Wednesday, January 30, 2008

More plagiarism at Harvard

An account of plagiarism by a Harvard professor has some eerie similarities to the Poshard plagiarism at SIU:

A British medical journal said today [Jan. 29, 08]it has retracted an article written by a Harvard doctor because it duplicates material previously published in another scientific journal by a different author.

Dr. Lee S. Simon's review of treatments for rheumatoid arthritis, which appeared in Best Practices & Research: Clinical Rheumatology in 2004, contained substantial portions from a 2003 article on the same topic in Expert Opinion: Drug Safety.

"This paper has been retracted," according to a statement issued by the Best Practice journal. "It included the reproduction of several sections of text and much of the reference list" from the earlier paper.
[by Elizabeth Cooney at the Boston Globe]

IPBiz notes that at page 54 of his Ph.D. thesis Poshard copied from a previous review (in a book) to summarize his own "review" of the literature. At least Simon only copied a one year old review! Poshard copied from a book older than the time period he was reviewing. Simon is a Harvard Medical School faculty member and evaluated painkillers, including COX-2 inhibitors, for the US Food and Drug Administration [FDA] in 2002 and 2003. The now-ironically-named "Best Practice" journal, in which the plagiarized work appeared, is published by Elsevier in England.

The Chronicle of Higher Education reported:

The Boston Globe reported yesterday that the journal Best Practice & Research Clinical Rheumatology had retracted a 2004 paper by Lee S. Simon, an associate clinical professor of medicine at Harvard University, because it contained overlapping text with a 2003 article in the journal Expert Opinion on Drug Safety.

The researchers who sounded the warning bell last week had found the paper through a search that turned up 70,000 copycat abstracts of biomedical papers. Dr. Simon’s abstract was one of more than 70 possible plagiarism cases they identified when they studied 2,600 abstracts individually. The researchers, who are at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, notified the journals and authors in several of those cases. The retraction appears to be the first result of their sleuthing.

The Texas researchers discovered that Dr. Simon’s paper, a review of arthritis treatments, contained entire pages of text that matched those of the earlier paper, which was by Roy Fleischmann, also of Texas Southwestern. Dr. Simon’s article did not cite the earlier paper.

One recalls other episodes of Harvard plagiarism, including that of Laurence Tribe, and the now-famous line in the
Harvard Business Review: Plagiarize with Pride!. Well, at least Harvard is walking like it's talking.


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