Hip, hip, hooray! Hip journal retracts paper that had, well, everything wrong with it

Sometimes, you just gotta retract.

Here’s the retraction notice for “Outcome of short proximal femoral nail antirotation and dynamic hip screw for fixation of unstable trochanteric fractures. A randomised prospective comparative trial,” originally published in Hip International in 2011 by a group of researchers at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi:

This article has been retracted due to infringements of professional ethical codes.

  1. There are discrepancies in the authorship of the manuscript.
  2. There are flaws in the study methodology.
  3. The mean ages are inaccurate.
  4. The study dates are inaccurate.
  5. The Institutional Review Board statement is inaccurate.

Apologies are offered to readers of the journal. Authors must make sure their work is accurate and complies with professional ethical codes.

The paper has been cited twice, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

We asked Hip International editor Robert Spencer how the paper’s issues had come to his attention, and whether there would be more fallout:

The matter was raised by other surgeons in India, and I then investigated it and took it up with the head of department. I am not aware of impending retraction of any other papers.

Of course, we particularly liked the last line of the notice:

Similar cases will be referred to retractionwatch.

14 thoughts on “Hip, hip, hooray! Hip journal retracts paper that had, well, everything wrong with it”

  1. Did you notice how the “metrics” for this paper shot up as soon as it appeared on RW? 🙂 Somebody has a large readership and I can’t help thinking that not that many people would be checking Hip International every day to see if there is anything new.

    How kind of the editor to promise to inform RW of future problems of this magnitude. Wonder why he didn’t tell you about this one?

    Um, or does that mean that he will “refer” future similar instances to RW for sorting out so he doesn’t have to do the scut work? Perhaps he meant “reported” instead of “referred”.

    1. Dear Judy H,
      It appears that you are very much emotionally attached to this article or atleast with the authors.Editor has done justice to this fake paper and to the authors.This journal is International otherwise in India this kind of justice was not possible .Editors bold step will encourage only genuine papers to be published.

  2. I used to work at that place in another department. The first author has a reputation for massaging his data. I am sort of glad his work caught up with him.

    Can you tell us more about the “discrepancies in authorship” please?

  3. This is interesting because one of the reasons, “flaws in the study methodology” would doom all papers for retraction. I can only assume when they say the ages, study dates and IRB statement are “inaccurate” they mean intentionally so.

  4. The implant(PFA-A2 antirotational) in India launched after the RCT finished in AIIMS.No ethical clearance taken from Ethical commitee(as this study has not been conducted at all).Methodology is totally faulty.This paper showsinfringements of professional ethical codes at its highest level(Like institute reputation).One of author is AO trustee(PFN-A2 is implant by AO company)AIIMS(Institute body & ethical commitee) should look after such serious allegations.

  5. Its shocking & at the same time its confirming the common notion that hardly there is any genuine research work in India and specially in AIIMS.What about the other research projects going on there by same authors of national fame having fake paper/work?AIIMS/Govt of India should conduct enquiry regarding this subject because a lot of fund is given to AIIMS for research work.Nation should also know about this shocking news.Today when the president in his speech said that AIIMS should be included in Top ten medical college of world he barely know such facts.

  6. This paper is also displayed in AO Trauma site.These fake papers should be removed from the site immediately and these authors should be blacklisted urgently.Doc M Patel can you please name of the AO Trustee invovled in this scandal?

    1. A Big name in India, I think his name is misused & un-necessory dragged in this case by the first author (BG).He is prof and head of department.But anyhow he has to take responsiblity for such event.
      Other professor is also involved but he is living upto our expectations.(His name is not suprising at all ,as he is known for this kind of work:both in AIIMS as well as outsuide).

  7. if this is the case , why cannot anyone take the lead and inform the higher authorities regarding this. this institute gets the most funds, is considered to be the best and if senior reputed people do this they should be brought to notice. i appeal to you to pursue this matter and report it to indian authorities, and also AO Trauma.

  8. being an ortho surgeon previously from india, i did some search.
    this group has one more paper in musculoskeletal surgery 2012 September, which shows that two of the same authors have retracted their names from another randomised control trial which they have done on scaphoid fractures with 100 cases!!. is this a case of pre-empting any action .
    also the first author has another erratum in IJO this year itself regarding the period of the study being brought forwards 5 years. is there more to it.
    how can the period may be missed by anyone during the proof correction.
    something is really fishy in this orthopaedic department.

  9. I read with great interest the article titled “Local distal radius bone graft versus iliac crest bone graft for scaphoid nonunion: a comparative study” by Garg et al. in musculoskeletal surgery 2012 sep 12. Surprisingly i found that the names of first author and the head of department(Prof PP Kotwal) have been withdrawn. It is not justifiable to publish a randomized control trial when in reality the authors are fake and it becomes highly questionable whether the study was ever conducted? More so I would like to present the following facts in front of you that are of utmost concern.

    If the consultants of the institute have withdrawn their names , then under whom the study was conducted?
    The other three authors are mere short term registrars who were not even a part of the institute when the study was allegedly conducted.

    The extent to which fallacy in the manuscript is evident is scored by the fact that Tripathy SK has never worked at the All India institute of medical sciences (AIIMS) and used to work in post graduate institute, Chandigarh. He has never been a part of AIIMS. Though this RCT claims to have been conducted at a single center (vide methods section)

    Is this not a pure case of fabrication and falsification of data which claims to be level one study. Two of the authors(BG, SKT) have nearly 100 international articles in pubmed in the last 2 years. Is this a matter of falsification in all cases.

    Under what pretext have the authors withdrawn their name? is to preempt some action against them. shouldn’t all the authors be blacklisted and this fact brought to the notice of all as this is not first but second transgression on their part.

    The other two authors have already retracted their names. Can the authors justify who did this RCT. They are only polluting the world literature by publishing the fake papers, deciphering wrong information. 100 cases of nonunion scaphoid is by no means a small number and would count highly in future metaanalysis.
    I urge these authors should be blacklisted from all future publications and this article should ALSO be RETRACTED from Pubmed. Yes, the same two authors (Dr. Garg B and Dr. Kotwal PP) have to their name another fake RCT that has been recently retracted from Pubmed (vide – Garg B, Marimuthu K, Kumar V, Malhotra R, Kotwal PP. Outcome of short proximal femoral nail antirotation and dynamic hip screw for fixation of unstable trochanteric fractures. A randomised prospective comparative trial. Hip Int. 2011 Sep-Oct;21(5):531-6. doi: 10.5301/HIP.2011.8657). The chief editor should decide whether or not stern action should be taken against these authors.


    For any queries , I feel you should enquire from the ethics committee of the above institute and ask for severe penalty to the culprits.

  10. There are many such similar groups working in India now. A careful scrutiny can identify many more. A time has come that none of these papers can be believed. Exaggeration of numbers is the rule, for example if there are 10 cases, they use the “multiplier” method and make it 100, Some guys collect money to write and publish papers, and now they hire statisticians to “conclude”. they have worked in multiple hospitals during the same study period. Really sad state of affairs. Infact some of the papers published by these authors are in top notch journals like JBJS American, British and also some in Indian Journal of Orthopaedics. Look for authors who have published during the period 2006-2012. Thats the clue. Science going the wrong way!! Infact the Govt now says promotions from Assistant Prof to Professor will happen only if you have an indexed publication as first author. So problems are gonna go worse. National Associations should look at this menace. TIME HAS COME THAT WE CANT BELIEVE ANYTHING BEING PUBLISHED EVEN IN TOP QUALITY JOURNALS. Go to pubmed and search some of these names.

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