Researcher Who Faked Co-Authors Earns Two More Retractions, Publication Ban

Retraction Watch Staff

August 06, 2021

Nine months after Retraction Watch notified a pair of journals about fraudulent letters they’d published by a researcher in Singapore, the publications are now being retracted.

As we reported last October following earlier news reports, Shunjie Chua, fabricated the names and affiliations of co-authors in at least four articles, two of which were being retracted. At the time, we found two letters to the editor by Chua and his “colleagues” and brought them to the attention of the journals in which those articles had appeared. Editors told us they had been unaware of the fabrications.

Late last month, one of the journals, Obstetrics & Gynecology, issued the following retraction notice:

The Editors of Obstetrics & Gynecology are retracting “Association of Fecundity With Changes in Adult Female Weight” by Chua et al,1 originally published as a Letter in the journal’s January 2016 issue ( http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/AOG.0000000000001220 )
The Singapore Medical Council conducted an investigation and determined that the corresponding author, Dr. Shunjie Chua, provided two fictitious coauthors (Mark Pitts, PhD, and Peter Lemark, MD, MBA).2 As a result of this fabrication, the journal is retracting the Letter.

The other letter appeared in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery (now Facial Plastic Surgery & Aesthetic Medicine) in 2015.

After we queried the publisher — MaryAnn Liebert — again about the case, Susan Jensen, the director of production and editorial operations, said the journal would be retracting Chua’s commentary. The notice states:

Facial Plastic Surgery & Aesthetic Medicine (formerly JAMA Fascial [sic] Plastic Surgery) officially retracts the published Commentary entitled, “Importance of Understanding the Validity and Reliability of Visual Analog Scales for Rating of Personality,” by Shunjie Chua, Mark Pitts, and Peter Lemark (JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery ; 2015;17(4):311; doi: https://doi.org/10.1001/jamafacial.2015.0676 ) based on an investigation conducted by the Singapore Medical Council which determined that the corresponding author, Dr. Shunjie Chua, named two fictitious coauthors, Mark Pitts, PhD and Peter Lemark, MD, MBA, on the material.
In the published Commentary, Dr. Chua indicated that coauthor Mark Pitts, PhD, was affiliated with The Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois, and that another coauthor, Peter Lemark, MD, MBA, was associated with The Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois. Dr. Chua listed himself as being affiliated with the Duke NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore and the Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina. In addition to this journal’s retraction of Dr. Chua’s Commentary, the findings of the investigation of the Singapore Medical Council resulted in the retractions of two other articles from the Singapore Medical Journal.1,2 Dr. Chua has also been the subject of legal proceedings in Singapore.3
Authorship fabrication is extraordinarily inappropriate. The editorial leadership of the Journal and its Publisher consider it a significant violation of the standard and proper protocols of scientific research and publishing and officially retracts the published Commentary from the literature. Dr. Chua is also permanently banned from submitting to FPSAM.
The Editor and Publisher of Facial Plastic Surgery & Aesthetic Medicine (formerly JAMA FPS) are committed to preserving the integrity of the scientific literature and the community it serves and does not tolerate any misconduct or impropriety.

Chua has been struck off the Singapore medical register.

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