Stephen Matthews (the chair of the physiology department) and Dawn Owen and Marcus Andrews (two of his research colleagues in U of T’s faculty of medicine) self-plagiarized in a paper in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews from five earlier reports. The allegations prompted a retraction of their 2005 paper, which was about the side effects of a drug commonly given to pregnant women at risk of early delivery. The article now has the word “retracted” stamped on it in large red font. The editor-in-chief of Retraction Watch, a group that investigates plagiarism in academia, revealed that the misconduct was caught by a software engine that the journal is now using. The notice stated that the retracted article “represents a severe abuse of the scientific publishing system”. Lloyd Rang, the executive director of communications at U of T’s faculty of medicine, said that they will not name the software used to detect the plagiarism. It is possible that it was Turnitin, a piece of software U of T often uses to find and deter plagiarism in student work. Rang describes the case as a “copyright squabble over a paper that was always intended as a review”. Rang did not comment on whether U of T will treat the plagiarism as an instance of research misconduct. Matthews himself declined to comment. His research has received more than $18 million from the Canadian Institute of Health Research and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. Neither organization had a comment on the case. As well, Susan Zimmerman, the executive director of Canada’s Secretariat of Research Ethics, said, “We cannot comment on whether a matter is under review or what recourse, if any, an agency has taken with respect to a matter.” The Federal Framework for the Responsible Conduct of Research defines redundant publication,  a type of self-plagiarism, as the “reproduction of one’s own previously published work or part thereof, or data, in the same or another language, without adequate acknowledgment of the source, or justification.

  • Phillip N

    “Healy talked about the inadequacy of clinical trials
    stating that “clinical trials in psychiatry have never showed that
    anything worked”. His point was that clinical trials demonstrate
    treatment effects and not whether or not a drug works. Healy was also
    critical of ghost-written scientific literature. He noted that the fact
    that unsuccessful clinical trials are suppressed and successful clinical
    trials are over reported was not scientifically sound.”

    just another day at UofT? This is disgusting. When will it stop?

  • Phillip

    Professors have the right, I think, to dismiss a student’s mark for plagiarism. I propose students reclaim their right of direct democracy and dismiss these professors, and many like them. It’ll open up the labour market.

  • anon