Let’s say you’re a researcher who’s just gotten reviews back from your latest manuscript, asking for some revisions. Luckily, you find yourself at a conference and spot a presentation that’s related to your work. So you use a bunch of that presentation material in your paper.
Unfortunately for you, the guy who gave that conference presentation sees your paper when it’s published — and he’s justifiably unhappy enough to contact the editors.
Well, that’s what happened when two Australian researchers, Kristine Deray and Simeon Simoff, published a paper in the International Journal of Medical Informatics. Deray was at a conference where Andrew Lucia was presenting work titled, perhaps ironically in hindsight, “Memory, Difference, and Information.”
Here’s the February 15 notice for “Designing for healthy living: Supporting reflectivity on interactions in healthcare,” which originally appeared in December 2011:
This article has been retracted: please see Elsevier Policy on Article Withdrawal (http://www.elsevier.com/locate/withdrawalpolicy).
This article has been retracted at the request of the Editors.
This paper has been retracted as it substantively plagiarizes the work of Andrew Lucia and colleagues Lucia, Jones, & Sabin. “Memory, Difference, and Information: Generative Architectures Latent to Material & Perceptual Plasticity” Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Information Visualisation, IEEE Computer Society. London. pp. 379–388: http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/IV.2011.54.
The offending paper was published in a special issue of IJMI and the guest editors and original reviewers were unaware the work of Lucia and colleagues. In February 2012, Lucia contacted the editors highlighting 13 instances of potential plagiarism. Upon review the text in question in each of these 13 cases was introduced into the manuscript during the revision process after initial peer review. The revision was submitted after the paper by Lucia had been presented at the conference on Information Visualisation
The editors of IJMI in consultation with the resources provided by our publisher have determined that Delray and Simoff did in fact substantively plagiarize the work of Lucia. The IEEE Computer Society “found that there was level four plagiarism,” and requested and received a letter of apology from Deray and Simoff.
The lack of attribution to another scientist’s work is among the most egregious problems we face as editors because this problem is not necessarily self-correcting. Without the diligence of the offended author, the editors of IJMI might have never known of this publication misconduct. Moreover, it has taken almost a year from the date of initial publication to partially rectify this wrong. We also apologize to Andrew Lucia and his colleagues for not reacting sooner.
Lucia tells Retraction Watch:
Ironically, the only reason I ever noticed the plagiarism in the first place was due to the fact that Deray and Simoff had cited a figure from my paper in theirs. I was intrigued and decided to read their article. To my astonishment, many portions of the article read entirely too familiar … they were my words or very nearly (without citation).
While Lucia called the apology letter from Deray and Simoff “rather insincere” — we’ve tried them for comment — he’s satisfied with the retraction itself:
The editors at IJMI acted in an extremely professional and attentive manner throughout the process, including giving the offending authors ample opportunity to correct the situation, which they chose not to. In the end it was decided by the editors of IJMI that a retraction would be the appropriate course of action.
This is one of the most detailed retraction notices we’ve ever seen. Kudos to the editors of the journal.
Hat tip: Maria Wolters