Franken-paper from U.S. federal contractor heads to the grave

Image via Insomnia Cured Here.
Image via Insomnia Cured Here.

Hindawi journal PPAR Research has pulled a cancer immunology paper after discovering it contained almost no new information.

Instead, it was a Frankenstein-style stitch job, containing sentences ripped from 33 different papers. 18 of those ended up in the citations; for 15 more, the authors didn’t even do them that courtesy. You can see a meticulously color-coded call out here.

Here’s the notice for “A Role for PPARy in the Regulation of Cytokines in Immune Cells and Cancer”:

This article has been retracted as it is found to contain a substantial amount of materials from published papers. The three most original source papers are: (1) X. Y. Yang, L. H. Wang, K. Mihalic, et al., “Interleukin (IL)-4 indirectly suppresses IL-2 production by human T lymphocytes via peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor y activated by macrophage-derived 12/15-lipoxygenase ligands,” Journal of Biological Chemistry, vol. 277, no. 6, pp. 3973–3978, 2002. (2) L. Széles, D. Töröcsik, and L. Nagy, “PPARy in immunity and inflammation: cell types and diseases,” Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, vol. 1771, no. 8, pp. 1014–1030, 2007. (3) L. H. Wang, X. Y. Yang, X. Zhang, et al., “Transcriptional inactivation of STAT3 by PPARy suppresses IL-6-responsive multiple myeloma cells,” Immunity, vol. 20, no. 2, pp. 205–218, 2004.

The authors worked for SAIC-Frederick, a government contractor we’ve written about before. They’ve since changed their branding to Leidos Biomedical Research.

A spokesperson for the journal gave us this statement:

It has been brought to our attention that the article (961753) titled “A Role for PPARy in the Regulation of Cytokines in Immune Cells and Cancer” represents a plagiarism case. The claimer has indicated that few sentences in this review paper are original. Complete paragraphs seem to have been verbatim copied from other people’s publications, including the references, or from previous publications by the same group of authors. After thoroughly investigating this matter with the editors and the authors, we have reached the conclusion that the article indeed represents a plagiarism case and hence, it must be retracted. That is because we have a strict policy against plagiarism and any violations of any of our policies mentioned at

We’ve reached out to Leidos, and will update if we find out anything new.

2 thoughts on “Franken-paper from U.S. federal contractor heads to the grave”

  1. Does this mean that Hindawi does not screen submissions for plagiarism before they are accepted and published?

    Do the authors of articles retracted by Hindawi get their APCs refunded?

  2. It’s a Review, which is not expected to contain any “new information”.
    This kind of review is however reminiscent of the concept invented (and patented) by Philip Parker, for automatic production of books. His program has written ca. 200,000 books so far…

    My favorite title in this series is about Fromage Frais. Although this review is now obsolete, it’s still for sale on Amazon. Not looking cheap ($600), but definitely worth reading. Please don’t pressure, I will NOT loan my personal copy.

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