Former PhD Student Loses Two Papers for Forging Co-Author's Name

Adam Marcus

August 23, 2022

The journal of a national scientific society in Europe has retracted a pair of papers after a heart specialist in Belgium complained that his name had been included on the manuscripts with neither his knowledge nor permission.

The articles appeared in the official journal of the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts: Section of Medical Sciences this July.

Both were led by Sofija Popevska and included a single co-author: Frank Rademakers, a cardiologist at KU Leuven. One was titled "The Left Ventricular Pressure-Volume Area and Stroke Work in Porcine Model of Ascending Compared to Descending Thoracic Aorta Stenosis Creating a Chronic Early Vs. Late Left Ventricular Afterload Increase." The other, "Prolonged Asynchronous Left Ventricular Isovolumic Relaxation Constant in Ascending Compared to Descending Thoracic Aortic Stenosis for Chronic Early Left Ventricular Afterload and Late Left Ventricular Afterload Increase."

The problem, as Rademakers told us, was that he'd had nothing to do with the work.

I flagged these articles, when a collaborator mentioned them to me, as I was never involved in the preparation of these papers and never consented in being a co-author.
Mrs Popevska did start a PhD in Leuven under the supervision of Prof. [Piet] Claus and myself but the collaboration was ended before the completion of the PhD work and she has no standing position at KU Leuven at this moment.

Rademakers said Popevksa left the institution under a cloud of suspicion. Popevska did not respond to a request for comment.

The two retraction notices read:

The co-author Frank Rademakers has not contributed to the paper and has never authorized the paper to be published with his name as a co-author.

Rademakers said he was pleased with the journal's swift response to his complaints:

they reacted promptly and immediately agreed to retract.

We also found Rademakers' name on another piece of work with Popevska, a presentation at this year's annual meeting of the Belgian Society of Cardiology.

Rademakers said he'd been unaware of the study before we showed it to him:

I was not aware and did not work with her on this presentation at all.

Adam Marcus, a co-founder of Retraction Watch, is an editor at Medscape.