Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Skin study retracted twice in triple publication rub

with one comment

Indian Journal of DermatologyThe Indian Journal of Dermatology has retracted a paper on the potential genetic markers of psoriasis that had already been retracted once for redundant publication.

The journal is chalking it up to an “administrative error” that caused it to publish a paper that had already appeared in two other outlets.

According to one of the authors, the “most junior” author published the paper in 2008 in the The Egyptian Journal of Hospital Medicine “without informing other authors.”

When first author Ahmad Settin and the other authors sent it to the IJD in 2009, they were told its small sample size made it a letter to the editor; they decided to “decline submission” and send it to to Acta Dermatovenerologica Alpina, Pannonica et Adriatica, where it was published later that year. When Acta discovered the first version, it retracted the paper in 2013.

Meanwhile, editors at the IJD ended up posting the article, “Association of cytokine gene polymorphisms with psoriasis in cases from the Nile Delta of Egypt,” in 2011 without telling the authors. So they, too, now have to retract it:

The article “Association of cytokine gene polymorphisms with psoriasis in cases from the Nile Delta of Egypt” published on page 272, Vol. 56, Issue 3 of Indian Journal of Dermatology, [1] is being retracted on the grounds of multiple submissions by the author in Acta Dermatovenerologica Alpina, Pannonica et Adriatica entitled ‘Association of cytokine gene polymorphisms with psoriasis in cases from the Nile Delta of Egypt’ [2] and in The Egyptian Journal of Hospital Medicine entitled ‘Molecular study on cytokine gene polymorphism among cases of psoriasis,’ before making a submission to this Journal. [3] Subsequently, there was an administrative error on the part of this journal resulting in publication of the article.

Settin, a professor at Qassim University in Saudi Arabia, said that he didn’t know the paper had been published in the EJHM when he submitted it to IJD or Acta Dermatovenerologica APA. In an emailed statement, he explained how the paper was published three times:

After finishing the scientific part of the work, the youngest one and most junior of the authors has hastened to publish the draft in a local national non-indexed journal (The Egyptian Journal of Hospital Medicine), unfortunately without informing other authors; this was for the sake of her own promotion and that was the first publication on the year 2008: Settin A, Hassan HA, El-Baz R, Hassan TA. Molecular study on cytokine gene polymorphism among cases of psoriasis. The Egyptian Journal of Hospital Medicine. 2008; 31:222-32.

The second submission was by me to the Indian J of Dermatology in the year 2009 to which the editors responded that the article -by its state- is not suitable for publication due to a major pitfall of a small sample size and can be only processed after being corrected as a letter to editor. I have responding by sending many letters declaring that we decline submission and inform the editors that we have submitted it elsewhere  (Acta Dermatovenerol Alp Pannonica Adriat), then to our surprise and in spite of not submitting any revisions or proofs to the article, the editors of the  Indian J of Dermatology have completed processing the paper themselves to be published in the year 2011: Settin A, Hassan HA, El-Baz RA, Hassan TA. Association of cytokine gene polymorphisms with psoriasis in cases from the Nile Delta of Egypt. Indian J Dermatol 2011; 56:272-7.  [PUBMED]

The third submission was to the Acta Dermatovenerol Alp Pannonica Adriat after declining that of the Indian J of Dermatology, in the year 2009 that was immediately accepted, revised and published in the same year 2009 : Settin A, Hassan H, El-Baz R, Hassan T. Association of cytokine gene polymorphisms with psoriasis in cases from the Nile Delta of Egypt. Acta Dermatovenerol Alp Pannonica Adriat 2009; 18:105-12.
This replicate publishing is clearly of no benefit to authors being almost with the same title, author names and content.

When contacted for a statement via email, a representative of Acta Dermatovenerologica Alpina, Pannonica et Adriatica said:

One of the co-authors of the article “Association of cytokine gene polymorphisms with psoriasis in cases from the Nile Delta of Egypt” contacted us after it was published in our journal.
She was very surprised to find two additional articles, published in two different journals (ours and the Indian Journal of Dermatology) as she was only involved in writing the first (original) article on the topic, that being “Molecular Study on Cytokine Gene Polymorphism among Cases of Psoriasis” in Egypt J Hospital Medic, 2008.

We took immediate action upon this notification and the article was retracted due to triplicate publication which of course represents serious academic misconduct.

Koushik Lahiri, the editor at the Indian Journal of Dermatology, replied with a link to the retraction notice when asked for a statement.

The journal — which takes a hard line against plagiarism — is home to one of our all-time favorite stories on RW, when it had to retract an article presenting guidelines for detecting and dealing with plagiarism… for plagiarism.

The Indian Journal of Dermatology version has been cited five times and the Acta Dermatovenerologica Alpina, Pannonica et Adriatica has been cited 14 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. The Egyptian Journal of Hospital Medicine version has not been indexed.

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Comments
  • John Hutchinson September 8, 2015 at 9:37 am

    Settin fairly complains about the “most junior author” submitting a manuscript to the Egyptian journal without consulting the other authors. However, that junior author only recognised the duplication when she saw the other publications, so evidently Settin must also have submitted his manuscript without consulting all other authors. Everyone can learn some lessons about good practice and decent behaviour.

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