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Researchers in China have acquired an expression of concern for a latest paper on COVID-19 pneumonia after editors have been alerted to suspicious similarities between the tables within the article and people in a 2018 research by members of the identical group.

In case you missed that: The pandemic began lengthy after 2018.

The article, “Lung ultrasound rating in establishing the timing of intubation in COVID-19 interstitial pneumonia: A preliminary retrospective observational research,” appeared in early September in PLOS ONE. Led by Xiao Lu, the authors have been affiliated with the Division of Emergency Medication at Zhejiang College College of Medication, in Hangzhou.

The authors seem to have been submitting problematic information, in addition to overlapping textual content, to a number of journals, based on one editor who noticed unlikely patterns of their outcomes and raised alarms. However the researchers say the issues resulted from lack of recordkeeping somewhat than misconduct.

In line with the expression of concern, which is dated Nov. 30, 2020:

Following the publication of this text [1], considerations have been raised concerning the similarity between outcomes reported in Desk 1 and Desk 2 on this article, and ends in an article beforehand printed within the Journal of Intensive Care Medication [2]. Particularly,The BMI and SOFA scores reported in Desk 1 of [1] are equivalent to the BMI and SOFA scores reported in Desk 1 of [2] regardless of describing completely different research populations.

The reported P worth for the gender division parameters in Tables 1 of each articles [1, 2] is equivalent.

The Respiratory price and the PaCO2, mmHg scores reported in Desk 2 of [1] are equivalent to the T1 (Preliminary EICU presentation 2 hours) Respiratory price and the PaCO2, mmHg scores reported in Desk 2 of [2] regardless of describing completely different research populations.

The Pulse price reported in Desk 2 of [1] is extra much like the Pulse price reported in Desk 2 of [2] than could be anticipated from impartial research.

The corresponding writer agrees there are similarities between the info reported in these articles [1, 2] and indicated they’re checking the underlying information.

PLOS ONE is at the moment reassessing the article and following up on the above points in accordance with COPE steering and journal insurance policies. In the meantime, the PLOS ONE Editors challenge this Expression of Concern.

The JICM paper, on which Lu is also first writer, is titled “Bedside ultrasound assessment of lung reaeration in patients with blunt thoracic injury receiving high-flow nasal cannula oxygen therapy: a retrospective study.”

In response to an e mail request for remark, Lu advised us:

we do discover there are some similarities between the info reported within the paper and my one other article 2018
Journal Of Intensive Care Medication
article. We’ll examine all the info and discover the explanations. As the knowledge in our paper, the sufferers have been carried out in a single makeshift ICU in Wuhan,and our medicial group was help to constructed this ICU and deal with the sufferers there. We do use the LUS [lung ultrasound] to examine the sufferers on a regular basis and it was additionally proved to be a great tool. Nevertheless the LUS of the sufferers weren’t recorded within the unique documen [sic], and the unique documens of the sufferers have been simply left in that makeshift ICU and had not been preservation by us. We simply report sufferers info within the phrase recordsdata as we completed our job in Wuhan. We might examine the data recoeded [sic] in our phrase recordsdata. Could also be the issue was within the file.


We don’t deny the questionable factors of those information, espesilly [sic] the affected person traits at baseline; however we didn’t intentionally pretend it or copy the info as we do the research earlier than. I will probably be answerable for this as the primary and Corresponding writer.

John Loadsman, the chief editor of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, advised us the issues don’t finish there:

The primary writer (corresponding on the PLoS One paper) submitted a 3rd paper to my journal reporting a research of 98 sufferers (49 per group). It was about utilizing two types of non-invasive ventilatory help to stop extubation failure, so fairly a special research to the earlier publications. However, and as with the PLoS One paper, most of the means, customary deviations and p-values in each the demographic and outcomes tables have been equivalent to these within the different two papers. I seen the issue with the info after our astute SAGE Peer Overview Supervisor introduced potential textual content similarity points to my consideration. I perceive investigations by the opposite two journals are ongoing.

Loadsman famous that each one three articles acknowledge the assistance of an modifying companies outfit known as LetPub, which has workplaces in the USA, Europe, South America and Asia.

Clark Holdsworth, the analysis communications supervisor at LetPub’ mother or father firm, Accdon, stated issues with the articles his agency works on “all the time disappointing to see,” however added that LetPub doesn’t become involved within the manufacturing of tables:

This manuscript got here to us for our customary language modifying service and would have been edited for spelling, punctuation, and grammar. We’re solely capable of present editorial help, so we don’t produce figures or tables. Primarily, these tasks undergo the identical thorough copy modifying carried out by most journals previous to publication.


Relating to determine modifying, the editor answerable for the manuscript receives them as a PDF for reference solely. Within the occasion of a typo contained inside the figures, the editor would merely specify the correction in a remark, for the writer to revise themselves in whichever software program they used for producing the determine. Relating to desk modifying, tables can be found to the editor within the Phrase doc and the editor revises these for spelling, punctuation, and grammar, until the writer particularly requests for us to exclude them from the scope of modifying, wherein case the editor nonetheless receives them for reference. As you may think, our revisions to tables are discovered within the title, legend, and column/row headings.

By our count, the EoC marks the fourth such discover for COVID-19 articles. One other 44 have been retracted or briefly retracted. Did we miss any? Tell us.