Dental journal pulls article for “sufficient evidence” of plagiarism

ImageA group of dental researchers from India has lost their 2008 paper on the salubrious effects of coconut water on periodontal health.

The article, “Comparison of coconut water, propolis, HBSS, and milk on PDL cell survival,” appeared in the Journal of Endodontics, an Elsevier title. It has been cited 24 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Here’s the abstract:

Coconut water is biologically pure and sterile, with a rich presence of amino acids, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. The purpose of this study was to use a collagenase-dispase assay to investigate the potential of a new storage medium, coconut water, in comparison with propolis, Hank’s balanced salt solution (HBSS), and milk in maintaining viable periodontal ligament (PDL) cells on simulated avulsed teeth. Seventy freshly extracted human teeth were divided into 4 experimental groups and 2 control groups. The positive and negative controls corresponded to 0-minute and 8-hour dry times, respectively. The experimental teeth were stored dry for 30 minutes and then immersed in 1 of the 4 media (coconut water, propolis, HBSS, and milk). The teeth were then treated with dispase grade II and collagenase for 30 minutes. The number of viable PDL cells was counted with a hemocytometer and analyzed. Statistical analysis showed that coconut water kept significantly more PDL cells viable compared with propolis, HBSS, or milk. Coconut water can be used as a superior transport medium for avulsed teeth.

According to the notice:

The Editorial Board of the Journal of Endodontics retracts this paper due to an accusation of plagiarism. After careful review, the Editorial Board believes sufficient evidence exists to support this accusation.

The article duplicates significant paragraphs from other published papers. Re-use of any data should be appropriately cited. As such this article represents a severe abuse of the scientific publishing system. The scientific community takes a very strong view on this matter and apologies are offered to readers of the journal that this was not detected during the submission process.

We think the Brazilian Journal of Oral Sciences might also be interested in the retracted paper in JOE. That’s because we found the following sentence, pulled at random from its abstract, in a 2013 article in the BJOS:

Coconut water is biologically pure and sterile, with a rich presence of amino acids, proteins, vitamins and minerals.

The sentence does refer to the retracted paper, and another 2008 article by the same Indian group, but virtually verbatim use — can you spot the difference? — of previously published text is, well, verboten.

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