Allegations of Plagiarism in a BioMed Central Journal Remain Unresolved after Three Years

A paper published in the BioMed Central Journal Nutrition & Metabolism is a near exact match of a paper published earlier in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics.

The 2008 paper, “Role of cytochrome P450 in drug interactions,” is a review article purportedly written by Zakia Bibi. The article’s text matches almost exactly that of the 1998 article “Clinically important pharmacokinetic drug–drug interactions: role of cytochrome P450 enzymes” by E. Tanaka of the University of Tsukuba in Japan. The text string in the Bibi article is almost entirely replicated from Tanaka, including each section of the article (e.g. Introduction, Discussion, etc), most punctuation, and the references.

Zakia Bibi.

The suspect article.

Clinically important pharmacokinetic drug–drug interactions: role of cytochrome P450 enzymes

The original article.

The allegedly plagiarized article has been cited 37 times according to Google Scholar and 14 times according to Thomson Reuters’ Web of Science database. These citations really belong to the author of the 1998 paper, which was not published online until 2002.

BioMed Central Journal Nutrition & Metabolism

Will retracting the article lower the journal’s impact factor?

Since 2010, concerned scholars have reported the plagiarism numerous times to Nutrition & Metabolism. The journal lists M. Mahmood Hussain, a professor at the Dept. of Cell Biology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York as its Editor-in-Chief, yet he does not include his editorship on his C.V.

M. Mahmood Hussain

The journal’s Editor-in-Chief.

He has not returned any emails regarding the alleged plagiarism. Responding to one email reporting the plagiarism, a February 13, 2013 email sent from BioMed Central’s journal development editor, Lucy Abel, says, “I am contacting you on behalf of BioMed Central, the publisher of Nutrition & Metabolism. Thank you for alerting us to this claim of plagiarism, which we are taking extremely seriously. We are investigating as a matter of urgency, and would appreciate if you could send us a copy of the original article.” Yet the issue still remains unresolved.

BioMed Central has failed miserably in this case. The publisher needs to take immediate action on the suspect paper and should apologize to Dr. E. Tanaka, the author of the original paper. BMC should also apologize to all scholars in this field and especially to those who have been attempting to set the record straight since 2010.

Hat tip: Dr. Terrence P. Delaney, University of Vermont

4 Responses to Allegations of Plagiarism in a BioMed Central Journal Remain Unresolved after Three Years

  1. TheOAGuy says:

    The great thing about open access is that such misbehavior of authors is easily identified and revealed. How many papers are locked up in obscure subscription journals where no one will ever notice the plagiarized content? One thing is sure: open access is not boosting authors’ unethical behavior. Only idiots (!) misbehave publicly in openly available places where anyone can easily catch them!

  2. We are aware of concerns around this manuscript and have been in touch with the academic institution. There is an Editor’s note on the article and we cannot say any more until the investigation is complete.

    Jigisha Patel, Medical Editor, BioMed Central.

    http://www.biomedcentral.com/authors/biomededitors

  3. […] it happens, the journal seems to be guilty of delay of game in this case. As this blog post by Jeffrey Beall notes, allegations that the now-retracted paper was a verbatim copy of another article arose in […]

  4. […] it happens, the journal seems to be guilty of delay of game in this case. As this blog post by Jeffrey Beall notes, allegations that the now-retracted paper was a verbatim copy of another article arose in […]

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