Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Case report on cyst surgery sliced by journal for plagiarism

with 2 comments

Contemporary Clinical DentistryA case report that detailed the removal of a cyst from the side of a young woman’s face has been retracted for plagiarizing text from a similar case report published two years earlier.

Contemporary Clinical Dentistry posted the notice on July 31. Parts of the 2014 report were “directly copied” from a report published in 2012 by the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial PathologyNeither of the reports share authors in common.

The notice reads:

The article “Unusually large submandibular epidermoid cyst: A case report, differential diagnosis and therapy” published in pages 252-255, issue 2, vol. 5 of Contemporary Clinical Dentistry, is being retracted on the grounds of Plagiarism. It has been found that several sections of the article have been directly copied from a previously published article entitled, “Epidermoid cyst of submandibular region”, published in pages 435-437, issue 3, vol. 16 of Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology. The authors of the Plagiarized article have taken the responsibility of the same and hence on the above grounds the article is now retracted.

The 2014 paper focuses on a female patient and the 2012 paper on a male patient, and both present photos. But the abstracts of both papers are nearly identical, and the description of each patient shares striking similarities:

Here’s the patient featured in the 2012 case report:

A 27-year-old male, reported to the clinic with a mild swelling on the left side of face. The swelling was diffuse, and of six months duration. It initially started as a small swelling which gradually increased to present size. Patient had no history of pain in this mass. His past medical and dental history was not relevant too. On examination, extra orally swelling was present on the left sub-mandibular region. The swelling was oval in shape, 5 × 3 cms in dimension. No symptoms of pain and tenderness over the swelling seen. The swelling was freely movable and was not attached to the underlying tissues.

Here’s the patient from the 2014 article, a younger female who the authors mistakenly refer to as male in the description below:

A 22-year-old female patient reported to the clinic with a mild swelling on the left side of face. The swelling was diffuse, and of 6 months duration. It initially started as a small swelling, which gradually increased to present size. Patient had no history of pain in this mass. His past medical and dental history was not relevant too. On examination, extra orally swelling was present on the left submandibular region. The swelling was oval in shape, 2 cm × 3 cm in dimension. No symptoms of pain and tenderness over the swelling seen. The swelling was freely movable and was not attached to the underlying tissues.

The authors of the retracted report are based at ESIC Dental College and Hospital and King George’s Medical University in India. The listed affiliation for the corresponding author of the 2012 paper is Madha Dental College and Hospital in India. The first paper has not yet been cited, but the 2014 article has been cited once, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Deepak Passi, the retracted report’s corresponding author, told us the journal had to withdraw the paper after it violated the practices of the journal “and academic discipline.” We’ve asked Passi if the researchers did treat the described patient:

This is to inform you that we have treated the patient shown in our  article.

Passi added that it is “not the patient similarity in both the case reports,” but the fact that part of their text is “somewhat similar to other article ( > 20%)” that is responsible for the retraction.

We’ve also contacted Contemporary Clinical Dentistry for more details, as well as the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology and the corresponding authors on the 2012 case report. We’ll update with any response.

Hat tip: Rolf Degen

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Comments
  • Mary Kuhner November 19, 2015 at 1:12 pm

    It seems kind of damning that the version which describes a female patient still uses the word “His” to describe that patient’s medical records…. I don’t think I believe the authors’ assurances that the female patient actually existed.

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