Modulators – Mechanisms of Action and Application to Clinical Practice. NEJM. 2003;348(7):618-629
  • Visvanathan K, Chlebowski R, Hurley P, et al. American Society of Clinical Oncology Clinical Practice Guidline Update on the Use of Pharmacologic Interventions Including Tamoxifen, Raloxifene, and Aromatase Inhibition for Breast Cancer Risk Reduction. J Clin Oncol. 2009;27:3253-3258
  • Gnant M. Can Oral Bisphosphonates Really Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer in Healthy Women? J Clin Oncol. 2010;3548-3551

The retracted paper — which has only been cited by the the retraction itself, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge — is the only one we could find by Jordan and Ko, whose name does not appear on the Georgetown website. We have left a message for Jordan and will update this post if we hear from him.

Hat tip: Clare Francis

  • CH July 27, 2012 at 10:32 am

    That Ko does not appear on the Georgetown website may not be surprising, as he is listed on the paper as a visiting professor; it’s likely that the paper was supposed to be the result of his work at Georgetown.

    However, he does appear (with a drawing(?)) on the website of his home institute, Cheil Medical Center: click “Surgery”.

    • Neuroskeptic July 27, 2012 at 1:25 pm

      I think it’s a really weirdly cropped photo…

      • Clare Francis July 27, 2012 at 1:48 pm

        He looks very young.

      • Chip_Molly July 27, 2012 at 4:54 pm

        Good point. The photo looks photoshopped.

      • Jon Beckmann July 28, 2012 at 9:06 am

        It does not have the same background as the others. Not sure why.

  • YouKnowBestOfAll July 28, 2012 at 6:02 am

    It’s good to see that the editors of some COPE members (Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy) do the right thing, while (regrettably) in identical situation other editors of COPE members (for example, Gaceta Sanitaria) stubbornly refuse to do the right thing.
    I wonder if CONSISTENCY is something COPE is concerned?

    • Clare Francis July 28, 2012 at 6:08 am

      In reply to YouKnowBestOfAll July 28, 2012 at 6:02 am

      What is the example you mention in Gaceta Sanitaria?

      Posting a reference would be very helpful.

      The more people that know about something, the more that can write to the editors.

      • YouKnowBestOfAll July 28, 2012 at 6:37 am

        Two figures in the paper “Welfare state, labour market inequalities and health. In a global context: An integrated framework. SESPAS report 2010″ published in Gaceta Sanitaria 2010; 24(Suppl1):56–61” are identical to the figures in earlier publication of the same authors, however, without any reference to this publication entitled “Employment Conditions and Health Inequalities”, Final Report to the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health, 20 September 2007, available here:

        There are striking similarities in the texts of these two publications, again without reference to the earlier publication.

        There are copyright irregularities, since two different parties: WHO and Elsevier claim simultaneously copyright on the material – the two figures and text.

        Figure1. Macro-level framework and policy entry points on p.57 in Gaceta Sanitaria is identical to
        Figure13. Policy entry points in the macro-theoretical framework on p.109 in WHO_Report_2007;
        Figure2. Micro-level framework and policy entry points on p. 58 in Gaceta Sanitaria is identical to
        Figure 14. Policy entry points in the micro-theoretical framework on p.109 in WHO_Report_2007.

        The same figures appear again, and as always with different titles and no reference to WHO_Report_2007, thus misleading the readers that it is new and original work, in:

        (i) “Employment and working conditions as health determinants”, p.165-195 in “Improving Equity in Health by Addressing Social Determinants”, published by WHO 2011 available here:

        (ii) “A Macro-level Model of Employment Relations and Health Inequalities” in International Journal of Health Services (IJHS), Vol.40,No.2,2010,p.215-221.

        (iii) “A Meso— and Micro-level Model of Employment Relations and Health Inequalities” in IJHS Vol.40,No.2,2010,p.223-227.

