‘Search for inspiration’ lands too close to plagiarism, forcing retraction of grief paper

A slide from a presentation by the U.S. NSF OIG’s Jim Kroll

A pair of grief scholars in Denmark have lost a 2018 paper on ghostly apparitions after one of the researchers copied text from another article.

The study, “How many bereaved people hallucinate about their loved one? A systematic review and meta-analysis of bereavement hallucinations,” appeared in the Journal of Affective Disorders, an Elsevier publication. Authors Karina Stengaard Kamp and Helena Due — yes, a second author named Due — are with The Aarhus Bereavement Research Unit at Aarhus University.

As the retraction notice explains:

This article has been retracted at the request of the authors.

After publication it came to their attention that parts of the wording especially in the last part of the discussion section (i.e., Methodological challenges and recommendation for future research, Strengths and limitations, and Conclusion) are too close to the cited manuscript (Lundorff et al., 2017). This mistake has sprung from the first author’s inexperience, and subsequent search for inspiration and phrasing of important issues to discuss in a meta-analysis. The first author takes full responsibility for this unintentional mistake and the failure to correct it prior to publication. It should be made clear that the second author, Helena Due, can not be held responsible for this mistake.

We sincerely apologize to the authors of the original paper, the journal, reviewers, the potential readers, and the scientific community. A valuable lesson has been learned, which will be brought into the first authors [sic] future work.

The Lundorff paper came out of Kamp’s department at Aarhus, although Lundorff’s name isn’t on the article. Kamp didn’t respond to a request for comment, nor did Lundorff.

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2 thoughts on “‘Search for inspiration’ lands too close to plagiarism, forcing retraction of grief paper”

  1. What’s the comment about the second author’s name for? FWIW, it translates to “Dove”.

    Stengaard Kamp seems to be a PhD student; Due [Rasmussen] seems to be a master-level student. Unless my google-fu fails me.

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