Anaesthesiology Department, College of Medicine, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Al Khubar, Saudi Arabia.
Background: The overall similarity index (OSI) and highest similarity scores (HSSs) from a single source might help to predict the potential reasons for the retraction from the anesthesia journals.
Methods: Retracted publications, from five highest impact anesthesia journals, were retrieved from the MEDLINE and journal archives and analyzed using a plagiarism detection software (iThenticate) and manually verified for citation characteristics, OSI, HSS, and the presence, extent, and location of the duplicate text. The validity of the OSI including and excluding quotations and references and the HSS in predicting the potential reasons for retraction were tested using the receiver operating characteristic curves.
Results: Of the total 138 retracted original and corresponding articles identified, 131 articles were analyzed. Most of them had the HSS more than 40% arising from a single source. Extensive degree of plagiarism (OSI score >35%) was identified through the main text of all analyzed retracted articles. The areas under the curves indicate that the OSI including and excluding quotations and bibliography and the HSS had reasonable ability to predict plagiarism and fabrication with a perfect sensitivity rate and low specificity but were weaker at distinguishing ethical misconduct or inconsistent or erroneous contents.
Conclusions: The study highlights the presence of significant plagiarism in the retracted anesthesia publications irrespective to the reasons for retraction. The high OSI and the HSS could be useful tools to identify the potential manuscripts with high risks for plagiarism and fabrication.
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