22 September 2022

Further apparent (self-)plagiarism in the work of Dr Paul McCrory

In an earlier post I reported on a number of apparently plagiarised or self-plagiarised articles by Dr Paul McCrory. Since then there have been a number of developments in this story, which has attracted attention from media worldwide, especially in Australia, led by Melissa Davey of the Guardian, who has written about the present blog post here.

In this post I present 10 more examples of apparent text recycling by the same author. These are admittedly quite similar in style and content to the first set, but I felt that having done the work to identify these supplementary issues it was worthwhile documenting them. I feel that they demonstrate the scale of the problem: Dr McCrory has been churning out very similar stories (mostly about concussion in sports) for 20 years, while, as far as I have been able to establish, performing very little original empirical or other research in that time.

Note that Exhibits 8, 9, and 10 include the apparent recycling of text from work that does not have Dr McCrory listed as an author (i.e., apparent plagiarism-proper rather than self-plagiarism). I omitted the case of a chapter in a book (B) that contained many paragraphs of recycled text from a chapter by Dr McCrory in an earlier book (A), because in book B he is only listed as a contributor at the start of the book (i.e., his name does not appear directly on the chapter in question).

There are probably still a few more cases to be uncovered, but it can be laborious work, especially when the only source of a document is the Google Books preview.

Finally, as a "bonus", and to show just how big a problem plagiarism is in science and academia more generally, I've included a case where Dr McCrory's work was apparently plagiarised by other authors.


Exhibit 1

McCrory, P. (2005). Does second impact syndrome exist? Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, 11(3), 144–149. https://doi.org/10.1097/00042752-200107000-00004 

About 60% of this article appears to have been copied, verbatim and without appropriate attribution, from:

  • McCrory, P. R., & Berkovic, S. F. (1998). Second impact syndrome. Neurology, 50(3), 677–683. https://doi.org/10.1212/WNL.50.3.677

The copied text is highlighted in blue here:

Exhibit 2

McCrory, P., le Roux, P. D., Turner, M., Kirkeby, I. R., & Johnston, K. M. (2012). Rehabilitation of acute head and facial injuries. In R. Bahr (Ed.), The IOC manual of sports injuries (pp. 95–100). Wiley. 

About 70% of this chapter appears to have been copied, verbatim and without appropriate attribution, from the following sources:

  • Yellow: McCrory, P., & Rise, I. R. (2004). Head and face. In R. Bahr & S. Maehlum (Eds.), Clinical guide to sports injuries (pp. 55–90). Human Kinetics. https://books.google.com/books?id=mmRnr0x0p4QC
  • Blue: McCrory, P. (2007). Who should retire after repeated concussions? In D. MacAuley & T. M. Best (Eds.), Evidence-based sports medicine (2nd ed., pp. 93–107). Blackwell.
  • Green: McCrory, P., Meeuwisse, W., Johnston, K., Dvorak, J., Aubry, M., Molloy, M., & Cantu, R. (2009). Consensus statement on concussion in sport: The 3rd international conference on concussion in sport held in Zurich, November 2008. Journal of Athletic Training, 44(4), 434–448. https://doi.org/10.4085/1062-6050-44.4.434

Exhibit 3

McCrory, P. (2007). Who should retire after repeated concussions? In D. MacAuley & T. M. Best (Eds.), Evidence-based sports medicine (2nd ed., pp. 93–107). Blackwell. 

About 35% of this chapter (which appeared as a source text in the previous exhibit) appears to have been copied, verbatim and without appropriate attribution, from the following sources:

  • Yellow: McCrory, P. (2002). Treatment of recurrent concussion. Current Sports Medicine Reports, 1(1), 28–32. https://doi.org/10.1249/00149619-200202000-00006
  • Blue: McCrory, P. (2001). When to retire after concussion? British Journal of Sports Medicine, 35(6), 380–382.
  • Pink: McCrory, P. (2002). Boxing and the brain. British Journal of Sports Medicine36(1), 2.
  • Green: McCrory, P., Johnston, K., Meeuwisse, W.,  Aubry, M., Cantu, R., Dvorak, J., T Graf-Baumann, T., Kelly, J., Lovell, M., & Schamasch, P. (2005). Summary and agreement statement of the 2nd International Conference on Concussion in Sport, Prague 2004. British Journal of Sports Medicine39(4), 196–204. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsm.2005.018614

