Publisher retracts paper when authors try publishing it again in another of its journals

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Pro-tip: If you’re going to try to publish the same paper twice, don’t submit the duplicated version to a journal from the same publisher where you published the original — especially if you plan to monkey with the data.

Well, don’t try to publish the same paper twice, nor monkey with data, period. But you’ll see our point, we hope, when you read this tale.

A cancer journal has retracted a 2019 paper by a group in China for duplicate publishing — of unreliable data. 

The article, “Long noncoding RNA LINC00511 promotes cell growth and invasion in triple-negative breast cancer by interacting with Snail,” appeared in Cancer Management and Research (CMR), which is published by Dove Medical Press. 

According to the notice, the authors, from Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, tried to publish a virtually identical version of their work, but changed a key detail: the RNA sequence implicated in the research:

The Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Cancer Management and Research wish to retract the published article.

Following publication of the present article, the corresponding authors, Jianglong Huang and Mingjun Bai, submitted a new article to the journal OncoTargets and Therapy [Ed: Also a Dove Press journal]. During routine integrity checks it was found nearly all the text, results and figures of the new submission were identical to those of the previously published article. The only significant difference was the long noncoding RNA LINC00511 sequence, described in the published article, had been replaced with the long noncoding RNA LINC02474 sequence. Concerns were raised immediately to the Editor-in-Chief of Cancer Management and Research about the integrity of the published article.

As part of our investigation the authors were contacted but failed to provide a satisfactory explanation and were unable to provide the raw data for their study. It was also found there were unacceptable levels of similarity between the published article and several other articles reporting cancer studies involving long noncoding RNA sequences. The authors department at the Third Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University was contacted and also shared our concerns regarding the validity of this study.

CMR has another new retraction, this one for a mix-up in cell lines. The paper, “miR-140-5p alleviates the aggressive progression of Wilms’ tumor through directly targeting TGFBR I gene,” came from a group in Henan, China. 

According to the retraction notice

The Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Cancer Management and Research wish to retract the published article.

Following publication, concerns were raised to the Editor in-Chief regarding the Wilms’ tumor cell lines described in the study.

Upon investigation it was found the human Wilms’ tumor cell lines used in the present study, G-401 and SK-NEP-1, had been wrongly attributed and are not, in fact, Wilms’ tumor cell lines as claimed. The cell line, G-401, has been shown to be a rhabdoid tumor cell line of the kidney and has been reclassified, accordingly, in the American Tissue Culture Collection (ATCC) (https://www.atcc.org/Products/All/CRL-1441.aspx). The cell line, SK-NEP-1 has also been investigated and was found to have a close relationship with the Ewing sarcoma cell line, not theWilms’ tumor cell line as previously indicated.

Based on this information the Editor-in-Chief has determined the results and findings of the present study are no longer valid.

Neither of the papers has been cited, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science.

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