Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Duplication leads to retraction of 1997 paper on heart disease genes

with 7 comments

crit rev clin lab sciA top cardiology researcher, Robert Hegele, of the Robarts Research Institute at the University of Western Ontario, has retracted a 15-year-old review after editors were made aware that it was “very similar” to another of his reviews.

Here’s the December 2012 notice for the paper, which has been cited 23 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge:

The Publisher would like to inform the readers that the following review article has been withdrawn:RA Hegele. Candidate genes, small effects, and the prediction of atherosclerosis. Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci. 1997 Aug;34(4):343–67.

It was highlighted to the Editors that the content of this article was very similar to a previously published review article: RA Hegele. The genetic basis of atherosclerosis. Int J Clin Lab Res. 1997;27(1):2–13, which was confirmed upon further investigation.

The author has been fully co-operative with the investigation and agrees with the Editors and Publisher on this course of action to correct the redundancy in the literature record.

Hegele, who was at the University of Toronto when the paper was published, had funding from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario and the Medical Research Council (now the CIHR). He tells Retraction Watch that the journal alerted him to the duplicated text, but he does not know how it came to their attention. It seems likely that the editors were tipped off by a November 2011 email from the pseudonymous Clare Francis.

Written by Ivan Oransky

January 18th, 2013 at 8:56 am

  • chirality January 18, 2013 at 10:10 am

    “He tells Retraction Watch that the journal alerted him to the duplicated text”. It is probably semantics but can you be alerted to something you already know?

  • Toby January 18, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    Clare Francis strikes again. Well done!

    • Stewart January 18, 2013 at 4:20 pm

      The whistleblower – Is Clare her real name or is she anonymous?

      • Average PI January 18, 2013 at 4:33 pm

        It’s an anagram of the real name, probably. People cannot resist the temptation to do that.

        • Stewart January 18, 2013 at 4:41 pm

          Do you know of anyone who has used the anagram fo their real name to report scientific fraud?

          • Average PI January 18, 2013 at 6:02 pm

            I think the SF guy did.

  • fernando pessoa January 22, 2013 at 4:22 am

    “There are all kinds of reasons for wanting to be anonymous, and they started thousands of years before humankind even imagined blogs and the internet.”

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