Highly cited cancer researcher pulls review for “similar text and illustrations”

AbdomImaging_ak8The author of a 2006 review article published in Abdominal Imaging has retracted it because it hews too closely to previously published articles.

The review described the latest imaging techniques used in cancer, focusing on genitourinary conditions.

Here’s the full text of the retraction notice for “New Horizons in Genitourinary Oncologic Imaging”:

This review article has been retracted upon the request of the author as it contains similar text and illustrations to previously published articles. For further information, please contact the author Hedvig Hricak, MD at hricakh@mskcc.org.

So we did just that. But in response to our request for comment, Hricak, chair of the Department of Radiology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, said she didn’t have much to add to the information in the notice:

Thank you for reaching out about this.  The text for the retraction accurately describes the reasons. Since the review article is nine years old and out of date, the decision was to ask for a retraction rather than an erratum. The paper was strictly a review article and did not report any original research data.

It’s not quite clear to us why an erratum rather than a retraction would have been appropriate if the article were more recent, nor can we determine whether the “similar text and illustrations” stem from articles previously published by Hricak or by other researchers. Hricak didn’t reply to a further email requesting clarification on those points. Our email to Springer, the publisher of the journal, has also not been returned so far.

Hricak is highly cited; 67 of her papers have been cited at least 100 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. This particular article has been cited 9 times.

Hat tip: Rolf Degen

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6 thoughts on “Highly cited cancer researcher pulls review for “similar text and illustrations””

  1. The reason for retraction is not clear. Hricak and/or Springer should clarify this. It is a moral obligation.

  2. Very interesting information on pubpeer. I’m not sure I understand the motivation and results for the alleged duplication and plagiarism. These are common clinical images. Does anyone understand?

  3. I found this involving two other reviews from this author.


    We would like to raise the awareness of readers of BJR to the following.

    Some material published in this review article was discussed previously in the review article listed under reference 37: Pretreatment evaluation of prostate cancer: Role of MR imaging and 1H MR spectroscopy. RadioGraphics 2004; 24: S167–S180.

    The Editors of BJR were not aware of the earlier publication and were informed of the overlap only after the submission, peer review and publication of Br J Radiol 2005; 78: S103–S111.

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