Exhibit 4

McCrory, P. (2002). Treatment of recurrent concussion. Current Sports Medicine Reports1(1), 28–32. https://doi.org/10.1249/00149619-200202000-00006 

About 40% of this article (which appeared as a source text in the previous exhibit) appears to have been copied, verbatim and without appropriate attribution, from the following sources (which also appeared as source texts in the previous exhibit):

  • Yellow: McCrory, P. (2001). When to retire after concussion? British Journal of Sports Medicine35(6), 380–382.
  • Blue: McCrory, P. (2002). Boxing and the brain. British Journal of Sports Medicine36(1), 2.
  • Pink: McCrory, P., Johnston, K. M., Mohtadi, N. G., & Meeuwisse, W. (2001). Evidence-based review of sport-related concussion: Basic science. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, 11(3), 160–165. https://doi.org/10.1097/00042752-200107000-00006

Exhibit 5

McCrory, P. (2001). The “piriformis syndrome”—myth or reality? British Journal of Sports Medicine35(4), 209–211. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsm.35.4.209-a

About 90% of this editorial appears to have been copied, verbatim and without appropriate attribution, from:

  • McCrory, P., & Bell, S. (1999). Nerve entrapment syndromes as a cause of pain in the hip, groin and buttock. Sports Medicine, 27(4), 261–274. https://doi.org/10.2165/00007256-199927040-00005

Exhibit 6

McCrory, P. (2002). What advice should we give to athletes postconcussion? British Journal of Sports Medicine36(5), 316–318. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsm.36.5.316

About 50% of this article appears to have been copied, verbatim and without appropriate attribution, from:

  • McCrory, P. (1997). Were you knocked out? A team physician's approach to initial concussion management. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 29(7 suppl.), S207–212. https://doi.org/10.1097/00005768-199707001-00002

Exhibit 7

McCrory, P. (2005). Head injuries in sport. In G. Whyte, M. Harries, & C. Williams (Eds.), SABC of Sports and Exercise Medicine (3rd ed., pp. 8–15). Blackwell.

About 30% of the main text of this chapter (which is not the same as the 2015 chapter "Head injuries in sports", which was discussed in my earlier blog post) appears to have been copied, verbatim and without appropriate attribution, from the following sources:

  • Yellow: McCrory, P. (1997). Were you knocked out? A team physician's approach to initial concussion management. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise29(7 suppl.), S207–212. https://doi.org/10.1097/00005768-199707001-00002
  • Pink: Aubry, M., Cantu, R., Dvorak, J., T Graf-Baumann, T., Johnston, K., Kelly, J., Lovell, M., McCrory, P., Meeuwisse, W., & Schamasch, P. (2005). Summary and agreement statement of the  first International Conference on Concussion in Sport, Vienna 2001. British Journal of Sports Medicine36(1), 6–10. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsm.36.1.6

Exhibit 8

McCrory, P., Davis, G., & Makdissi, M. (2012). Second impact syndrome or cerebral swelling after sporting head injury. Current Sports Medicine Reports11(1), 21–23. https://doi.org/10.1249/JSR.0b013e3182423bfd

About 35% of this article appears to have been copied, verbatim and without appropriate attribution, from the following sources:

  • Yellow: McCrory, P. (2005). Does second impact syndrome exist? Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, 11(3), 144–149. https://doi.org/10.1097/00042752-200107000-00004
  • Blue: Randolph, C., & Kirkwood, M. W. (2009). What are the real risks of sport-related concussion, and are they modifiable? Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 15(4), 512–520. https://doi.org/10.1017/S135561770909064X
  • Green: Davis, G. A. (2012). Neurological outcomes. In M. W. Kirkwood & K. O. Yeates (Eds.), Mild traumatic brain injury in children and adolescents: From basic science to clinical management (pp. 99–122). Guilford Press.

