Heart attack: Two cardiology retractions, plus a notice of duplication, in three different journals

circ researchWe’ve come across three notices in cardiology journals this week, so although they’re unrelated, we’re gathering them here.

Item 1, from Circulation Research:

The authors of the following article, which published Online First on October 9, 2012, have requested that it be retracted from publication in Circulation Research:

Gao Q, Jiang Y, Dai S, Wang B, Gao F, Guo C, Zhu F, Wang Q, Wang X, Wang J, Shi Y, Zhang Y, Chen W, Zhang L. Interleukin 17A exacerbates atherosclerosis by promoting fatty acid-binding protein 4–mediated ER stress in macrophages. Circ Res. October 9, 2012; DOI:10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.112.272567.

After Online First publication, apparent duplication of panels eIF2a in Figure 2B and 2D, XBP1s in Figure 2D and 3A, and caspase 3 in Figure 4A and 4B was discovered. After being informed by the editors of these errors, the authors immediately provided the original blots for these figure panels to the editors. Upon request of the Editors, the Academic Committee of Shandong University School of Medicine conducted an institutional investigation into apparent duplication of at least three figure panels. The investigation confirmed these errors. According to the committee, the authors were able to provide new original blots for these panels that supported their conclusions and attribute these errors to careless management of data. In addition, the original blots of p-eIF2a in Figure 2C and p-PERK in Figure 2D provided to the Committee were similar but not identical to the corresponding figures in the article. As reported to the journal by the committee, the authors could only provide blots with a similar trend for CHOP in Figure 4B because the original blots were missing.

Although the authors stand by their conclusions of the article, they recognized that the errors in the manuscript have affected the impact of the article. Therefore, the authors have requested to retract the article. The authors apologize for their carelessness, and Editors of Circulation Research agree the article warrants retraction in order to correct the literature.

The detail is welcome. We’ll take a look at the group’s other papers — and look forward to seeing what eagle-eyed Retraction Watch readers may turn up. (Hat tip to eagle-eyed reader Rolf Degen, who tipped us to this one.)

Item 2, from the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Over at Forbes, Larry Husten has an illuminating look at the backstory of a Notice of Duplication. Here’s the notice itself:

An article recently published in JACC by Piljs et al. (J Am Coll Cardiol 2012;59:1045–57) duplicates to a considerable extent both the text and figures of a prior article published by De Bruyne et al. in HEART (Heart 2008;94:949–59. doi:10.1136/hrt.2007.122838). Dr. Piljs attributes this duplication to the close collaboration that he has had over many years with Dr. De Bruyne, and the fact that both authors drew text and figures for these reviews from the same repository of material used for a joint educational program. He acknowledges his lack of care in the preparation of the manuscript and apologizes for the duplication. While the Editors accept this apology, we lament the replication of information that prevented the pages devoted to Dr. Piljs’ article from being filled with new material.

The review has been cited five times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. Husten asked the authors, Nico H.J. Pijls and Jan-Willem E.M. Sels, for some details. They told him that the “repository” the notice refers to

is a keynote lecture from the bi-annual Aalst-Eindhoven-Course on Coronary Physiology, which we organize once or twice a year in Brussels since 2001. The Course is endorsed by the European Society of Cardiology and has been organized by us already 17 times.

Bernard De Bruyne used the keynote a the basis of a review for Heart in 2008, they told Husten.

When Dr Pijls wrote his State-of-the-Art paper ( i.e also a review) on the invitation of JACC in 2012, he also used text and slides of that keynote lecture (extended in the meantime) without realizing that Dr De Bruyne had done the same some years earlier. As a result, the first part of Dr Pijls paper is very close to Dr De Bruyne’s review, wheras the second part of Dr Pijls paper reflects the new data and insights obtained in those last 4 years.

Husten has more details, so head over to his post. As he concludes:

When I first read the notice it seemed to me like the case was an indication of a larger wrongdoing. I’m glad my initial suspicions were proven wrong. This is a great example of why editor’s notes should be much more detailed. The truth needs to come out no matter which way it falls.

Amen, brother.

Item 3, from Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology:

The authors of the following article published as ATVBe First have requested that it be retracted from publication in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology:

den Adel B, Daemen MJ, Poelmann RE, van der Weerd L. Molecular magnetic resonance imaging for the detection of vulnerable plaques: is it possible? Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. February 14, 2013. DOI: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.112.300108.

The authors have reported the discovery of textual overlap of a number of sentences with Chen etal (Chen W, Cormode DP, Fayad ZA, Mulder WJ. Nanoparticles as magnetic resonance imaging contrast agents for vascular and cardiac diseases. Wiley Interdiscip Rev Nanomed Nanobiotechnol. October 21, 2010. DOI: 10.1002/wnan.114. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/wnan.114/abstract;jsessionid=53C50C07A83B03E829CCC558B49623E6.d04t02. Accessed March 28, 2013.) without correct acknowledgement of that manuscript. The authors apologize to the readers of Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology for any inconveniences caused by this retraction.

Good on the authors for requesting the retraction — although we of course don’t know what prompted it; who made the “discovery?” — but we continue to marvel at the lengths notices will go to avoid using the word “plagiarized.”

One thought on “Heart attack: Two cardiology retractions, plus a notice of duplication, in three different journals”

  1. Couldn’t agree more that
    “The truth needs to come out no matter which way it falls.”
    However, for some reason the Truth so far is bypassing some – the University of Toronto, for example.

    Trumpeting around the world that the editors/publishers/institutions/COPE have nice frameworks/guidelines/procedures to deal with misconduct is in fact meaningless and even deceptive when these are not implemented in cases of obvious and straightforward misconduct.

    Transparency Index, based on whether the editors/publishers/institutions/COPE are Doing_the_Right_Thing in cases of misconduct (and not just on whether they have frameworks/guidelines/procedures for this) has the potential to fix such flaws and to help the truth to come out.

    It’s about time to start implementing the Transparency Index.

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