Biomed Central has published an obviously bogus scholarly article that apparently uses the “template-plagiarism” technique, crafting a new article from an earlier one, changing the data and some of the text.
The original article is entitled, “Decreased expression and clinical significance of miR-148a in hepatocellular carcinoma tissues.” This paper was published in the European Journal of Medical Research in December, 2014. As far as I know, both the research and publishing processes of this paper were completely ethical.
The second article is entitled, “Decrease expression and clinicopathological significance of miR-148a with poor survival in hepatocellular carcinoma tissues.” It appears to have been created by using the first article as a template. Much of the wording is the same, and one of the figures is the same except the data is a little different.
The later paper is shorter than the first, with only about two pages of real text. Also, the later, suspect article does not cite the first one. The title contains an error (Decrease instead of Decreased) and the text has not been copyedited and is barely readable. See for example, this excerpt:
Although the clinical staging have used in clinical decision, but improvement of molecular mechanism can be useful to clarify the role of new markers in the treatment and prognosis of HCC (p. 1).
There is also the possibility that the data reported in the later paper was just made up, rather than generated through actual research.
The paper’s seven co-authors are:
Hossein Ajdarkosh, Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease Research Center (GILDRC), Firoozgar Hospital, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Masoomeh Dadpay, Department of Pathology, Imam Reza Hospital, AJA University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Emad Yahaghi, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Elham Rostami Pirzaman, Department of Biotechnology and Nanotechnology, Zanjan University of Medical Sciences, Zanjan, Iran
Amir Farshid Fayyaz, Department of Legal Medicine, AJA University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Ebrahim Khodaverdi Darian, Young Researchers and Elite Club, Karaj Branch, Islamic Azad University, Karaj, Iran
Aram Mokarizadeh, Cellular & Molecular Research Center, Kurdistan University of Medical Sciences, Sanandaj, Iran
Now each of these co-authors has gotten academic credit for an article published in an international, impact factor (2.60) journal, and Springer Nature, the owner of the BioMed Central imprint, is happy because it earned the £1370/$2145/€1745 author fee.
BMC lists the editor-in-chief of Diagnostic Pathology as Anil V. Parwani from Ohio State University.
The suspect paper was published in August, 2015. It was “Received: 15 June 2015 [and] Accepted: 28 July 2015.” So the time from submission to publishing was about seven weeks.
This is scholarly open-access publishing.