Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Plagiarism detected in two papers on improving detection of cancer by mammograms

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A group of computer scientists has a pair of retractions for duplicating “substantial parts” of other articles written by different authors. Both papers, published in Neural Computing and Applications, are on ways to screen for breast cancer more effectively.

According to the abstract of  “An improved data mining technique for classification and detection of breast cancer from mammograms,” computers make the process of identifying cancer in lesions detected by mammograms faster and more accurate:

Although general rules for the differentiation between benign and malignant breast lesion exist, only 15–30% of masses referred for surgical biopsy are actually malignant. Physician experience of detecting breast cancer can be assisted by using some computerized feature extraction and classification algorithms. Computer-aided classification system was used to help in diagnosing abnormalities faster than traditional screening program without the drawback attribute to human factors.

The article has been cited four times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.  The retraction note reveals where “substantial parts” of the article came from:

The Editor-in-Chief has decided to retract this article. Upon investigation carried out according to the Committee on Publication Ethics guidelines, it has been found that the authors have duplicated substantial parts from the following article:

Development of a computer-aided classification system for cancer detection from digital mammograms Author(s) Alolfe, M.A.; Dept. of Syst. and Biomed. Eng., Cairo Univ., Cairo; Youssef, A.-B.M.; Kadah, Y.M.; Mohamed, A.S.

The retraction note for the other paper, “Mass classification method in mammograms using correlated association rule mining,” is identical, except for the article that the authors plagiarized from:

Classification Using Association Rules, Rajanish Dass W.P. No. 2008-01-05 January 2008 Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, India

The original paper hasn’t yet been cited.

We reached out to the editor in chief of the journal to ask how the issues with the papers came to light. A spokesperson got back to us:

The issue was reported to us by an external party.  We investigate all complaints raised with us and follow COPE guidelines.  We do not have any further comment to make beyond the retraction notice.

We’ve reached out the authors of the paper, Aswini Kumar Mohanty, Manas Ranjan Senapati, and Saroj Kumar Lenka. We’ll update this post if we hear back.

Hat tip: Rolf Degen

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