At least, that’s what it would have been had we been in Rio. In Palmer Park, Maryland, the sign read: “A Closed Mouth Gathers No Foot.”
A group of Brazilian researchers has retracted their 2009 article on gut bacteria for plagiarism — but not before one of them decried such behavior as the nadir of scientific misconduct.
The paper, “Translational research into gut microbiota: new horizons in obesity treatment,” appeared in the Arquivos Brasileiros de Endocrinologia & Metabologia. It was written by Daniela M. Tsukumo; Bruno M. Carvalho; Marco A. Carvalho-Filho; Mário J. A. Saad, the last of the University of Campinas, in São Paulo. Saad has collaborated with Rui Curi, who has had two papers retracted and four corrected but last summer was cleared in a fraud investigation.
As the retraction notice states:
The authors of the above manuscript would like to apologize and retract it because in some paragraphs there are verbatim and unquoted sentences from others texts, although most of them, but not all, have been referenced. A corrected version of this review will be available in the next volume of Arq Bras Endocrinol Metab.
In a November 2011 interview in Folha de S. Paulo, Saad waxed concernedly about the problem of plagiarism, which he called the “worst type of fraud.”
The now-retracted paper has been cited 12 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. The retraction notice ends with the line:
This retraction confirms the integrity of papers published in Arq Bras Endocrinol Metab.
Given Saad’s experience, we wonder if the editors won’t end up wishing they’d used a phrase with a shorter neck.