        (iv) “The Global Impact of Employment and Work on Health Inequalities: The Need for a New Policy Agenda”, essay No.vii in “Dilemmas in Globalization” published by Global Progressive Forum, March 2009,p.61.

        (v) “Labor Market Policies and Social Determinants of Health”, power point presentation, CHNET-Works! Fireside Chat#226

        Clare, is this enough?

  • Clare Francis July 28, 2012 at 9:02 am

    I reply to InYouKnowBestOfAll July 28, 2012 at 6:37 am

    You presented that very clearly!

    • YouKnowBestOfAll August 5, 2012 at 10:08 pm

      In reply to Clare Francis, July 28, 2012 at 9:02 am

      Now, after you got all the details for more than a week, did you do something about it, as you’ve said:
      “The more people that know about something, the more that can write to the editors.”

      As Desmond Tutu points out:

      “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor”
      and I can add to his words “and you encourage more misconduct”

      • Clare Francis August 6, 2012 at 1:41 am


  • mortshirkhanzadeh July 28, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Acta Astronautica is also a COPE member. Despite clear data falsification and duplication of results in the paper below, the editor does not want to correct the record for the readers.

    Authors: Tryggvason B.V.; Duval W.M.B.; Smith R.W.; Rezkallah K.S.; Varma S.; Redden R.F.; Herring R.A.

    Acta Astronautica, Volume 48, 2001.

    More about this case:

    • Clare Francis July 28, 2012 at 12:20 pm

      In reply to mortshirkhanzadeh July 28, 2012 at 12:12 pm

      You need to report the journal to COPE (perhaps you already did).

      • mortshirkhanzadeh July 28, 2012 at 3:52 pm

        Clare, thanks for the links. I haven’t reported the journal to COPE. I will do that soon.

    • YouKnowBestOfAll July 29, 2012 at 6:58 am

      In reply to mortshirkhanzadeh July 28, 2012 at 12:12 pm

      “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark”
      Oh, no, pardon me.
      Something is VERY rotten in Canadian universities!

      When I have reported to another Canadian university case of multiple misconduct and breaches of university’s own “Framework to address research misconduct” by faculty member, I had precisely the same experience 1:1 as described from you

      IGNORANCE, DENIAL, AROGANCE & INTIMIDATION are the main features of the way they deal with well-evidenced allegations, where everything and anything is done by the university to cover-up the misconduct.
      (I wonder when they will start to use hitmen)

      In France there is a proverb which can be translated as:
      “One person is exception, and two are already a queue”
      I can predict that with Canadian universities it will be a long queue.

      I think that Retraction Watch should pay special attention to Canadian universities.
      May be RW can start with featuring your case.

  • mortshirkhanzadeh July 30, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    I reply to InYouKnowBestOfAll July 28, 2012 at 12:12 PM

    Yes, something is very rotten in Canadian universities. Instead of dealing with research misconduct, they do almost everything to silence the messenger. Cases like this should be widely publicised.
    How can one have any confidence in research results coming out of this university when the administration denies the existence of more than 22 duplicated papers with bogus authorship? There are more than 16 journal articles and conference papers that contain fabricated and falsified data: And yet the university administration claims that there is no misconduct. The cover up by the university is hundred times worse than the research misconduct. It is unbelievable.

    • Clare Francis July 30, 2012 at 2:00 pm

      In reply to mortshirkhanzadeh July 30, 2012 at 1:11 pm

      You have already done this many times, but all I can say is: keep writing to the editors of the journals and copy in people who might make a difference.

  • AnonEditor August 9, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    Great to see such as clear and transparent notice!

  • Karen Shashok October 27, 2012 at 7:31 am

    Was there any update on this case?

  • david hardman December 18, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    Two interesting V. Craig Jordan publications.

    Breast Cancer Res. 2008;10(6):R104. doi: 10.1186/bcr2208.

    J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2009 Mar;114(1-2):33-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jsbmb.2008.12.016.

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