When we cover plagiarism on Retraction Watch, particularly when it leads to retractions, we’re writing almost exclusively about science. But there’s a story about a retraction outside of the scientific literature that has been unfolding over the past week, and grabbing enough headlines, that we figured we should post something on it.
It was Bremen University’s Andreas Fischer-Lescano who discovered what he called “a brazen plagiarism” in German defense minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg’s 2006 law thesis, according to The Guardian. The minister was already a member of parliament at the time, and had apparently used sections of newspaper articles without attribution.
Having claimed to have separated the effects of the surgery from those of the prosthetic — in this case, the Genesis II device from Smith & Nephew — the authors said that the study was able to demonstrate that “the early clinical results are similar between the mini-midvastus and mini-medial parapatellar approach. The mini-medial parapatellar approach is easier to initially apply and provides better visualization for TKA.”
Today, in another Retraction Watch exclusive, we have obtained a letter sent by a faculty member at UEL to department colleagues. It suggests that faculty there are very concerned about the toll these allegations may take on the university’s students and reputation, and are furious that senior officials have failed to keep them in the loop about any potential investigation.
Since we first wrote about the travails of Spirocor’s bedside, noninvasive test for coronary artery disease, we’ve been trying, without much success, to find out more information.
But as they say about every dog, our day has come.
As we initially reported, Ron Waksman, a prominent Washington, D.C. cardiologist and editor-in-chief of Cardiovascular and Revascularization Medicine, was first author of one of two papers about the Spirocor technology that were published in 2010. The other, by Shiyovich, et al, was retracted earlier this month by the American Journal of the Medical Sciences, which triggered our interest in this case.
At the time, we couldn’t find any evidence that Waksman’s article had been retracted, and Waksman has not responded to multiple requests for comment. Today we spoke with Kate Coons, the journal’s managing editor, who told us that the authors had sought a retraction for the article, “An innovative noninvasive respiratory stress test indicates significant coronary artery disease,” in December, and that it had posted one on its website on Jan. 6 of this year. It will be in print in an upcoming issue.
Since the weekend, we’ve been trying to get more details on a somewhat mysterious retraction in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. The sparse notice really only said that there were “data inconsistencies” that made the data unreliable.
On Monday, as we noted in an update to the post yesterday, we learned:
The inconsistencies related to what an individual’s lab-book recorded in terms of patients and infections. These came to light when this data was compared to hospital records, during the process of manuscript preparation. As noted, we reported our concerns about the validity of the data and following a review, there was no adequate explanation and the concerns remained.