Eighteen years later, derm journal retracts overlapping article, citing editorial error

Eighteen years ago, the Journal of Dermatology published an article, “A sulfated proteoglycan as a novel ligand for CD44,” by a group of Japanese researchers (the journal is the official periodical of the Japanese Dermatological Society).

The JoD is now retracting that paper because it overlaps with another article by the same group, published a few months earlier in a different journal.

Here’s the notice (behind a pay wall — tsk, tsk, Wiley):

The following article from The Journal of Dermatology, “A sulfated proteoglycan as a novel ligand for CD44” by Toyama-Sorimachi N. and Miyasaka M., published in Volume 21, Number 11 (November 1994), pp. 795–801, has been retracted by agreement between the authors, the journal’s Editor in Chief, Yoshiki Tokura, and Wiley Publishing Asia Pty. Ltd. The retraction has been agreed due to an error in the Japanese Dermatological Association-based editorial process which resulted in overlap between this article and the following article: “A novel ligand for CD44 is sulfatedproteoglycan” by Toyama-Sorimachi N, Miyasaka M. Int Immunol 1994; 6(4):655–660. The Editor would like to point out that there was no fault on the part of the authors.

The JoD version of the paper has been cited just 12 times in 18 years, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge, while the International Immunology version has been cited 46.

We’re curious what went wrong with the association’s “editorial process” that might have allowed this duplication. If the authors really aren’t to blame, did this manuscript somehow end up published without them having submitted, let alone reviewed it? We’ve contacted the journal and will update with anything we find.

0 thoughts on “Eighteen years later, derm journal retracts overlapping article, citing editorial error”

  1. In the meantime, some wild speculations. Maybe both journals are operated by the same company and a single submission can be considered for publication in either journal depending on which one is more appropriate for the subject matter. Or maybe an overzealous staffer submitted the manuscript to both journals, making the authors not at fault for the original mix-up, although I think they would be at fault for engaging in final arrangements with both journals. Or maybe the editor of the second journal found himself short of material and lifted some “filler” from the first journal without the knowledge of the authors.

    1. http://spore.vbi.vt.edu/dejavu/duplicate/54004/

      Perhaps the editor of the first journal nudged the editor of the second journal.

      International Immunology only has a short list of highly overlapping publications.


      The editors may have decided on zero tolerance.

      The list for the Journal of Dermatology is not that long.


      1. In reply to chirality September 14, 2012 at 11:06 am

        The titles are formulations of the same thing.

        Int Immunol. 1994 Apr;6(4):655-60.
        “A novel ligand for CD44 is sulfated proteoglycan.”
        Toyama-Sorimachi N, Miyasaka M.


        J Dermatol. 1994 Nov;21(11):795-801.
        “A sulfated proteoglycan as a novel ligand for CD44.”
        Toyama-Sorimachi N, Miyasaka M.

        Poor attempt at camouflage?

      2. Doubtful, David, since the journal has no reason to put the blame on itself and not the authors if the authors were to blame.

  2. My speculation: rejected by JoD for not being within its core area, sent to Int Immunol by the authors, editorial error at JoD sent it through the review system anyway and it got published.

  3. It’s been almost one year since I have informed Elsevier and COPE about major overlapping, see my comments @ RW here http://www.retractionwatch.com/2012/09/07/comp-sci-journal-retracts-paper-for-overlap/#comments

    The problem is not just about duplication, but much more serious one of copyright irregularities, since at present three parties (WHO, Elsevier and Baywood Publishing) claim simultaneously the copyright on identical material!?! Just as if London, New York and Paris claim to have the original Mona Lisa!

    So far, Elsevier continues to ignore the problem, and COPE is deflecting it continuously.
    I wonder, What’s the point to trumpet around that publishers/institutions/COPE have Frameworks/Policies do deal with misconduct/irregularities when these are not used and the right thing is not done?

    It’s time for a change and RW is a positive alternative!

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