Near “word-to-word” similarities topple microflora paper

matfetneonatThe Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine has retracted a 2012 paper by a group of pediatric gut researchers in Naples, Italy, who seemed to have had a visceral reaction to using their own words.

The paper, “Composition and roles of intestinal microbiota in children,” sought to

provide an update of the advantages of new-generation molecular diagnostics to study the diversity of intestinal microflora and to evaluate its alteration in human diseases.

The paper has been cited five times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. Here’s the retraction notice:

Statement of Retraction: Guarino A, Wudy A, Basile F, Ruberto E, Buccigrossi V. ‘‘Composition and roles of intestinal microbiota in children’’

The Editors and Publisher regret to announce the following article published in 2012 has been retracted from publication in The Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine:

Guarino A, Wudy A, Basile F, Ruberto E, Buccigrossi V. Composition and roles of intestinal microbiota in children. J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2012 Apr;25 Suppl 1:63–6. doi: 10.3109/14767058.2012.663231. (doi: 10.3109/14767058.2012.663231).

A high degree of paragraphs and/or sentences in the abstract and first section entitled ‘‘Techniques to study intestinal microflora’’ of this review article published in The Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine are almost word-to-word identical to the sentences published in other publications. The rest of the paper appears to be original text. Wording from at least 10 different publications were used as sources for the text in the first section. Four of these publications are listed in the references. Unfortunately, six others are not. In addition, none of these overlapping sentences are shown between quotes.

The six source articles which are not referenced or cited in the article include:

Biasucci G, Benenati B, Morelli L, Bessi E, Boehm G. Cesarean delivery may affect the early biodiversity of intestinal bacteria. J Nutr. 2008 Sep;138(9):1796S–1800S.

Furrie E. A molecular revolution in the study of intestinal microflora. Gut. 2006 Feb;55(2):141–3.

Harrington CR, Lucchini S, Ridgway KP, Wegmann U, Eaton TJ, Hinton JC, Gasson MJ, Narbad A. A short-oligonucleotide microarray that allows improved detection of gastrointestinal tract microbial. BMC Microbiol. 2008 Nov 11;8:195.

Poppert S, Haas M, Yildiz T, Alter T, Bartel E, Fricke U, Essig A. Identification of thermotolerant Campylobacter species by fluorescence in situ hybridization. J Clin Microbiol. 2008 Jun;46(6):2133–6. Epub 2008 Apr 2.

Shi W, Syrenne R, Sun J-Z, Yuan JS. Molecular approaches to study the insect gut symbiotic microbiota at the ‘omics’ age. Insect Science. 2010 Jun;17(3):199–219.

Swidsinski A, Ladhoff A, Pernthaler A, Swidsinski S, Loening-Baucke V, Ortner M, Weber J, Hoffmann U, Schreiber S, Dietel M, Lochs H. Mucosal flora in inflammatory bowel disease. Gastroenterology. 2002 Jan;122(1):44–54.

Although, the authors have referenced four previously published papers within their article (reference numbers 1, 6, 14 and 17), taking intact sentences or paragraphs from other published sources to this high extent is against the Journal’s policy on plagiarism, which can be found on our website:

The authors have been fully co-operative with our investigations and agree with the Editors and Publisher on this course of action to correct the literature record.

The Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine published this article in good faith, and on the basis of signed statements of the corresponding author regarding the originality of their work. The article is withdrawn from all print and electronic editions.


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