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Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Mizzou investigating faculty as one heart beats as two in plagiarized — and now retracted — cardiac paper

with 7 comments

The American Journal of the Medical Sciences has retracted a 2012 article on premature heartbeats by a group of authors in Missouri who took “significant” liberties with an earlier paper in Heart.

The offending paper, “Ventricular ectopic beats: an overview of management considerations, “was written by Amar Jadhav and colleagues at the University of Missouri School of Medicine, in Columbia, and published in the February issue of the AJMS.

According to the retraction notice:

The Editorial Office of The American Journal of the Medical Sciences has been advised that the above article by Dr. Jadhav et al published in The Journal Ventricular Ectopic Beats: An Overview of Management Considerations by Jadhav, Amar; Ingole, Apeksha; Chockalingam, Anand. Am J Med Sci. February 2012;343(2):150–154. doi: 10.1097/MAJ.0b013e31821d677b has plagiarized significant aspects of an article published in Heart by Dr. G. A. Ng (Treating patients with ventricular ectopic beats by GA Ng; Heart 2006;92:1707-1712 doi:10.1136/hrt.2005.067843). This constitutes a violation of Author Responsibility and Originality as described in The American Journal of the Medical Sciences’ Conditions for Submission. We are therefore retracting the paper by Dr. Jadhav et al published in The American Journal of the Medical Sciences. The Journal apologizes to the readership for the unethical conduct on the part of the above named authors.

David Ploth, editor of the AJMS, told us that the BMJ, which publishes Heart, contacted him about a month ago with concerns about the plagiarizing paper — which means he acted swiftly to retract the article.

Ploth wouldn’t say how much material in the papers overlapped, but he acknowledged that it was “obvious and significant.”

If the abstracts of the two articles are any guide, the papers are so similar that a plagiarism check would have identified a problem prior to publication. Here’s the retracted article:

Ventricular ectopic beats are commonly seen in daily clinical practice. Majority of them being asymptomatic, some can cause symptoms. In a normal heart, their occurrence is of no clinical significance. However, in the presence of an underlying heart disease, they signify a susceptibility toward more sinister arrhythmias. In some patients, they are triggered by the same mechanism as ventricular tachycardia and these can be cured by catheter ablation. Recent reports on the use of catheter ablation in cases where focal ventricular ectopics are found to trigger ventricular fibrillation. Clinical evaluation and investigations are important in assessing patients with ventricular ectopic beats so that appropriate treatment can be targeted when necessary. This article discusses the current knowledge and practice in this commonly encountered clinical problem.

And here’s the one that was pilfered:

Ventricular ectopic beats (VEBs) are commonly seen in daily clinical practice. They are largely asymptomatic but can cause upsetting symptoms in some patients. In normal hearts, their occurrence is usually associated with no clinical significance. However, there are occasions where the presence of VEBs signifies a susceptibility towards more sinister arrhythmias, especially when heart disease is present. In some patients, VEBs are triggered by the same mechanism that gives rise to ventricular tachycardia which can be cured with catheter ablation. In addition, there are recent reports on the use of catheter ablation in cases where focal ventricular ectopics are found to trigger ventricular fibrillation. Appropriate clinical evaluation and investigations are important in assessing patients with VEBs so that effective treatment can be targeted when necessary. This article discusses the current knowledge and practice in this commonly encountered clinical cardiological problem.

Obvious indeed — made all the more so by the curious colloquialism, “sinister arrhythmia,” which a cardiologist we know well — okay, she’s a relative — tells us is not typically part of the argot for the specialty.

So, while we commend Ploth on acting quickly to yank the Jadhav paper, it seems pretty clear that the case easily could have been caught in the manuscript stage.

Meanwhile, Christian Basi, a spokesman for the University of Missouri, told us that the school is currently investigating the first and last authors on the paper (the second, Ingole, is not affiliated with the school, he said). He sent us this statement from the university:

University of Missouri officials are aware of plagiarism allegations against two of our researchers. MU officials handle allegations of research misconduct according to University policy that is consistent with federal guidelines. Should evidence be found to warrant further action, the case will be referred to the MU Standing Committee on Research Responsibility. Researchers found to have committed research misconduct, such as plagiarism, are subject to discipline including termination.

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7 Responses

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  1. Jadhav et al must now be experiencing arrhythmia of the sinister kind *lol*

    Chip_MoMo (@Chip_Molly)

    August 10, 2012 at 5:48 pm

  2. Congratulations to the editor for doing the right thing.
    RW should follow up and report How the MU researchers have been disciplined.
    This would be the steps to a positive change.
    Then, we’ll hope that other researchers will think twice before plagiarising.

    YouKnowBestOfAll

    August 12, 2012 at 4:52 am

  3. These researchers have ruined the name of the institution and the senior faculty who oversaw the project should be fired. Plagiarism is the most heinous of research crimes and this is not forgivable. I suspect this is not the first time these authors have done it. Textbook plagiarism is rampant in certain parts of the world and these authors have brought it to the USA. Excuses from senior authors such as “I did not read or check the manuscript” and blaming it on post doctoral and medical student co-authors is not acceptable.

    MMCIAN

    August 16, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    • I agree this is a serious issue . The author has ruined the name of institution and strict action should be taken against them . These people should not be representing the university program .

      Mmaca

      August 17, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    • “These researchers have ruined the name of the institution”

      May be this explains WHY so many institutions prefer to cover up the misconduct of their Faculty members by Ignorance, Denial, Arrogance, and even Intimidation.

      I would suggest that RW introduces Transparency Index for the institutions as well.

      YouKnowBestOfAll

      August 19, 2012 at 11:02 pm

  4. I am sure the authors will come up with loads of excuses. A clear message needs to be sent to them: Plagiarism is not acceptable. Their work may also be questionable as the plagiarism may only be the tip of the iceberg. I hope the University of Missouri will redeem its medical school’s tattered reputation by getting rid of these offenders and sending a clear signal to everyone else that no ethical violations whatsoever will be tolerated. This is going to be a test of the university’s senior leadership.

    John Doe

    August 19, 2012 at 11:42 am

  5. I wonder if Mizzou will return the research money it received for the “work” these people did. MMCIAN is correct but knowning the university, the supervisors will not be fired nor will they return the grant money, the fraud just continues.

    scott allen

    September 6, 2012 at 10:02 am


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