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Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Retraction 12 appears for Alirio Melendez, this one for plagiarism

with 5 comments

alirio_melendezThe twelfth of Alirio Melendez’s 20-something retractions has appeared, in Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology.

Along with the retraction notice, the journal runs letters from the paper’s two co-authors. Melendez writes:

It has come to my attention that significant portions of the text in an article I coauthored in 2006[1] with PN Pushparaj were plagiarized from previously published works by Karagiannis and El-Osta[2] and Ryther et al.[3] As the corresponding author for this manuscript I would first like to apologise to the authors whose work was plagiarized and state that I was not aware of this at the time. I sincerely apologise for the oversight. Second, I request that the 2006 paper[1] be retracted.

Peter Pushparaj, now of Beacon Biosoft, writes:

Thank you for bringing to my attention the investigation by the National University of Singapore (http://blogs.nature.com/news/2012/12/immunologist-accused-of-misconduct-in-21-papers.html) into the publications of A.J. Melendez, which uncovered overlap between an article I co-authored[1] and previously published articles. [2,3] I would like to express my apologies to the authors of the original articles. The plagiarism escaped my attention during the publication process. Therefore, as a co-author, I agree to the retraction of this article. [1]

The two letters are followed by the retraction notice:

The following article from Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology ‘Short Interfering RNA (siRNA) as a Novel Therapeutic’ by Pushparaj and Melendez[1] published online on 12 May 2006 in Wiley Online Library (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com) and in Volume 33 (5–6) pp 504–510, has been retracted by agreement between the authors, the journal Editor in Chief Roger Evans and Wiley Publishing Asia Pty Ltd. The retraction has been agreed following an investigation by the National University of Singapore (http://www.nus.edu.sg/) into the publications of A.J. Melendez which uncovered substantial overlap between this article and two previously published articles:

Ryther RCC, Flynt AS, Phillips JA III, Patton JG. siRNA therapeutics: big potential from small RNAs. Gene Ther. 2005;12:5–11, doi: 10.1038/sj.gt.3302356.
Karagiannis TC, El-Osta A. RNA interference and potential therapeutic applications of short interfering RNAs.

Cancer Gene Ther. 2005; 12: 787–795, doi: 10.1038/sj.cgt.7700857.

The paper has been cited 45 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Melendez’s letter is signed by “Dr Alirio Melendez-Romero, Independent Scientific Consultant.”

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Written by Ivan Oransky

April 15, 2013 at 9:30 am

5 Responses

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  1. “The plagiarism escaped my attention during the publication process.” – says the author who committed the said plagiarism. Whatever.

    chirality

    April 15, 2013 at 9:46 am

    • “Gosh, how did that get in there?” Are they pointing fingers at each other, or just hoping the world will get distracted and look elsewhere?

      stpnrazr

      April 15, 2013 at 10:33 am

  2. At least one of the co-authors must be lying about being unaware of the plagiarism. I wish the journal had done something other than publish these two self-serving and contradictory letters. (I’m not sure what should have been done instead, though.)

    StrongDreams

    April 15, 2013 at 9:55 am

  3. It’s interesting that Peter Pushparaj chooses to list Beacon Biosoft as his contact address. Beacon Biosoft is a graphics/animation company in India, where he says he has been involved since 2010 (either as ‘on the advisory board, or ‘chief scientific adviser’ — both affiliations are given on his CV http://www.kau.edu.sa/GetFile.aspx?id=140286&fn=Dr.%20Peter%20Natesan.pdf). But he’s also still a working research scientist, an employee of King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia (http://www.kau.edu.sa/ContactsSearch.aspx?Lng=EN&Cont=20683).

    Richard Van Noorden

    April 15, 2013 at 10:04 am

  4. The classic wayward subordinate defense was not possible, as no subordinate in author list of paper, hence two letters. QED.

    ferniglab

    April 15, 2013 at 10:08 am


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