Exhibit 9

McCrory, P. (2018). Concussion revisited: A historical perspective. In I. Gagnon & A. Ptito (Eds.), Sports concussions: A complete guide to recovery and management (pp. 9–24). CRC Press.

About 15% of this chapter appears to have been copied, verbatim and without appropriate attribution, from the following sources:

  • Yellow: McCrory, P., Feddermann-Demont, N., Dvořák, J., Cassidy, J. D., McIntosh, A., Vos, P. E., Echemendia, R. J., Meeuwisse, W., & Tarnutzer, A. A. (2017). What is the definition of sports-related concussion: A systematic review. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 51(11):877–887. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2016-097393
  • Blue: Zezima, K. (2014, May 29). How Teddy Roosevelt helped save football. The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2014/05/29/teddy-roosevelt-helped-save-football-with-a-white-house-meeting-in-1905/
  • Pink: Johnston, K. M., McCrory, P., Mohtadi, N. G., & Meeuwisse, W. (2001). Evidence-based review of sport-related concussion: Clinical science. Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine11(3), 150–159. https://doi.org/10.1097/00042752-200107000-00005

Exhibit 10

McCrory, P., Bell, S., & Bradshaw, C. (2002). Nerve entrapments of the lower leg, ankle and foot in sport. Sports Medicine32(6), 371–391. https://doi.org/10.2165/00007256-200232060-00003

About 20% of the text of this article appears to have been copied, verbatim and without appropriate attribution, from the following sources:

  • Yellow: McCrory, P. (2000). Exercise-related leg pain: Neurological perspective. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise32(3 suppl.), S11–14. https://doi.org/10.1097/00005768-200003001-00003
  • Green: Pecina, M. M., Markiewitz, A. D., & Krmpotic-Nemanic, J. (2001). Tunnel syndromes (3rd ed.). See Chapter 44, p. 229.

Bonus Exhibit: The biter bit?

Espinosa, N., Jr. & Klammer, G. (2018). Peripheral nerve entrapment around the foot and ankle. In M. D. Miller & S. R. Thompson (Eds.), DeLee & Drez's orthopaedic sports medicine (5th ed., pp. 1402–1420). Elsevier Health Sciences.

The highlighted sentences of this chapter appear to have been copied, verbatim and without appropriate attribution, from Exhibit 10:

  • McCrory, P., Bell, S., & Bradshaw, C. (2002). Nerve entrapments of the lower leg, ankle and foot in sport. Sports Medicine32(6), 371–391. https://doi.org/10.2165/00007256-200232060-00003

(This book was first published in 2003 and as far as I can have been able to establish, the chapter by Espinosa and Klammer was first added in the 4th edition in 2014. If by some chance I have got the order of recycling wrong then I humbly apologise to Drs. Espinosa and Klammer and will issue a correction.)

Data availability

All of the supporting files for this post can be found here. I imagine that this involves quite a few copyright violations of my own, in that many of the source documents are not open access. I hope that the publishers will forgive me for this, but if I receive a legal request to take down any specific file I will, of course, comply with that.

(The preceding paragraph has been copied verbatim from my first blog post on the McCrory matter. Ironic, I know.)

Acknowledgements

Big thanks to Sean Rife and James Heathers for letting me use their TAPAS tool to compare documents.


09 August 2022

An interesting lack of randomness in a published dataset: Scott and Dixson (2016)

Martin Enserink has just published the third instalment in an ongoing story of strange results and possible → likely → confirmed misconduct in the field of marine biology, and more specifically the purported effects of climate change on the behaviour of fish. The first two instalments are here (2020) and here (2021).

After Martin's 2021 article, I wrote this blog post describing a few analyses that I had contributed to this investigation. Today I want to look at a recently-corrected article from the same lab, mentioned by Martin in his latest piece (see the section entitled "A corrected paper"), and in particular at the data file that was released as part of the correction, as I think that it illustrates an interesting point about the forensic investigation of data.

