Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Dartmouth plagiarism flap: copying as a natural progression?

In an article titled College investigation alleges plagiarism by health policy professor , The Dartmouth reveals
plagiarism issues associated with a highly-cited 2016 article in the New England Journal of Medicine. The activities in question concern H. Gilbert Welch.

Of note in the text:

Soneji [plagiarism victim] alleged that after a giving a presentation on his findings in May 2015, Welch asked to use one of the slides for a class. Later that year, Soneji and Beltran-Sanchez submitted their study to NEJM but were rejected; a year later, Welch published a similar article in NEJM. When Soneji and Beltran-Sanchez tried to publish their study again that year in a different journal, they were told by a peer reviewer that the article was too similar to the one just published by Welch.

The article, which found that mammograms are likely to cause unnecessary treatment by discovering tumors that will never becoming life-threatening, received significant press coverage and was ranked in the top one percent of all research articles that year in its subject. Soneji and Beltran-Sanchez have called on NEJM to retract the article, but upon receiving Dartmouth’s findings, the journal described the incident in an Aug. 10 letter to the College as an “authorship dispute” and declined to retract the article. In a statement to Retraction Watch, Welch denied the College’s findings, calling the article a “natural progression” of his research.

Apart from the issue with Welch, there are questions which might be asked of NEJM.

[This author had a similar experience; recall also plot elements in the 1995 Law&Order episode "Big Bang."]


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