A case of “inadequate procedural or methodological practices of citation or quotation” causing an “unacceptable level of text parallels” has sunk a review paper, but not a thesis, for a PhD who studied memory consolidation at Maynooth University in Ireland. According to a statement from the school, Jennifer Moore used “poor practice of citation and attribution” in both her thesis and in a review article published with her post-graduate P.I. in Reviews in the Neurosciences.
The review article, which has been cited four times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge, will be retracted. Because there was no data fabrication and “no misleading of other scientists or laboratories,” the school will not be retracting the thesis nor taking away her PhD.
According to Google Scholar, the review has been cited 8 times. Moore now works as a neuropsychologist at the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. We’ve contacted her for comment and will update if we hear back.
Here’s the notice for “Reconsolidation Revisited: A Review and Commentary on the Phenomenon”:
The Editor and the Publisher of Reviews in the Neurosciences retract from publication the following article:
Jennifer L. Moore and Richard A.P. Roche
Reconsolidation Revisited: A Review and Commentary on the Phenomenon. Rev. Neurosci. 18 (2007), pp. 365 – 382, DOI: 10.1515/REVNEURO.2007.18.5.365.
This retraction is due to an unacceptable level of text parallels with several other sources. The following is a statement of the authors:
It has come to our attention that our review and commentary paper contains the words, phrases and sentences of others without correct or adequate citation, in a situation where there might be a legitimate expectation of original authorship. We therefore request a retraction of the article.
This situation has come as a shock to all the authors and we wholeheartedly regret and apologise for this to the journal, readership and especially the original authors. It was never our intent to disguise the origin of the work presented in this literature review but arose from either inadequate procedural or methodological practices of citation or quotation that we were using at the time.
We hope that the journal and readership accepts this full and frank acknowledgment. Whilst it is no excuse for the lapse above the original paper was a commentary/review piece and as such the discipline can be re-assured that no primary material is affected by this retraction.
and on behalf of Jennifer Moore
Here’s a statement from Maynooth University:
Maynooth University has investigated an issue in relation to the thesis of a PhD student from 2007. The student has made a full acknowledgement of defects in the thesis related to poor practice of citation and attribution.
A subsequent review paper, based on the literature review of the PhD thesis has been withdrawn, from ‘Reviews in the Neuroscience’ and a retraction notice has been published.
According to policy, the issue has been reviewed by the University’s ethics committee and it has been decided to permit the thesis to stand, subject to the necessary corrections in relation to citation and attribution. The committee noted that while it was a serious matter, there had been no contamination of primary literature, no misleading of other scientists or laboratories, and an audit of the scientific data found that no fraudulent data was presented.
The thesis was completed in 2007 and Maynooth University’s systems and processes are being adapted to incorporate latest technologies, then unavailable, to ensure a similar issue cannot reoccur.