IVF embryo paper pulled for plagiarism, errors, lack of permissions

6A journal is pulling an article (with approval of “most” of the authors) because a similar paper had already been published in Chinese.

That wasn’t the only problem with Aneuploidy analysis of non-pronuclear embryos from IVF with use of array CGH: a case report,” published in the Journal of Molecular Histology. 

The retraction note lists the three things that led to the paper’s retraction:

This article has been retracted with approval of most of the authors, for the following reasons:

  • The original article has already been published before in the Chinese language.

  • The retracted article did not include all permissions needed.

  • The retracted article contained errors.

The authors apologize for these mistakes and thank the reviewers of the journal.

Brian Key, the editor in chief of the journal, filled us in on the backstory:

The tip-off was from the author of a Chinese paper in Chin J Obstet Gynecol Pediat in 2013. This Chinese paper was similar to the English JMH paper. Some data in the JMH paper looked like it was stolen from the Chinese version. JMH approached the corresponding author of the JMH paper who withdrew the paper also indicating that there were additional errors throughout the paper involving their own data. The first author of the paper could not be contacted about the retraction.

The paper has not been cited, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. According to the abstract, it describes a technique to look for abnormalities in embryos produced by in vitro fertilization:

With the use of the array [comparative genomic hybridization], the aneuploidy analysis could review the abnormal chromosomes of single blastomere from the non-pronuclear embryos, which can harbor the risk of abnormal sex chromosome and autosome chromosomes.

We were unable to find contact information for first author Deng Lixin, whose affiliation is listed on the paper as Henan Agricultural University in China. We’ve reached out to the journal and corresponding author Xiang Zhifeng, who is affiliated with the Henan Institute of Science and Technology, for more information on what the issues with the paper were. We’ll update this post with anything else we learn.

Hat tip: Rolf Degen 

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