Here is the article:

Scott, A., & Dixson, D. L. (2016). Reef fishes can recognize bleached habitat during settlement: Sea anemone bleaching alters anemonefish host selection. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 283, 20152694. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2015.2694

A correction notice was issued for this article on July 8, 2022, and that correction was accompanied by a data file, which can be downloaded from here

I suggest that you read Martin's articles to get an idea of the types of experiments being conducted here, as the Scott and Dixson article is typical of many coming from the same lab. Basically, 20 (usually) fish were each tested 24 times to see if they "preferred" (chose to swim in) one of two flumes (streams of water), A and B, and then this set of 24 trials was repeated a second time, so each pair of flumes was tested by 960 trials. In some cases the fish would be expected to have no preference between the flumes, and in others they should have a preference for water type A over B (for example, if B contained the odour of a predator or some other chemical suggesting an unfavourable environment),. The fact that in many case the fish preferred water B, either when they were expected to have no preference or (even worse) when they were expected to prefer water A, was taken by the authors as an indication that something had gone wrong in the fish's ability to make adaptive choices in their environment.

Here are the two main issues that I see with this (claimed) dataset.


This isn't what a dataset looks like

As I noted in my earlier post, this isn't what a dataset looks like. You don't collect data in multiple 2-D panels and lay those out in a further 2-D arrangement of 18 x 5 panels. If for some reason you did that, you would need to write some quite sophisticated software—probably a couple of hundred lines of Python or R code—to read the data in a form that is ready to generate the figures and/or tables that you would need for your article. (The code that I wrote to read the dataset from the Dixson et al. article that was the subject of my earlier blog post is around 300 lines long, including reasonable spacing.) That code would have to be able to cope with the inevitable errors that sneak into files when you are collecting data, such as occasional offsets, or a different number of fish in each chunk (the chunks on lines 78 through 94 only have 17 fish rather than 20; incidentally, the article says that each experiment was run on 18 to 20 fish), or an impossible value such as we see at cell DU46.

So there would seem to be two possibilities. Either the authors have some code that reads this file and reliably extracts the data in a form suitable for running the analyses; or, they have another data file which is more suited to reading into SPSS or R without having to strip away all of the formatting that makes the Excel sheet relatively visually appealing. Either way, they can surely provide one or other of those to us so that we can see how they dealt with the problems that I listed above. (I will leave it up to the reader to decide if there are any other possibilities.)


There is too little variation... in the unremarkable results

In my earlier blog post on this topic I analysed another dataset from the same lab (Dixson et al., 2014) in which there were numerous duplications, whereby the sequence of the numbers of choices of one or other flume for the 20 fish in one experiment were often very similar to those in another experiment, when there was no reason for that to be the case.

In the current dataset there are a few sets of repeated numbers of this kind (see image), but I don't think that they are necessarily a problem by themselves, for a couple of reasons.


Were these lines (in green) copied, or are the similarities caused by the limited range of the data? My hunch is that it's the latter, but it doesn't really matter.


First, these lines only represent sequences of a few identical numbers at a time, whereas in the 2014 dataset there were often entire duplicated groups of 20 fish.

Second, for most of these duplications, the range of the numbers is severely restricted because they (at least ostensibly) correspond to a large experimental effect. The Scott and Dixson article reports that in many cases, the fish chose flume A over flume B almost all of the time. The means that the numbers of observations of each fish in flume A, out of 24 opportunities, must almost always be 22 or 23 or 24, in order for the means to correspond to the figures in the article. There are only so many ways that such a small number of different predicted values can be distributed, and given that the person examining the dataset is free to look for matches across 180 20-fish (or 17-fish) columns of data, a number of duplicates of a certain length will very likely arise by chance.

However, the dataset also contains a number of cases where the fish appeared to have no preference between the two. The mean number of times out of 24 trials that they were recorded as having chosen flume A (or flume B) in these cases was close to 12. And it turns out that in almost all of these cases, there is a different lack of variation, not in the sequence of the observations (i.e., the numbers observed from top to bottom of the 20 fish across experiments), but in the variability of the numbers within each group of fish.

