Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Heart study retracted because it was submitted without permission of most of the authors

with 4 comments

clincardcoverA group of authors in South Korea has lost their 2012 paper in Clinical Cardiology because, well, they weren’t a group after all.

The paper, “Correlation of Electrocardiographic Changes and Myocardial Fibrosis in Patients With Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Detected by Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging,” came from corresponding author of Konkuk University School of Medicine in Seoul, and a half-dozen colleagues. At least, that’s what the manuscript said.

But according to the retraction notice, Yang had nothing to do with the paper — nor did five other co-authors.

The following article from Clinical Cardiology, “Correlation of Electrocardiographic Changes and Myocardial Fibrosis in Patients With Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Detected by Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging,” by Bong Gun Song MD, Hyun Suk Yang MD, Hweung Kon Hwang MD, Gu Hyun Kang MD, Yong Hwan Park MD, Woo Jung Chun MD, and Ju Hyeon Oh MD, published online on October 15, 2012, in Wiley Online Library (, has been retracted by agreement between the authors, the journal Editor in Chief, Dr. A.J. Camm, and Wiley Periodicals, Inc. The retraction has been agreed because the manuscript was submitted by the first author without the permission of the institution where the research was conducted and without the knowledge or consent of the co-authors listed on the manuscript.

Now, we certainly have seen instances of an author submitting a manuscript without informing listed co-authors. But we can only recall one other case in which the corresponding author wasn’t in on the ruse.

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

  • ed goodwin April 17, 2014 at 11:52 am

    If funded by tax money it should be published provided that the authors believe it is a true and accurate
    representation. If they don’t believe such, they should announce why.

  • harshark1978 April 17, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    Journals in my field send emails to co-authors indicating a manuscript has been submitted and if they are not aware of it, they can contact the journal immediately. I am sure most other journals do it too. If Clinical Cardiology did it and the co-authors lost the email in their unread pile, then I am not sure who is to blame here. I still dont understand the “without the permission of the institution where the research was conducted..” Does my university have to give me permission to publish papers? Never heard of that.

    • JATdS April 17, 2014 at 1:00 pm

      I find it really astonishing that this type of thing still goes on, actually. One would have thought that this was a story from 1984 before the days of the e-mail. In my collaborations, every single decision, and every single revision, gets sent to every single authors, every time, to ensure that there is approval of each and every step of the way. In some cases, colleagues can get irritated for getting so many copies, but I always warn them that one of the risks of not communicating every step of the way is when a problem arises. Everything is hunky-dory until a problem arises, then no-one knows anything suddenly and selective amnesia sets in. So, this story should serve two purposes: firstly to remind authors and scientists, even if your supervisors hate it, even if they say “you take care of it”, ignore that frankly-speaking stupid advice, and send them a copy anyway. Even small things, like a rejection from one journal and re-submission to another one, should be communicated. At least the risk of being labelled a non-group will be removed. And the second piece of advice is to the publishers. It still amazes me that in 2014, most of the online submissions to Elsevier and Springer journals, at least, do not require the input of all co-authors’ e-mails, at least in the plant sciences. Those that do, send a CC to all co-authors, so that’s good, and in the last 1-2 years, it is usually accompanied with a sentence something along the lines of “if you are not a co-author… or …. if you disagree with this submission, then please contact the editorial office”.

      In my opinion, most responsibility if of the submitting/corresponding author (possibly an inexperienced student), but Wiley, you also deserve a serious reproach for having a system that actually still operates on inherent trust in the CA. Please instill online submission systems that demand the e-mails of all co-authors to fortify the integrity of the submission and to avoid embarrassments down the road, including to yourselves.

    • Dan Zabetakis April 17, 2014 at 2:03 pm

      ” I am sure most other journals do it too. ”

      I don’t think most journals do this. For clinical work is it probably particularly futile as these authors are all MDs. Many of them may never use e-mail at all.

      As for permission, all clinical work (and most animal work) is supposed to have Institutional Review Board approval prior to commencement. The first author may not have gotten that approval.

      As for ‘corresponding’ author, that is no longer relevant, I think. Now it is only used as an honorific for the person who wants to be seen as “being in charge”. It is usually or always a junior author who does the actual corresponding.

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