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Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

You’ve been dupe’d: Catching up on authors who liked their work enough to use it again

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photo by Mark Turnauckas via Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/marktee/

As we’ve noted before, we generally let duplication retractions make their way to the bottom of our to-do pile, since there’s often less of an interesting story behind them, duplication is hardly the worst of publishing sins, and the notices usually tell the story. (These are often referred to — imprecisely — as “self-plagiarism.”)

But that skews what’s represented here — boy, are there a lot of duplication retractions we haven’t covered! — and we might as well be more comprehensive. Plus, our eagle-eyed readers may find issues that we won’t see on a quick scan.

So with this post, we’re inaugurating a new feature here at Retraction Watch, “You’ve been dupe’d.” Every now and then, we’ll gather five of these duplication retractions at a time, and post them so they get into the mix, and into our category listing (see drop-down menu in right-hand column if you haven’t already). Here are the first five:

1. The AAPS Journal, “Recent advances for the treatment of cocaine abuse: central nervous system immunopharmacotherapy,” by Tobin J. Dickerson and Kim D. Janda, cited by 25 other papers:

“Recent advances for the treatment of cocaine abuse: central nervous system immunopharmacotherapy. AAPS Journal. 2005; 07(03): E579-E586” has been retracted because of a substantial degree of duplication with “Bacteriophage-mediated protein delivery into the central nervous system and its application in immunopharmacotherapy. Expert Opin Biol Ther. 2005 Jun;5(6) 773–781.”

Noteworthy: This is referred to on the journal’s site as an erratum as well as a retraction.

2. Biophysical Journal, “Funneled Landscape Leads to Robustness of Cellular Networks: MAPK Signal Transduction,” by Jin Wang, Bo Huang, Xuefeng Xia, and Zhirong Sun, cited 33 times:

This article has been retracted: please see Elsevier Policy on Article Withdrawal (http://www.elsevier.com/locate/withdrawalpolicy).

This article has been retracted at the request of the Editor-in-Chief.

The editors have noted that there is a substantial overlap of text and content between this Biophysical Journal article and the following article: Wang, J., Huang, B., Xia, X., and Sun, Z., Funneled landscape leads to robustness of cell networks: yeast cell cycle. PLoS Comput. Biol., 2 (2006) e147, http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.0020147.

The submission of this paper was inconsistent with Biophysical Journal policy, which states: “Manuscripts submitted to Biophysical Journal(BJ) must be original; papers that have already been published or are concurrently submitted elsewhere for publication are not acceptable for submission. This includes manuscripts previously submitted to (BJ), as well as material that has been submitted to other journals while (BJ) is considering the manuscript. If some part of the work has appeared or will appear elsewhere, the authors must give the specific details of such appearances in the cover letter accompanying the (BJ) submission. If previously published illustrative material, such as figures or tables, must be included, the authors are responsible for obtaining the appropriate permissions from the publisher(s) before the material may be published in (BJ).”

We are therefore retracting the publication of the Biophysical Journal article.

The authors do not agree with this decision.

Noteworthy: Authors are usually either absent from duplication notices, or they apologize. These authors apparently wanted to take a stand.

3. International Journal of Surgery Case Reports, “Nipple adenoma in a man: An unusual case report,” by S. Boutayeb, S. Benomar, Y. Sbitti, T. Harroudi, B. Hassam, and H. Errihani:

This article has been retracted: please see Elsevier Policy on Article Withdrawal (http://www.elsevier.com/locate/withdrawalpolicy).

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

This article is a duplicate of a paper that has already been published in WebmedCentral Cancer, 1 (2010) WMC00605 (Boutayeb, S., Benomar, S., Hassam, B., Errihani, H., Adenoma of The Nipple in a Man: Case Report). One of the conditions of submission of a paper for publication is that the authors declare explicitly that the paper has not previously been published and is not under consideration for publication elsewhere. As no such declaration was made and the article did not refer to the earlier paper it is being withdrawn in line with journal policy.

4. Journal of Diabetes & Metabolic Disorders, “Mobile phone text messaging and telephone followup in type 2 diabetic patients for 3 months: a comparative study,” by Mirta Zolfaghari, Seyedeh A Mousavifar and Hamid Haghani:

This article (Zolfaghari M, et al., Metabolic Disorders 2012, 11:7) has been retracted as it has already been published in the Iranian Journal of Diabetes and Obesity (Zolfaghari M, et al., Iranian Journal of Diabetes and Obesity 2009, 1(1):45-51).

5. Nonlinear Analysis: Theory, Methods & Applications, “Approximation of solutions of generalized equations of Hammerstein type,” by C.E. Chidume and Y. Shehu:

This article has been retracted: please see Elsevier Policy on Article Withdrawal (http://www.elsevier.com/locate/withdrawalpolicy).

This article has been retracted at the request of the Editors-in-Chief.

The authors have plagiarized part of a paper that had already appeared in Comp. Math. Appl., 63 (2012) 966–974, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.camwa.2011.12.001. One of the conditions of submission of a paper for publication is that authors declare explicitly that their work is original and has not appeared in a publication elsewhere. Re-use of any data should be appropriately cited. As such this article represents a severe abuse of the scientific publishing system. The scientific community takes a very strong view on this matter and apologies are offered to readers of the journal that this was not detected during the submission process.

Noteworthy: The journal calls this “plagiarism,” even though it’s duplication.

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4 Responses

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  1. Signs your blog is becoming too popular…

    (1) You have to start lumping posts together in groups of 5 because the material is coming in too fast.

    On a side note, given that it’s election night, I’ll be interested to see if you report on any retractions of early calls by the major networks.


    November 6, 2012 at 8:58 pm

  2. An interesting aside is that I was told in one of my online courses that it was not necessary to formally reference myself when I reused my own material – but I insisted that I should because that is what is expected in professional works. It also makes reading your work flow more easily because it answers that nagging question, “Where have I heard this before?”

    Marjory Munson

    November 7, 2012 at 3:41 am

  3. If one suspects a self-plagiarised article or of someone “slicing the salami” as the popular term goes – how does one detect it? Does Retractionwatch also offer “investigative services” in the same?


    November 9, 2012 at 2:51 am

    • Here is one example of how the self-plagiarism works:

      The material from “Employment Conditions and Health Inequalities”, Final Report to the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health (CSDH), 20 September 2007, available here: http://www.who.int/social_determinants/resources/articles/emconet_who_report.pdf
      appears sliced in 11 (eleven) articles by the same authors – Joan Benach and Carles Muntaner, published in International Journal of Health Services (Baywood Publishing) Vol. 40, No. 2, 2010, with editor their close friend Vicente Navarro.
      Then, part of the original WHO report (2007) appears in one more article from the same duo in Gaceta Sanitaria (Elsevier) with editor their close friend Carme Borrell.
      Then, part of the original WHO report (2007) appears in one more article from the same duo in 2011 WHO publication http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2011/9789241503037_eng.pdf

      Necessary conditions for successful self-plagiarism:
      1) friendly editor who will close his/her eyes for the obvious misconduct;
      2) ignorant publisher and/or COPE who will ignore the obvious breach of the guidelines/frameworks/rules;
      3) supportive author’s institution, i.e. to cover up the misconduct, should someone points it out.

      Anyone can produce infinite number of papers based entirely on self-plagiarism, provided that the above mentioned conditions are met.

      So far it “works” for Joan Benach and Carles Muntaner.


      November 11, 2012 at 6:38 am

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