If the fish genuinely don't have a preference between the two flumes, then each trial is basically a Bernoulli trial with a probability of success 0.5, which is a fancy way of saying a coin toss, and so the 24 trials for each fish represent 24 coin tosses. Now, when you toss a coin 24 times, the most likely result is 12 heads and 12 tails, corresponding to the fish being in flume A and B 12 times each. However, although this result is the most likely, it's not especially likely; it will occur about 16% of the time, as you can see at this site (put 24 into "Number of Bernoulli trials", click Calculate, and the probability of each result will be in the table under the figure with the curve). If you repeat those 24 trials 100 times, you would expect to get 8 As and 16 Bs either 4 or 5 times, and 8Bs and 16 As also either 4 or 5 times.

Now let's look at the dataset. I identified 32 columns of data with 20 (or, in a few cases, 17) fish and a mean of around 12. I also included 3 other columns which had one or more values of 12; as I hope will become clear, this inclusion works in the authors' favour. I then calculated the standard deviation (SD) of the 20 (or 17) scores that are composed of 24 trials for each of these 35 columns of data.

Next, I generated one million random samples of 24 trials for 20 simulated fish and calculated the SD of each sample. For each of the 35 SDs taken from the dataset, I calculated the fraction of those million simulated SDs that were smaller than the dataset value. In other words, I calculated how likely it was that one would observe an SD as small as the one that appears in the dataset if the values in the dataset were indeed taken from 24 trials of 20 fish that had no preference between the flumes. Statistically-minded readers may recognise this as the p value for the null hypothesis that these data arose as the result of a natural process, as described by the authors of the Scott and Dixson paper.

The results are not very good for the authors. For only nine of the samples, including the three that contain a small number of scores of 12 but otherwise have a substantially different mean, the p values are greater than 0.05. Seven of the p values are zero, meaning that an SD as low as the one corresponding to the data reported by the authors did not occur at all in one million simulated samples (see image below for an example). A further six p values are less than 0.0001 and four are less than 0.001. The overall chances of obtaining these results from a natural process are hard to calculate accurately (for example, one would need to make a small adjustment for the fact that the results come in pairs of 20-fish samples, as each fish took part in 2 sets of 24 trials and those two sets are not independent), but in any case I think it can safely be described as homeopathic, if only from the seven cases of zero matches out of one million. 


Remarkably consistent results. SD in yellow (0.7863), proportion of simulated data values that have a lower SD in green (0.000000).


Conclusion

Lack of expected variability is a recurring theme in the investigation of bad science. Uri Simonsohn was one of the pioneers of this in his paper "Just Post It", and more recently Kyle Sheldrick came up with a novel method of checking whether the sequence of values in a dataset is "too regular". I hope that my explanation of the issues that I see in the Scott and Dixson dataset is clear.

Martin Enserink's latest piece mentions that the University of Delaware is seeking the retraction of three papers with Danielle Dixson as an author. Apparently the Scott and Dixson (2016) article—which, remember, has already been corrected once—is among those three papers. If nobody identifies a catastrophic error in my analyses then I plan to write to the editors of the journal to bring this issue to their attention.


Data availability

I have made an annotated copy of that file available here, which I think constitutes fair use.




07 March 2022

Some examples of apparent plagiarism and text recycling in the work of Dr Paul McCrory

Dr Paul McCrory of the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health has been in the news in the past few days. This started with a single retraction of an apparently plagiarised editorial piece in the British Journal of Sports Medicine from 2005, but after I started digging further and more problems came to light, he has now resigned as chair of the influential Concussion in Sport Group (CISG), as reported by The Guardian and The Athletic, among other outlets.

Since much of this story has only been covered in a series of separate threads on Twitter up to now, I thought I would take some time to document in one place the full extent of what I have found about Dr McCrory's extensive recycling of his own and others' writing.

The first five exhibits are already in the public domain, but I will include them here for completeness. If you have been following the story on Twitter up to now, you can skip straight to Exhibit 6.


Exhibit 1

McCrory, P. (2005). The time lords. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 39(11), 785–786.

About 50% of this article has been copied, verbatim and without appropriate attribution, from this 2000 article in Physics Today by Steve Haake, who was the person who first discovered Dr McCrory's plagiarism and brought it to the attention of the current editor-in-chief of the British Journal of Sports Medicine. The copied text is highlighted in pink here:


The editorial has now been retracted. This was reported by Retraction Watch on February 28, 2022. At that point I started looking into other articles by the same author.


