Controversial fertility paper retracted

After determining the article was "duplicated,"

By | April 27, 2007

Fertility and Sterility has retracted a December 2005 article about the use of real-time polymerase chain reaction in premature ovarian failure after determining the paper had been already published in a Korean journal. "A duplicate publication violates the Fertility and Sterility policies," Sean Tipton, a spokesperson for the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, which publishes F&S, told The Scientist. Earlier this year, Korean researcher Jeong-Hwan Kim contacted the journal, alleging that the F&S paper was copied from his thesis, published in 2004 in the Korean Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Kim was not listed as a co-author on the F&S study. In February, F&S editor-in-chief Alan DeCherney told The Scientist he planned to add Jeong-Hwan Kim to the list of co-authors, but would not retract the article, since the science was not in question. However, the journal did not take any action until yesterday (April 26), when the ASRM retracted the entire paper. DeCherney declined to comment for this article. The journal has barred the corresponding author on both the F&S and Korean papers, Sook-Hwan Lee, from contributing to F&S for three years. ASRM decided not to penalize any of the other F&S authors because Lee "took full responsibility for the duplicate publication," Tipton said. He said ASRM notified all of the co-authors on both the F&S and Korean Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology papers of the decision. The publications committee of the ASRM met April 13 to discuss the paper, a meeting Tipton confirmed, but declined to elaborate on the "processes" reviewers went through in reaching their decision. Tipton added that the decision to retract does not reflect on the paper's scientific validity. "We were hopeful that the paper would not be retracted, but we are pleased that the board recognized its scientific merit," CHA Health Systems, headed by first author of the F&S paper Kwang-Yul Cha, said in a statement released yesterday. "We have said from the beginning" that Lee was the only co-author who knew the paper had already been published, and "we are gratified that the F&S board reached the same conclusion." Jeong-Hwan Kim, first author of the Korean paper, told The Scientist he is "not happy with the decision," since it only penalizes one author. Kim claims he performed the bulk of the research on both papers; consequently, he said he believes the paper was plagiarized, not duplicated. Calling the paper a "duplication" suggests the co-authors copied their own work, rather than a paper by Kim et al, he noted. A statement ASRM released yesterday about the decision notes that the article first appeared in the Korean Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (KJOG), under a different title, "with some authors different from those listed in the publication appearing in Fertility and Sterility." The release does not mention Jeong-Hwan Kim. Alison McCook Links within this article: KY Cha et al, "Quantification of mitochondrial DNA using real-time polymerase chain reaction in patients with premature ovarian failure," Fertility and Sterility, December 2005. A. McCook, "New details in Korean plagiarism case," The Scientist , April 10, 2007. A. McCook, "Fertility journal censures scientists," The Scientist , February 20, 2007. A. McCook, "Korean plagiarism case ongoing," The Scientist , April 26, 2007. CHA Health Systems

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