More retractions, errata discovered for nursing researcher

Journal of Clinical Nursing

Since our recent coverage about a university investigation that led to multiple retractions for nursing researcher Moon-fai Chan, we’ve been alerted to a few more retractions and errata. His total is now at six retractions and four errata.

Some of our finds were published this year, and some are a few years old. Most are due to duplication; one is due to “use of a dataset without ethical approval.” Chan — now the Associate Master and Chief of Students at the University of Macau — is the first author on all but one of the papers.

We’ll start with the most recent errata. Three of Chan’s articles in the Journal of Clinical Nursing have errata notes published online in July of this year, all noting that the authors used elements of some of Chan’s other articles. Here’s the erratum note for “Exploring risk factors for depression among older men residing in Macau:” 

The publisher would like to advise readers that this article contains some text (in parts of the conclusion) that has been previously published in the following article: Chan MF, Zeng Wen (2009) Investigating factors associated with depression of older women in Macau. Journal of Clinical Nursing 18, 29692977.

The paper has been cited once, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Next, the erratum note for “Factors affecting nursing staff in practicing spiritual care,” which has been cited 12 times:

The publisher would like to advise readers that this article contains some text (in parts of the introduction, literature review and conclusion) that has been previously published in the following article: Chan MF, Chung LYF, Lee ASC, Wong WK, Lee GSC, Lau CY, Lau WZ, Hung TT, Liu ML, Ng JWS (2006) Investigating spiritual care perceptions and practice patterns in Hong Kong nurses: Results of a cluster analysis, Nurse Education Today 26, 139150.

And the third recent erratum from this journal, “Nurses’ perceived and actual levels of diabetes mellitus knowledge: results of a cluster analysis,” cited 13 times:

The publisher would like to advise readers that this article contains some text (in parts of the introduction) that has been previously published in the following article: Chan MF, Yee AS, Leung EL & Day MC (2006) The effectiveness of a diabetes nurse clinic in treating older patients with type 2 diabetes for their glycaemic control. Journal of Clinical Nursing 15, 77081.

We also found a 2011 retraction from JCN, for “A randomised controlled study of the effects of music on sleep quality in older people,” which has been cited six times. It’s also for duplication — specifically, “substantial overlap” with another paper, on which Chan is an author. Here’s the note:

The following article from Journal of Clinical Nursing, ‘A randomised controlled study of the effects of music on sleep quality in older people’ by Moon Fai Chan published online in Wiley Online Library on 7 February 2011 and in Volume 20, pp. 979–987, has been retracted by agreement between the author, the Journal Editor-in-Chief, Roger Watson, and Blackwell Publishing Ltd. The retraction has been agreed due to substantial overlap with Chan MF, Chan EA, Mok E (2010) Effects of music on depression and sleep quality in elderly people: a randomised controlled trial, published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine 18, 150–159.

The paper has been cited six times.

We emailed JCN Editor in Chief Debra Jackson to ask how the journal decided whether to retract or correct duplicated text. Earlier this year, the journal pulled another paper of Chan’s following an investigation at the National University of Singapore.

According to retraction guidelines from the Committee on Publication Ethics, it’s not always clear what should happen in the case of small amount of plagiarism, even when there isn’t a common author:

…if only a small section of an article (e.g. a few sentences in the discussion) is plagiarised, editors should consider whether readers (and the plagiarised author) would be best served by a correction (which could note the fact that text was used without appropriate acknowledgement) rather than retracting the entire article which may contain sound, original data in other parts.

Moving on to Chan’s retractions and errata from other publications, we were alerted to an errata for “A pilot study on nurses’ attitudes toward perinatal bereavement support: A cluster analysis,” in Nurse Education Today. The paper, which has been cited 16 times, was missing a reference to one of Chan’s previous publications. Here’s the erratum note, which published in February of this year:

The authors would like to advise readers that this article should have contained references to a previously published study in the Journal of Clinical Nursing. The reference should have read: Chan MF, Chan SH, Day MC (2003) Nurses’ attitudes toward perinatal bereavement support in Hong Kong: a pilot study. J. Clin. Nursing 12, 536–43.

We also discovered a retraction note published in 2014 by International Nursing Review for a paper that has been cited once, on which Chan is listed as the second author. Here’s the retraction note:

The above article from International Nursing Review, ‘Nurses learning in the workplace: a comparison of workplace attributes in acute care settings in Australia and Singapore’ by S.W. Chan, M.F. Chan, S.-Y. Lee, and A. Henderson published online on 24th January 2014 in Wiley Online Library and in Volume 61, pp. 82–89, has been retracted by agreement between the authors, the journal Editor, and John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. The retraction has been agreed due to use of a dataset without ethical approval in error.

The Editor in Chief of INR, Sue Tuarle, gave us more details on the faulty dataset:

The authors brought this issue to our attention.  They explained that they had included data in the paper that had not received ethical approval. There had been some confusion about the data sets, and by mistake they included the data set that hadn’t received approval. We therefore retracted the paper.

Finally, here’s an older retraction note for “Attitudes of midwives towards perinatal bereavement in Hong Kong, Midwifery”, which appears to be from 2007. The original paper was published in Midwifery, and has been cited six times:

This article has been withdrawn at the request of the Editor due to similarity of work published in another publication. We have noted similarities between the above article and an article published in the Journal of Perinatal & Neonatal Nursing (Chan MF, Wu LH, Day MC, Chan SH (2005) Attitude of nurses toward perinatal bereavement: Findings from a study in Hong Kong. J. Perinatal Neonat. Nurs. 19, 240–52). The Publisher apologises for any inconvenience this may cause.

We have contacted Chan for comment, and will update this post if we hear back.

Hat tip: Anonymous

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