Authors retract nutrition review that plagiarized deceased researcher
A pair of authors have retracted a paper in Nutrition Reviews after it became clear that parts were plagiarized from work by a nutritionist who had died in an accident just weeks after writing the material.
The retraction reads in full:
The following article from Nutrition Reviews titled “Alpha-lipoic acid supplementation and diabetes” by Uma Singh and Ishwarlal Jialal (1) published online on 27 October 2008 in the Wiley Online Library (www.wileyonlinelibrary.com), DOI:10.1111/j.1753-4887.2008.00118.x, has been retracted by agreement among the article’s authors, the journal’s Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Naomi Fukagawa, and Wiley Periodicals, Inc. because segments of unattributed text were found to be identical to those in a previously published article. (2) The authors sincerely regret the unintentional error and welcome this opportunity to correct the scientific record with the following explanation:
In this case, a junior author, who is also a non-native English speaker, was unfamiliar with appropriate referencing procedures for material from online sources and neglected to cite the source in the reference list or to appropriately incorporate the ideas from that source into original text of this review article. Since the source was not cited in the manuscript as it was developed and discussed by the authors, the senior author, Professor Jialal, was unaware that such a breach had occurred.
1. Singh U, Jialal I. Alpha-lipoic acid supplementation and diabetes. Nutr Rev 2008;66(11):646–657.
2. Higdon L. Lipoic Acid. Available at: http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/othernuts/la/. Accessed May 2, 2012.
Reference two is a post written by Jane Higdon, of the Linus Pauling Institute, a micronutrient research arm of Oregon State University. Higdon, it turns out, was an avid cyclist who died just weeks after writing the post, on May 31, 2006, when a truck hit her during cycling training.
Institution officials noted the similarities between the Nutrition Reviews paper — which has been cited 41 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge — and Higdon’s work. They notified Fukagawa, who contacted Jialal, the senior author and a nutrition and metabolism researcher at the University of California, Davis. Jialal told Retraction Watch:
I’m very upset about this, I don’t condone this behavior. Getting this paper out of the way was the best solution instead of fighting with the editor.
It’s not clear what Jialal and the editor would have been fighting about, and we haven’t been able to talk to Fukigawa. Jialal signed off on the review, but wasn’t much involved in it, an issue with busy professors and P.I.s who might be managing two or three postdocs and two or three research grants.
I do have a responsibility, but I have to trust a human being. I feel like a jilted lover.
Jialal met Uma Singh, the junior author, at an international artheriosclerosis meeting in Kyoto and she joined the lab shortly afterward as a postdoc. The two researchers co-wrote seven reviews along with 17 original research articles between 2005 and 2010.
Singh is now an instructor at Seminole Sate College of Florida and Valencia College. She did not respond to email requests for comment.
Jennifer Beal, global publicity manager at Wiley, which publishes Nutrition Reviews, sent us this email explanation:
Content within the article was clearly copied from an outside source and was not cited by the Nutrition Reviews authors. Following COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics) policies and Wiley-Blackwell guidance on publication ethics, retraction was the appropriate action. Both authors were given the opportunity to comment on the wording of the retraction.
- Scholarships and grants to encourage and empower girls and young women to pursue healthy and active lifestyles and academic excellence
- Donations to non-profits that advocate and work for bicycling and pedestrian safety in Lane County, Oregon.
We could think of a few people who might want to make donations.