A leading medical journal, the British Journal of Sports Medicine, has retracted nine more articles written by its former editor-in-chief and applied “expressions of concern” on 38 additional articles on which he is the sole author that were published in BMJ journals.
This is the latest development in the investigation, which concerns possible plagiarism and misrepresentation of information in articles that were written solely by Dr. Paul McCrory.
The journal retracted nine more non-research articles in addition to the retraction earlier this year of an editorial he wrote. In that editorial, there were concerns it shared similarities with a piece published in the journal Physics World. The researcher on that piece made the first allegations about publication misconduct.
These latest articles were all opinion pieces, commentaries and editorials. Five involved cases of plagiarism, three of redundant publication and one in which the BMJ said McCrory misrepresented Dr. Augustus Thorndike's position in a 1952 publication on managing sports participation after a concussion. McCrory used this misrepresentation to support his stance in the article, the BMJ said.
BMJ also placed expressions of concern on 38 other pieces authored solely by McCrory after an internal investigation, according to a journal news release.
The journal published an editorial online Oct. 10 that describes the investigation and highlights McCrory's most influential work, which were international consensus guidelines on concussion from 2001, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016. They were all published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
The investigators reviewed those latest guidelines and found “no concerns about plagiarism.” In the new editorial, the journal's current editor-in-chief, Jonathan Drezner, of the University of Washington, Seattle, and colleagues said that “the question of the extent of McCrory's contribution to, and influence on, the five versions of the consensus statement is a matter within the purview of the scientific committee appointed by the Concussion in Sport Group [CISG].”
McCrory edited the British Journal of Sports Medicine between 2001 and 2008. He is now at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health in Melbourne, Australia. He resigned his leadership position in the CISG after the allegations were made. He also left his role as member of the Scientific Committee of the International Consensus Conference on Concussion in Sport.
McCrory published at least 164 articles in BMJ journals, of which 40 were co-authored research articles, including 18 during the time he was the editor-in-chief of the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
“We have not received any specific allegation of misconduct relating to these papers,” the BMJ editorial said.
“The scientific record relies on trust, and BMJ's trust in McCrory's work -- specifically the articles that he has published as a single author -- is broken," the editorialists concluded. "We will investigate any new allegations that we receive about McCrory's work in BMJ journals. We ask other publishers and his institution to do the same.”
Read more about the British Journal of Sports Medicine retractions.
SOURCE: BMJ, news release, Oct. 10, 2022