In plagiarism case involving MU doctors, author raises red flag

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 | 6:24 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — The author of a medical journal article published in 2006 raised the red flag that led to allegations of plagiarism against two MU researchers, according to the company that published the original piece.

The American Journal of the Medical Sciences last week retracted an article co-written by Amar Jadhav and Anand Chockalingam, two doctors at the MU School of Medicine. It said they had plagiarized parts of the 2006 piece published in a separate journal, Heart.

A third reseacher, Apeksha Ingole, who is affiliated with a medical school in India, also worked on the MU researchers' article, entitled “Ventricular Ectopic Beats: An Overview of Management Considerations.” It was published in the February issue of the medical sciences journal.

The author of the original article, G. André Ng, contacted the editor of Heart after noticing the MU researchers' work was similar to his own. The editor informed British Medical Journal Group, which publishes Heart, of the similar work. The two articles were compared using plagiarism detection software called iThenticate, BMJ spokeswoman Caroline White said. She said the result was a “very high percentage similarity rating.”

BMJ contacted the editor of the medical sciences journal with a request to investigate. After an expert review of the two papers, the medical sciences journal agreed its article had plagiarized the Heart article, White said.

After determining the article was plagiarized, the American Journal of the Medical Sciences issued its retraction.

The editor of the medical sciences journal, David Ploth, declined to comment further.  

MU officials were first made aware of the allegations July 2 by the medical sciences journal, Christian Basi of the MU News Bureau said.

On Aug. 3, MU assigned the investigation to an ad hoc inquiry committee, which is responsible for investigating the charges and determining whether there is sufficient evidence to warrant a referral to the Standing Committee on Research Responsibility, Basi said.

The month-long delay in initiating the investigation was the result of summer absences, Basi said.

The two researchers will remain MU faculty members while the investigation progresses. “Nothing has changed regarding their employment status,” Basi said.

Researchers found to have committed research misconduct such as plagiarism are subject to discipline and could be fired, Basi said.

The retraction was first reported by the website Retraction Watch, which tracks article retractions in scientific journals.

Attempts to reach Jadhav and Chockalingam have been referred to MU officials.

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.

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