Retractions we haven’t had a chance to cover, part 3: Another duplication and plagiarism edition

As more and more journals enroll in CrossCheck, designed to ferret out cases of plagiarism, it’s to be expected that the number of papers retracted for copying and pasting will increase. Sometimes, that plagiarism is actually duplication of material that the same authors have published elsewhere, while other times it’s good old-fashioned plagiarism of someone else’s work, as these five notices in our latest edition of “Retractions we haven’t had a chance to cover” suggest:

1. Journal of Minimal Access Surgery: When the editor of a journal where you’ve published sends you an email, it’s a good idea to reply. A retraction notice in the April-May issue:

Urgent Communication From Editor-in Chief Regarding Duplicate Publication

On behalf of the Editorial Team of the Journal of Minimal Access Surgery (JMAS) we regret to announce that the following paper published in the October – December 2009 issue of the Journal of Minimal Access Surgery (JMAS) is hereby retracted:

Deepak J, Agarwal P, Bagdi RK, Balagopal S, Madhu R, Balamourougane P. Pediatric cholelithiasis and laparoscopic management: A review of twenty two cases. J Minim Access Surg. 2009;5:93-6.

In January 2011 we were informed by the Editor of Journal of Indian Association of Pediatric Surgeons (JIAPS) that following paper carrying very similar material from the same authors was published in that journal:

Gowda DJ, Agarwal P, Bagdi R, Subramanian B, Kumar M, Ramasundaram M, Paramasamy B, Khanday ZS. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy for cholelithiasis in children. J Indian Assoc Pediatr Surg. 2009;14:204-6.

As both the papers are almost identical, with minor differences in terms of the number of patients treated, this appears to be a clear case of duplicate publication. In fact, upon tracing the timeline of submission of the papers in JMAS and JIAPS it became apparent that they were submitted to the journals on consecutive days.

We communicated with the first author of the article published in the JMAS seeking an explaination. As none was forthcoming even after six weeks, it was decided to retract the article from JMAS. The Editor of the JIAPS has been apprised of our decision and the Head of the Institution where the publication originated has been informed of the professional misdemeanor on part of their Faculty members. As is customary in such cases, the indexing authoroties, including PubMed have been intimated of the retraction of the paper from JMAS.

We sincerely regret the time peer reviewers and others spent evaluating this paper and hope that there are no instances of duplicate publication in the JMAS in the future.

Neither of the papers has been cited by any other studies, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

2. Platelets: A retraction notice that went online April 28 (links added):

The following article which was first published online ahead of print on 22nd February 2011 has been retracted from publication in Platelets:

Gupta A, Chandra T, Kumar A. Platelet storage lesion: Current proteomics approach. Platelets Epub 2011 Feb 22. DOI:10.3109/09537104. 2010.547958. Cited in: PubMed; PMID 21341971.

This article has been found to reproduce content toa high degree of similarity, without appropriate attribution or acknowledgement by the authors, from the following original articles:

Schubert P, Devine DV. Towards targeting platelet storage lesion-related signaling pathways. Blood Transfus 2010;8(Suppl 3):s69–72.

Thon JN, Schubert P, Devine DV. Platelet storage lesion: a new understanding from a proteomic perspective. Transfus Med Rev 2008; 22(4):268–279.

Kaufman RM. Platelets: testing, dosing and the storage lesion–recent advances. Hematology Am Soc Hematol Educ Program 2006; 492–496.

The journal’s policy in this respect is clear: Platelets considers all manuscripts on the strict condition that they have been submitted only to Platelets, that they have not been published already, nor are they under consideration for publication or in press elsewhere.

Platelets published this article in good faith, and on the basis of legal warranties made by the corresponding author regarding the originality of their work. The article is withdrawn from all print and electronic editions.

Stan Heptinstall (Editor-in-Chief )
Ashley Petrylak (Publisher, Informa Healthcare)

What’s interesting is that while the second-to-last paragraph seems to suggest the authors plagiarized themselves, there are no shared authors between the plagiarized paper and the others. And they’re at different institutions. That suggests this is good old-fashioned plagiarism, and not duplication.

