Investigation ups nursing researcher’s retraction count to 3

Journal of Clinical NursingThe Journal of Clinical Nursing is retracting a paper “due to major overlap with a previously published article” from the same journal, following an investigation by the National University of Singapore.

By our count, this is the third retraction for first author, Moon-fai Chan, all for “overlap” with other papers.

As we reported in May, the Journal of Advanced Nursing retracted a paper co-authored by Chan for “major overlap” with a paper in JCN, that too the result of the investigation. We’ve also learned that the journal Nursing & Health Sciences issued a similar notice last year for another pair of overlapped papers.

Chan said in a statement to Retraction Watch that he agreed to all of the retractions and that his co-authors were “not involved on the preparation” the papers.

Here’s the notice from the JCN, which was published in June:

The above article from Journal of Clinical Nursing, ‘Investigating factors associated with nurses’ attitudes towards perinatal bereavement care: a study in Shandong and Hong Kong’ by Chan, M. F., Lou, F.-l., Cao, F.-l., Li, P., Liu, L. and Wu, L. H. published online on 6 July 2009 in Wiley Online Library ( and in Volume 18, pp. 2344–2354, has been retracted by agreement between the authors, the journal Editor in Chief and John Wiley & Sons Ltd. The retraction has been agreed following an investigation carried out by the National University of Singapore due to major overlap with a previously published article:Chan MF, Lou F-l, Arthur DG, Cao F-l, Wu LH, Li P, Sagara-Rosemeyer M, Chung LYF & Lui L (2008) Investigating factors associate to nurses’ attitudes towards perinatal bereavement care. Journal of Clinical Nursing 17: 509–518. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2007.02007.x.

The study was published in 2009. Researchers from Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Shandong University, along with Chan, surveyed nurses in both cities about their attitudes towards perinatal bereavement care, health care provided to parents after losing a child before birth, along with hospital training and policy. It has been cited twice, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Investigators found that the study overlapped with a 2008 paper from the same journal with a very similar title, which shared the same study methods and results but only surveyed nurses in Hong Kong.

Chan was also the first author on that paper. It was published when he worked as an assistant professor at Hong Kong Polytechnic University and has been cited eight times.

Editor-in-chief Debra Jackson, a professor of nursing at Oxford Brookes University, confirmed the details in the notice:

The University of Singapore brought this matter to our attention following an internal investigation they initiated. From here, the editorial team and the publishers of the journal looked into the claims, and following further investigation, made the decision to retract the paper. The author had no objections to the retraction.

A spokesperson for the National University of Singapore provided a brief statement.

As you had noted, the retraction for this paper followed an investigation by the University. Dr Chan Moon Fai is no longer with the University.

The other retraction for Chan was posted by Nursing & Health Sciences last year in September for a 2009 paper that looked at the characteristics of readmitted patients in Hong Kong. The paper was pulled because of a “unattributed overlap with” a 2008 JCN paper.

The notice reads:

The above article from Nursing & Health Sciences, “Identifying patient readmission subtypes from unplanned readmissions to hospitals in Hong Kong: A cluster analysis” by Moon-fai Chan, Frances K. Y. Wong, Katherine Chang, Susan Chow, Loretta Chung, Wai-man Lee and Rance Lee, first published online on 10th February 2009 on Wiley Online Library (, has been retracted by agreement between the lead author, the journal’s Editor in Chief, Teresa Stone, and Wiley Publishing Asia Pty Ltd. The retraction has been agreed due to unattributed overlap with previously published work (Chan, M.-f., Wong, F. K. Y., Chang, K. K. P., Chow, S. K. Y., Chung, L. Y. F., Lee, R. P.-L. and Lee, W.-m. (2008), A study on investigating unplanned readmission patterns. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 17: 2164–2173.).

Editor-in-chief Teresa Stone said that the retraction also came from the university investigation and that Chan “cooperated fully” with the retraction process:

We received notification from the Deputy President (Research and Technology), National University of Singapore “that a recent investigation by our University has identified irregularities in publications by one of our faculty”.

Subsequently we contacted Dr Chan who cooperated fully with the process of retracting his paper and expressed remorse.

Chan is now the Associate Master and Chief of Students at the University of Macau. When reached by email for a statement on the JCN retraction he said:

As the corresponding and first author of this article, I agreed the decision by the Editor to retract the article from the Journal. The co-authors of this article are not involved on the preparation of the paper but in a recognition of either are research members or helping on data collection, I have included their names on this article.

Chan said that he had a similar response for the May and 2014 retractions.

Hat Tip: Rolf Degen and Anonymous

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2 thoughts on “Investigation ups nursing researcher’s retraction count to 3”

  1. Co-authors were “not involved on the preparation” the papers? Surely that does not qualify them for authorship. Helping with data collection should only qualify them for acknowledgements. From the journal’s website: “The JCN adheres to the definition of authorship set up by The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors.” Also, submission of manuscripts is through Manuscript Central where each author’s email address has to be supplied. All authors would have been aware that the paper had been submitted as they would have been notified by the journal that the lead author had submitted. It is incredible that none of the authors asked why a paper that had already been published elsewhere was being re-submitted to another journal.

  2. 1. There are two other pairs of duplicated publications by Dr. MF Chan which leads to retractions.

    Chan MF, Wu LH, Day MC, Chan SH (2005) Attitudes of nurses toward perinatal bereavement: findings from a study in Hong Kong. J. Perinatal Neonat. Nurs. 19, 240–52.

    [Retracted Article]
    Chan MF, Lou FL, Zang YL, Chung YF, Wu LH, Cao FL, Li P (2007) Attitudes of midwives towards perinatal bereavement in Hong Kong. Midwifery. 2007 Sep;23(3):309-21.

    Chan MF, Chan EA, Mok E (2010) Effects of music on depression and sleep quality in elderly people: a randomised controlled trial. Complementary Therapies in Medicine 18, 150–159.

    [Retracted Article]
    Chan MF (2011) A randomised controlled study of the effects of music on sleep quality in older people. JCN, 20: 979–987.

    2. Four additional pairs of duplicated publications by Dr. MF Chan have been identified. Instead of retracting the articles, the publishers issued errata to alert the readers.

    3. Furthermore, there is another article by Prof. SW Chan, co-authored by Dr. MF Chan, being retracted due to “use of a dataset without ethical approval in error”.

    Chan SW, Chan MF, Lee SY, Henderson A. (2014) Nurses learning in the workplace: a comparison of workplace attributes in acute care settings in Australia and Singapore. International Nursing Review, 61: 82–89.

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