Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

“Dual submission issues” retract both copies of ovarian cancer paper

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Journal of Cellular PhysiologyAuthors of a study on a potential biomarker for ovarian cancer have been hit with two retractions after the results were published twice.

We don’t usually see both copies of a duplicated paper retracted, but this is a somewhat unusual case. In November 2011, a group of authors submitted the paper to Gynecologic OncologyBut two months’ prior, the first author had decided to also submit the paper to the Journal of Cellular Physiology, without listing three of the other researchers, including the primary author on the paper. It was published by the Journal of Cellular Physiology first, then by Gynecologic Oncology, both in July, 2012. 

Jie Chen, first author on both articles, “takes full responsibility for the dual submission” and “other co-authors should be exempted from all responsibilities,” as the retraction notice from Gynecologic Oncology explains. 

This article has been retracted at the request of the Editor-in-Chief and the authors.

The Editors of Gynecologic Oncology were recently alerted to the fact that the article duplicates data from a paper previously published in the Journal of Cellular Physiology (Chen J, Liu X, Zhang J, Zhao Y. Targeting HMGB1 inhibits ovarian cancer growth and metastasis by lentivirus-mediated RNA interference. J Cell Physiol. 2012; 227: 3629-38, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jcp.24069).

The authors of the article have asked the Editor-in-Chief and the Publisher to communicate the following information to readers:

•While the date of submission of the Journal of Cellular Physiology article (14th September 2011) is earlier than the date of submission of the Gynecologic Oncology article (13th November 2011), most of the text in the Journal of Cellular Physiology article was copied, and subsequently modified, from the Gynecologic Oncology article, which was primarily written by Dr Chunyu Wang.

•The three authors of the Gynecologic Oncology article who are not listed as authors on the Journal of Cellular Physiology article, Drs Bo Xi, Yang Yu and Chunyu Wang, were not aware of the dual submission and subsequent dual publication until contacted by the Editors of Gynecologic Oncology.

•Dr Jie Chen, first author on both articles, takes full responsibility for the dual submission and apologises to the readership of Gynecologic Oncology. Other co-authors should be exempted from all responsibilities.

The notice on the retraction reads that it was published in 2014, but a spokesperson for the publisher (Elsevier) told us that is a “glitch”, and the notice was published this year.

The notice from the Journal of Cellular Physiology — which is paywalled, tsk, tsk — reads:

The above article, published online on 19 July 2012 in Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.com), has been retracted by agreement between the authors, the journal Editors in Chief, Gary S. Stein, Harvey M. Florman and Constance E. Brinckerhoff, and Wiley Periodicals, Inc. The retraction has been agreed due to substantial overlap with High-mobility group protein B1 (HMGB1) is a novel biomarker for human ovarian cancer, published in Gynecologic Oncology 126:109-17.

The authors would like to clarify that:

Most of the main text of the article in Journal of Cellular Physiology was copied almost verbatim from the Gynecologic Oncology manuscript, which was primarily written by Dr Chunyu Wang, a corresponding author of the Gynecologic Oncology article.

The three authors in the Gynecologic Oncology article but not in the Journal of Cellular Physiology article, namely Drs Bo Xi, Yang Yu and Chunyu Wang, were not aware of the dual submission issues until contacted by the Editorial Office in December 2014.

The Journal of Cellular Physiology paper, “Targeting HMGB1 inhibits ovarian cancer growth and metastasis by lentivirus-mediated RNA interference,” found that the protein HMGB1 is an indicator of ovarian cancer. It was authored by four scientists from Shandong University and the affiliated Shandong Provincial Hospital in Jinan, China. It has been cited 17 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

“High-mobility group protein B1 (HMGB1) is a novel biomarker for human ovarian cancer” in Gynecologic Oncology details the same study, and includes three of the same authors along with a researcher from Shandong University, one from Baylor College of Medicine and another from the University of Houston. It has been cited 24 times.

A spokesperson for Elsevier, the publisher of Gynecologic Oncology, said that they had no further comment on the retraction:

We feel in this instance that the retraction notice is pretty thorough, we don’t have anything else to add.

When reached by email for a statement, Wang sent back a request:

While being an innocent co-author, I do sincerely request that this story not be published.

Wang did not respond to further questions about the retraction.

We’ve contacted the Journal of Cellular Physiologyalong with rest of the corresponding authors on both papers. We’ll update the story with any response.

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Comments
  • JATdS November 3, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    “A spokesperson for Elsevier, the publisher of Gynecologic Oncology, said that”
    What is the name of the spokesperson?

  • Bi November 3, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    “Dual Publication” is the more accurate wording to describe this case, because this did not stop at the dual submission phase.

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