November 24, 2010

Plagiarists plagiarized: A daisy chain of retractions at Anesthesia & Analgesia

Adam Marcus
If a plagiarist plagiarizes from an author who herself has plagiarized, do we call it a wash and go for a beer?
That scenario is precisely what Steven L. Shafer, MD, found himself facing recently. Dr. Shafer, editor-in-chief of Anesthesia & Analgesia (A&A), learned that authors of a 2008 case report in his publication had lifted two-and-a-half paragraphs of text from a 2004 paper published in the Canadian Journal of Anesthesia.
A contrite retraction letter, which appears in the December issue of A&A, from the lead author, Sushma Bhatnagar, MD, of New Delhi, India, called the plagiarism “unintended” and apologized for the incident. Straightforward enough.
But then things get sticky. Amazingly, the December issue of A&A also retracts a 2010 manuscript by Turkish researchers who, according to Dr. Shafer, plagiarized from at least five other published papers—one of which happens to have been a 2008 article by Dr. Bhatnagar in the Journal of Palliative Medicine.
“Dr. Bhatnagar’s paper in Anesthesia & Analgesia was retracted because it contained text taken from a paper by Dr. Munir,” Dr. Shafer told Anesthesiology News. “However, Dr. Bhatnagar’s paper in the Journal of Palliative Medicine is one of the source journals for the plagiarism by Dr. Memiş. To give you an idea how widespread this is, we recently rejected a paper that copied large blocks for text from a paper by Dr. Memiş.”>>>

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