Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Smoking cessation paper pulled for “almost word-for-word” similarity to authors’ previous work

without comments

jmfnmThe Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine has retracted a 2008 article on smoking cessation by a group from Sweden which they had published not many months before in a different journal.

The retracted paper was titled “Quitting smoking is perceived to have an effect on somatic health among pregnant and non-pregnant women.” The authors, from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, had published a similar paper — “Perception of Smoking-Related Health Consequences among Pregnant and Non-Pregnant Women” — in the American Journal of Addictions in 2007.

How similar?

Here’s what the retraction notice has to say (link to PDF):

The Editors and Publisher would like to inform the readers the following article has been retracted from publication in The Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine: Ortendahl M, Näsman P. Quitting smoking is perceived to have an effect on somatic health among pregnant and non-pregnant women. J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2008;21:239–246. (doi:10.1080/14767050801924829).

This article has been found to reproduce content to a high degree of similarity, without appropriate attribution or acknowledgement by the authors, from the following original article: Ortendahl M, Näsman P. Perception of Smoking-Related Health Consequences among Pregnant and Non-Pregnant Women. Am J Addict. 2007;16:521–527. (doi:10.1080/10550490701643088).

The text in the manuscript published in The Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine was found to be almost word-for-word identical to the text published in the American Journal of Addictions. The data presented in all 4 tables is also essentially the same, but just presented in a different layout.

The authors have been fully co-operative with our investigations and agree with the Editors and Publisher on this course of action to correct the redundancy in the literature record.

The journal’s policy in this respect is clear: The Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine considers all manuscripts on the strict condition that they have been submitted only to The Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine, that they have not been published already, nor are they under consideration for publication or in press elsewhere.

The Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine published this article in good faith, and on the basis of signed statements made by the corresponding author regarding the originality of their work. The article is withdrawn from all print and electronic editions.

The now-retracted study has not yet been cited, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

There really isn’t much more to say about this case — save this: We get that mistakes happen and labs double submit. It shouldn’t happen, but it does. What’s harder to grasp is how the authors of duplicate articles could live in ignorance of the duplication, or, worse still, know about it and fail to bring it to the attention of the affected journals.

And (okay, maybe there was a little more to say here), we notice that Ortendahl and Näsman have published at least six studies of smoking cessation and somatic health in an 80-women cohort:

They also published a paper on 40 women in the American Journal of Addictions:

Use of coping techniques as a predictor of lapse when quitting smoking among pregnant and non-pregnant women. Ortendahl M, Näsman P. Am J Addict. 2007 May-Jun;16(3):238-43.

We haven’t checked these thoroughly to see how similar they are, but there might be a whiff of salami in the air.

Comments
  • StrongDreams March 7, 2013 at 11:30 am

    This gripes me because as a reviewer and editorial board member, I spend a lot of time on reviews. I recently had a manuscript “withdrawn” by the authors halfway through the review process. If I find they published the same thing elsewhere should I complain? It’s not double publication, but it’s double submission and causes the editors and reviewers (who volunteer their time) double work.

  • chirality March 7, 2013 at 11:35 am

    “Quitting smoking is perceived to have an effect on somatic health among pregnant and non-pregnant women.” – yeah, but what about other women?

    • Average PI March 7, 2013 at 12:50 pm

      Yes, funny. The empty set of women who are neither pregnant nor non-pregnant 🙂

  • aceil March 7, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    Dual submission , duplicate studies, and overlapping content constitute the norm for some. This ought to be looked at soon. It gets to me when I see those who got away with such practices enjoy higher positions in Academia.

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