3. Acta Paediatrica: Here’s a case in which two different versions of the same study were published in two days. The uncorrected version — which actually went online first — was the one retracted (link added):

The following article from Acta Paediatrica; ‘Neonatal pulse oximetry screening: A national survey’ by Sok-Leng Kang, Suzanne Tobin and Wilf Kelsall, posted online on 18 February 2011 in a format yet to undergo copy-editing and proof correction, in Wiley Online Library (, has been retracted by agreement between the authors, the Editor-in-Chief, Hugo Lagercrantz, and Blackwell Publishing Ltd. The retraction has been agreed due to overlap between this article and the following article published in Archives of Disease Fetal & Neonatal Edition; ‘Neonatal pulse oximetry screening: A national survey’, published online on 19 February 2011 in its final format, but in advance of the print journal.

A quibble: “Overlap” may be a polite way to describe plagiarism, but it’s also imprecise. Subject matter frequently overlaps.

4. Journal of Surgical Research: Authors of a 2011 study evidently liked a 2009 Urology study enough to copy and paste from it:

RETRACTION: Xu Y, Wu B. Prognostic Factors for Renal Dysfunction After Nephrectomy in Renal Cell Carcinomas. J Surg Res 2011;166:e53.

This article has been retracted at the request of the Co-Editors-in-Chief as it duplicates significant parts of a paper that had already appeared in Urology, 2009;74(5):1064-8, doi:10.1016/j.urology.2009.05.090. One of the conditions of submission of a paper for publication is that authors declare explicitly that the paper is not under consideration for publication elsewhere. Re-use of any data should be appropriately cited. As such this article represents a severe abuse of the scientific publishing system. The scientific community takes a very strong view on this matter and apologies are offered to readers of the journal that this was not detected during the submission process.

The Urology paper has been cited three times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge, but the Journal of Surgical Research paper was not among the citing papers, of course.

5. European Journal of Anaesthesiology: An author plagiarized from three previous studies, according to a retraction notice in the journal’s January 2011 issue:

It has been brought to the Editor-in-Chief’s attention that the article entitled: ‘Study of the systemic and pulmonary oxidative stress status during exposure to propofol and sevoflurane anaesthesia during thoracic surgery’ by Abou-Elenian contains a significant amount of plagiarised text from three previously published articles. Following correspondence with Dr Abou-Elenian the Editor-in-Chief has decided to retract this article.

The retracted study, published in 2010, has been cited four times.

3 thoughts on “Retractions we haven’t had a chance to cover, part 3: Another duplication and plagiarism edition”

  1. Copying results from other own papers clearly is a bad thing, and usually the same will apply to the Introduction and Discussion. I wonder how people see it in the Methods. Like “The method is described in detail elsewhere [ref]. Briefly, we did first this than that while taking care about keeping humidity and temperature right. Finally…” For the sake of the argument let’s assume this ‘brief’ description goes on for several lines. Any objections against copying such a text verbatim? (Assuming the authors retained the copyright of the source article.) I assume this would raise a red flag in CrossCheck.

  2. Hello Retraction Watch,

    You might be interested in this message, which journalists on Science’s press list received this morning. It concerns a controversial Science paper that reported arsenic-based bacteria.

    Dear Science press package registrants,

    At the ScienceExpress Web site today, Science is publishing a set of eight Technical Comments about the Research Article by Felisa Wolfe-Simon and colleagues, “A Bacterium That Can Grow by Using Arsenic Instead of Phosphorous,” (ScienceExpress 2 December 2010). The journal is also publishing a Technical Response to these comments, by Dr. Wolfe-Simon and her colleagues, which includes additional experimental details and discussion. These articles will appear in the journal’s 3 June 2011 edition, along with the final version of the Wolfe-Simon Research Article. They are being published online today to serve journalists, scientists and members of the greater public who have been eager to learn more about the research and the responses it has stimulated.

    The Technical Comments and Response, along with an Editor’s Note and other resources, are available now, for immediate release, at the SciPak Web site on EurekAlert! ( The articles will also be published shortly at, where they will be free with registration.

    The SciPak team

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