21-year-old article on the sex lives of women with cancer retracted for data misuse

journal of sex researchHere’s one for the way-back machine.

The Annual Review of Sex Research (which is a supplement to the Journal of Sex Research) has retracted a 1992 paper by a group of researchers who lifted much of their analysis from two even older articles by another scholar. At 21 years post-publication, this is one of the oldest — but not the record-oldest — retractions we’ve covered to date.

The pulled paper, “Sexuality and cancer in women,” came from Willibrord C. M. Weijmar Schultz, Harry B. M. Van de Wiel, Daniela E. E. Hahn, and Mels F. Van Driel. (Weijmar Schultz and Van de Wiel  are co-authors of this rather curious passage about the appropriateness of sexual contact between doctors and patients:

Sexual attraction to patients is in itself only human and is not to be forbidden. What counts is whether the reaction to it is a professional one. In other words, sexual attraction to patients is a professional risk, one of many.

Such as … stealing someone else’s ideas?

As the retraction notice explains:

We, the Editor, the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, and the Publisher of the Journal of Sex Research are retracting the following article:

Weijmar Schultz, W. C. M., Van de Wiel, H. B. M., Hahn, D. E. E., & Van Driel, M. F. (1992). Sexuality and cancer in women, Annual Review of Sex Research, 3:1, 151–200. DOI: 10.1080/10532528.1992.10559878

The Editor, Society, and Publisher received notice of an allegation of misconduct on the part of the Authors, namely, the Authors submitted the aforementioned paper to the journal without obtaining permission from Dr. Diana Jeffrey (formerly Dr. Diana Bransfield) regarding use of research from the following co-authored work in Sexual & Marital Therapy:

Weijmar Schultz, W. C. M., Bransfield, D. D., Van de Wiel, H. B. M., & Bouma, J. (1992). Sexual outcome following female genital cancer treatment: A critical review of methods of investigations and results. Sexual & Marital Therapy, 7:1, 29–64. DOI: 10.1080/02674659208404465

The aforementioned article also failed to reference the following dissertation:

Bransfield, D. D. Psychosexual functioning after irradiation for gynecologic cancer. Dissertation Abstracts International. Vol. 45 (12-B, Pt 1), June 1985, pp. 3990–3991.

The Editor, Society, and Publisher find this allegation to be valid. These actions constitute a breach of warranties made by the authors with respect to originality. We note we received, peer-reviewed, accepted, and published this article in good faith based on these warranties, and censure these actions.

The retracted article will remain online to maintain the scholarly record, but it will be digitally watermarked on each page as RETRACTED.

Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
June 2013

The paper has been cited 26 times, according to Google Scholar.

Please see an update on this post.

4 thoughts on “21-year-old article on the sex lives of women with cancer retracted for data misuse”

    1. That is extremely interesting as two of the authors also were also authors of an article retracted due to “substantial overlap” with a paper that I published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

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