“With great pity,” author retracts paper for “severe problems” including references that “are not allowed to be cited” and “severe law issues”

Fair warning: We’re really not sure what’s going on here.

The authors of “Effect of total flavonoids on expression of collagen, TGF-β1, and Smad 7 in hypertrophic scars,” a 2018 paper in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, have retracted it for, well, lots of reasons.

None of them is exactly clear.

Here’s the notice:

I sincerely apologize for that I have to apply for retraction of the paper IJCEM0067182 titled Effect of total flavonoids on expression of collagen, TGF-β1, and Smad 7 in hypertrophic scars.

This paper has some severe problems. First of all, the references 13 to 16 are not allowed to be cited according our current local policy. And the traditional medicine we used in our preliminary study are involved in some severe law issues, and need further examination. Besides, there are also some author rights disagreements. Thus we decided to withdraw this paper with great pity.

And, of course, after these problems are solved, we will submit a more well-prepared manuscript to your journal. I sincerely say sorry for all the staffs involved, and thank you very much for your time and consideration.

Neither the corresponding author of the paper, nor the editor in chief and associate editor in chief of the journal have responded to requests for more information. We’ll update with anything we learn.

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6 thoughts on ““With great pity,” author retracts paper for “severe problems” including references that “are not allowed to be cited” and “severe law issues””

    1. The publisher is “e-Century”, so departure from COPE guidelines is the least of the concerns.

  1. References 13 to 16 involve “Uighur medicine abnormal savda munzip (ASMq)”.
    #13 = https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4538185/
    #14 = https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25821502
    #15 = https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25785025
    #16 = https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24449084

    All with Shaolin Ma as the last author. Note that the authors are from the First Affiliated Hospital of Xinjiang Medical University (Urumqi), in the Xinjiang Uyghur “Autonomous” Region.
    It seems that “Traditional Uighur Preparation number Z65020166” has fallen out of favour and is no longer to be mentioned. No place for it in the official Traditional Chinese pharmacopoeia.

    1. Couldn’t find out exactly what “Uighur medicine abnormal savda munzip” is precisely.

      “No place for it in the official Traditional Chinese pharmacopoeia.”

      So it’s not only Western Medicine that exerts a tyrannical control over which substances we are allowed to talk about, but also Traditional Chinese Medicine… Seems like no one has the upper moral hand when it comes to being “open-minded”…

      1. If it’s any help, one of the papers which shouldn’t have been cited gives this recipe:
        “In recent years, much attention has been focused on abnormal Savda Munziq (ASMq) (China Medicine Accurate number Z65020166) [6–9]. ASMq is a well-known complex prescription of TUM for common complex diseases, and it consists of crude drugs of ten medicinal herbs: Adiantum capillus-veneris L., Alhagi pseudalhagi (Bieb.) Desv., Anchusa italica Retz., Cordia dichotoma G. Forst., Euphorbia maculata L., Foeniculum vulgare Mill., Glycyrrhiza glabra L., Lavandula angustifolia Mill., Melissa officinalis L., and Ziziphus jujuba Mill [10]. Some studies have been done on its constituent herbs and their active compounds. Glycyrrhiza glabra L., Lavandula angustifolia Mill, Foeniculum vulgare Mill, and Euphorbia maculata L. can inhibit the proliferation of various tumor cells and promote the apoptosis [11–13].”


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