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Medical journals

Major cancer journal retracts editorial because of plagiarism; several other cancer papers also retracted last year

Tuesday, September 03, 2013 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: medical journals, scientific paper, retraction

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(NaturalNews) Copying entire sentences, word for word, without including proper citations is considered plagiarism, and it is something that is apparently becoming increasingly problematic in the scientific research arena. Retraction Watch (RW) reports that the Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO), a major cancer research journal, has retracted a 2011 editorial entitled Lymphocyte Infiltration in Breast Cancer: A Key Prognostic Factor That Should Not Be Ignored due to plagiarism.

Authored by French researchers Roger Mouawad, PhD, Jean-Philippe Spano, MD, PhD, and David Khayat, MD, PhD, the paper reportedly contains plagiarized content from six other published papers, one of which was also published in JCO. And while the authors claim the sources were cited in the reference section, direct quotes were improperly -- and in at least one case, incorrectly -- cited throughout the paper.

"The content that was in the retracted article was related to text only, there were not associated charts or graphs," the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is quoted as saying in a statement to RW about the plagiarized content. "If you map the article against the six cited sources listed in the retraction you can see the overlap."

Last June, ASCO had announced that it was awarding Dr. Khayat, one of the papers's authors, with its 2011 Distinguished Achievement Award for his "extraordinary leadership in the field of oncology." Dr. Khayat was also reportedly named president-elect of ASCO's International Affairs Committee at the same meeting (http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/744903).

Dr. Khayat and the other authors claim equal responsibility for the final published paper, which JCO now references as containing "previously published content" (http://jco.ascopubs.org/content/29/15/1935/suppl/DC1). In a response to RW, however, the three authors essentially claim that they were unaware of any plagiarized content prior to the paper's publication, and that they are sorry.

Meanwhile, at least a dozen other cancer research papers were retracted or partially retracted last year, including the recent retraction of a 2008 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Reuters reports that Dr. Anil Potti and his co-authors voluntarily retracted their JAMA-published paper because the method they used was later determined to be "unreliable," and incapable of being reproduced ( http://www.reuters.com).

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