Exclusive: Editor caught plagiarizing resigns as more concerns emerge

Romaric Loffroy

A radiology professor in France who plagiarized others’ work in a review article has resigned from his role as deputy editor of a medical journal amid new concerns about his publications, Retraction Watch has learned.

The professor, Romaric Loffroy of CHU Dijon Bourgogne, was first and corresponding author of the offending review, which included large amounts of text from two earlier papers without appropriate citation, as we reported last month.

When confronted with evidence of the plagiarism, Loffroy put the blame on an alleged undisclosed ghostwriter, then proceeded to tone down the offense, saying he wouldn’t mind it if his own work had been plagiarized. 

“I must admit that I really don’t care,” he wrote in October in an email seen by Retraction Watch.

The review, “Current role of multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging for prostate cancer,” was published in 2015 in Quantitative Imaging in Medicine and Surgery. The day after our story, the journal’s editor-in-chief, Yi-Xiang Wang, told us it would pull the paper (it did so last week). 

Now Loffroy, who was deputy editor of Quantitative Imaging in Medicine and Surgery, has “voluntarily resigned” from the post, Wang said in an email from November 2. 

Loffroy did not respond to a request for comment. 

The resignation comes as more concerns about the French professor’s work have surfaced on PubPeer. The 2015 review plagiarized from not just two, but four previous publications, according to comments left on the online forum by data sleuth Elisabeth Bik following our reporting on the case.

Another PubPeer commenter flagged a potential problem in “Cyanoacrylate Glue for Treating Chronic Saphenous Vein Insufficiency: A Retrospective Observational Single-Center Study,” which was published earlier this year in the journal Diagnostics and of which Loffroy is corresponding author. 

According to the anonymous commenter, the study should have been classified as prospective because it uses “a questionnaire in the follow-up of patients” and thus requires “approval from a Comité de Protection des Personnes (CPP)” before recruitment of participants. 

The paper, however, does not mention CPP approval, stating only that “Institutional review board was not required for this study due to its retrospective nature, but our ethics committee approved this study.” 

Wrote the PubPeer commenter: “Starting a prospective research in humans in France without a CPP is a serious breach to the Health French Law [sic].”

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