Genetics paper retracted for using material “without permission and/or proper reference”

Molecular Genetics and GenomicsA review article about a tool used to link genes to traits and behaviors has been retracted for including content “without permission and/or proper reference.”

Corresponding author Ali Masoudi-Nejad at the University of Tehran told us that the retraction occurred mostly because the paper included many figures and tables from other sources, and he didn’t realize they needed to seek permission from both the author and the copyright-holder (ie, the publisher). He added that he doubts he is the only one to make this mistake:

I am sure many many scientist think that just correct citation is enough.

Upon realizing the review “Candidate gene prioritization” contained copyrighted material, Molecular Genetics and Genomics issued the retraction on September 14. Here’s the notice:

This article has been retracted by the Editor-in-Chief as it contains previously published figures and tables that have been re-produced without permissions from the original authors and publishers. Moreover, the article contains significant portions of other authors’ writings on the same topic in other publications, without sufficient attribution to these earlier works being given. The principal author of the paper has acknowledged that contents from various publications and online sources were used in this review without permission and/or proper reference to the original sources.

The authors apologize for their negligence.

The 2012 review discussed the field of candidate gene identification, a technique developed to map genetic pathways that may be connected to behaviors and traits. It has been cited seven times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

We contacted the journal for more details on the retraction; a spokesperson for the publisher Springer said the publisher “does not have any comment beyond the retraction notice.”

Masoudi-Nejad gave us more details about what went wrong with the paper:

This paper was a review paper, which was written by one of my Ph.D. students and long after that I decided to complete it and send it for publication. The paper was retracted mostly because we had used many figures (including figure legend) and few tables from other sources (Most with correct citation, except the table)s, BUT unfortunately I didn’t know that we need two permission for using any figure ( one permission from author and one copyright permission from publisher) and I am sure many many scientist think that just correct citation is enough. Fortunately my colleagues from Springer sent me the instruction for how to get permission from publisher etc. Now for our new publication we get two permission for any resource we are using. This was a review paper and is obvious that we have to talk about other author’s work and need to use their figures and table but anyway, I didn’t know this simple fact that we need those two permission.

Thanks, and I hope this help other researcher to be more careful when using other works in their manuscript. Honestly I have registered a new web site I and am going to put some useful information based on my experience for helping other young researcher to be more aware of these kind of simple facts.

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