British Journal of Sports Medicine retracts further 9 articles authored by former editor in chief

That British Journal of Sports Medicine has 9 other non-research articles written by former editor-in-chief Dr. Paul McCrory are withdrawn and an “Expression of Concern” is placed on 38 other articles published in BMJ journals where he is the sole author.

These latest retractions follow the retraction of an editorial earlier this year in the British Journal of Sports Medicineprompted by concerns that the article bore similarities to an article being written for world of physics.

McCrory, currently at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health in Melbourne, Australia, edited the journal between 2001 and 2008 and during that time published at least 164 articles in BMJ journals – most of them in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

The decision to withdraw these articles follows an internal investigation by BMJ’s Research Integrity Team and the current Editor-in-Chief of the British Journal of Sports Medicine. The reason for this was allegations by the researcher Dr. Nick Brown for publishing misconduct.

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The 9 retractions concern all opinion pieces, commentaries and editorials for which McCrory is the sole author: they include 5 cases of plagiarism and 3 cases of superfluous publication.

In the other retracted article, McCrory inaccurately quotes the position of Dr. Augustus Thorndike and misrepresents them as stated in an earlier publication from 1952.

The quote distorts Thorndike’s recommendations for dealing with continued participation in contact sports after a concussion, which McCrory used to support his stance in the article.

Given the pattern of McCrory’s publishing misconduct uncovered by both BMJ’s investigations, the publisher has decided that all content published in its journals, including the British Journal of Sports Medicinewhere he is identified as the only author to bring the readers’ attention to the conclusions of these investigations.

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An editorial setting out the details of the latest investigation and published online at British Journal of Sports Medicinehighlights McCrory’s “most influential work”: 5 iterations of the international consensus guidelines on concussion developed and published in the journal in 2001, 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016.

After reviewing the 2016 concussion consensus statement, the research integrity team concluded that it had “no plagiarism concerns” and considered that “the issue of the scope of McCrory’s contribution to and impact on the five versions of the consensus statement falls within the Responsibilities of the Scientific Committee set up by the Concussion in Sport Group (CISG).”

The editorial notes that after the plagiarism allegations first surfaced, McCrory resigned his leadership position in the CISG, an international association of clinicians and scientists with an interest in concussion in sport, and resigned his role as a member of the Scientific Committee of the International Consensus Conference on Concussion in Sport.

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BMJ has identified 40 research articles published in its journals that McCrory co-authored: 18 of these were published during his tenure as Editor-in-Chief British Journal of Sports Medicine.

“We have received no specific allegations of wrongdoing in relation to these articles,” the editorial reads, which concludes with a promise to investigate any further allegations of McCrory’s publishing record in BMJ journals.

“The scientific record is based on trust, and BMJ’s trust in McCrory’s work – particularly the articles he published as a single author – has been broken. We will investigate any new claims we receive about McCrory’s work in BMJ journals. We ask other publishers and his institution to do the same.”


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