Data misappropriation/theft

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Full page history

  • 12 February 2021

    Changes to title as per the revision to the All Flowcharts PDF

  • 4 November 2020

    CP added


Misattributed authorship and unauthorized use of data


The director of a research laboratory contacted our journal regarding an article published earlier this year. The director claimed that the documents and data used in the article were collected at his research laboratory and used by author A without his knowledge and permission.


Authorship dispute


A manuscript was published in journal X, submitted by several co-authors, including one of the editors in chief of journal X, Dr A (the article was handled by another editor in chief at the journal). Another researcher, Dr B, has claimed that this article should be withdrawn because it contains unauthorized data from him (Dr B).


Unusually frequent submission of articles by a single author


A sixth year medical student, with expected year of graduation of 2013 (Mr X), submitted 29 original articles and 17 letters to the editor in the period February 2012 to October 2012 to our journal. This amounted to an average of five submissions per month. Mr X is an author and corresponding author in every article. Of these, he is the first author of eight original research articles and 12 letters. In the remaining one he is a co-author. The articles are on very diverse subjects.


Retraction or expression of concern?


Shortly after publishing a short report, another group involved in similar work accused one of the authors (A) of the short report of fabricating and/or stealing data from their lab. The other group also stated that author A’s conclusions about an image published in the short report were wrong.


Plagiarism case


A letter was sent to the editor indicating that three articles (one of them in the editor’s journal) on identical subjects had been published in the same year (2006) by the same authors, accusing the first author of all three articles of stealing data from and plagiarising a previously published article from the academic institution where the first author previously worked.


Accusation of theft of a model


During refereeing of an article, one of the referees made an accusation of theft regarding a model described in the article. The referee and the authors had been collaborating on a review article previously, but had fallen out. The journal requested evidence from the parties. This involved several rounds of requests to the accuser, as the journal felt that the accuser was not providing anything amounting to actual evidence of the alleged theft.


Stolen data and omission from the authorship list


An author wrote to the editor of a specialist journal, indicating that a paper had been published without appropriate recognition of himself as an author. In his letter he stated that he had contributed more than 50% of the cases reported. The first author had “not only stolen my data and published it without my consent, but also omitted my name. ” The editor has written to the authors of the paper asking for further information, but should any further action be taken?