Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Lesson learned: “What makes a journal great?” essay pulled for plagiarism

with 3 comments

nmjcover

In 2011, a Nigerian journal published an essay entitled “What Makes a Journal Great” by its newly appointed editor, outlining his editorial philosophy — a philosophy that apparently includes lifting text from another source.

That’s right — the Nigerian Medical Journal is now retracting the essay by Francis A. Uba, a surgeon who currently is provost of the college of medicine at Benue State University, after discovering it bore a “close resemblance” to a previous article (euphemism alert):

The article entitled, “What makes a Journal Great“, published in pages 1-2, issue 1, vol. 52 of Nigerian Medical Journal [1] is being retracted. It has been found that the text used in the article bears close resemblance with a previously published article entitled, “What Makes a Good Journal Great?” [2] by Nancy Girard in AORN Journal (Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses). The Editor-in-Chief of Nigerian Medical Journal has taken full responsibility for the mistake and conveys his sincere apologies to the readership.

Obviously, the words Uba used in his 2011 essay were worth repeating:

I discover that for a journal to be truly great it has to always be true to its soul and services. The task before us is enormous. It is one of becoming a Journal that offers ideas with impact. It is expected that our readers will eagerly wait to receive every issue of the Journal and refer to it often. It is desirable that the Journal becomes an outlet of rigorously conducted, relevant, scholarly activities of those academics who consider research as their other passion after teaching. Obviously, the pursuit for this excellence demands commitment and dedication. …

I asked myself what makes a journal great, and I decided that it is the people. We all have a role to play to make the Journal great, both in the content and the quality of production and print; ensuring that the Journal is on time and complete. We must help ourselves by working to improve the standards and publishing what is peculiar to our countries.

We have reached out to Uba but haven’t heard from him. Joy Don Baker, editor of AORN Journal, told us that the retraction was news to her:

I have contacted our author and she as I did not know of this second article and author having taken such liberties with her work and our AORN Journal content.

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Written by amarcus41

September 15th, 2015 at 9:30 am

Comments
  • crh September 15, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    Another ‘close resemblance’:

    “It is desirable that the Journal becomes an outlet of rigorously conducted, relevant, scholarly activities of those academics who consider research as their other passion after teaching.”

    Compare to this, from a 2008 editorial in JOSCM:

    “We want to be known as an outlet of rigorously conducted, relevant, scholarly activities of those academicians who consider research as their other passion after teaching.”
    http://www.joscm.com.br/previous/1-2/editorial.htm

  • Libertarian September 15, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    I realy enjoyed the use of the term “liberties” by Baker.

  • Random Postdoc September 15, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    I am outraged. Until today, I thought the “Nigerian Medical Journal” was one of the finest scientific publications. Now I will have to send my best science elsewhere.

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