Exhibit 2

McCrory, P. (2005). Definitions for the purist. British Journal of Sports Medicine39(11), 786.

About 70% of this article has been copied, verbatim and without appropriate attribution, from this website. A copy of that page, archived on May 22, 2003 (that is, two years before Dr McCrory's article was published) can be found here. The copied text is highlighted in yellow here:

I tweeted about this article on March 1, 2022. Retraction Watch picked up on that and later reported that the author had asked for the article to be retracted, giving an explanation that I found less than impressive.


Exhibit 3

McCrory, P. (2006). Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints…? British Journal of Sports Medicine40(7), 565. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsm.2006.029231

Nearly 80% of the words in this article have been copied, verbatim and without appropriate attribution, from the following sources:

  • Yellow: This website. A copy of that page, archived on December 7, 2003 (that is, more than two years before Dr McCrory's article was published) can be found here.
  • Pink: This article from New Scientist, dated April 16, 2005.
  • Blue: This website, dated March 2006 (several months before Dr McCrory's article was published). An archived copy from May 2, 2006 can be found here.
  • Green: This website, dated November 2005.
  • Grey: This website. An archived copy from September 6, 2003 can be found here.


As with Exhibit 2, I tweeted about this on March 1, 2022. The author came up with a quite remarkable story for Retraction Watch about why this article only merited a correction. I found that even less impressive than his excuses in the previous case.


Exhibit 4

McCrory, P. (2002). Commotio cordis. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 36(4), 236–237.

About 90% of the words in this article have been copied, verbatim and without appropriate attribution, from the following sources:

  • Yellow: Curfman, G. D. (1998). Fatal impact — Concussion of the heart. New England Journal of Medicine, 338(25), 1841-1843. https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJM199806183382511
  • Blue: Nesbitt, A. D., Cooper, P. J., & Kohl, P. (2001). Rediscovering commotio cordis. The Lancet, 357(9263):1195–1197. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(00)04338-5
    .

James Heathers discovered a couple of these overlaps on March 3, 2022 and I tweeted the full picture on March 4, 2022.

Exhibit 5

McCrory, P. (2005). A cause for concern? British Journal of Sports Medicine39(5), 249.

Almost half of the words in this article have been copied, verbatim and without appropriate attribution, from the following source:

  • Piazza, O., Anna-Leena Sirén, A.-L., & Ehrenreich, H. (2004). Soccer, neurotrauma and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: Is there a connection? Current Medical Research and Opinion, 20(4), 505–508. https://doi.org/10.1185/030079904125003296

 The copied text is highlighted in pink here:

I tweeted about this on March 4, 2022.

Exhibit 6

McCrory, P. (2002). Should we treat concussion pharmacologically? British Journal of Sports Medicine36(1), 3–5.

Almost 100% of the text has been copied, verbatim and without appropriate attribution, from:

  • McCrory, P. (2001). New treatments for concussion: The next millennium beckons. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, 11(3), 190–193.

That copied text is highlighted blue (light or dark) in the image below. The text in dark blue also overlaps with this MedLink article. Thus, either Dr McCrory plagiarised three paragraphs from MedLink in two separate articles, or MedLink plagiarised him. The MedLink article was initially published in 1997, but it has been updated since, so the direction of copying cannot be established with certainty unless I can find an archived copy from 2001. It may, however, be interesting that the "phase II safety and efficacity trial" mentioned (Dr McCrory's reference 22) has a date of 1997.


James Heathers discovered one of the overlaps in this text on March 3, 2022, but it took another couple of hours work at my end to uncover the full extent of the text recycling and possible plagiarism in this article.


Exhibit 7

McCrory, P. (2006). How should we teach sports medicine? British Journal of Sports Medicine40(5), 377.

About 60% of the words in this article have been copied, verbatim and without appropriate attribution, from the following sources:

  • Pink: Fallon,  K. E., & Trevitt, A. C. (2006). Optimising a curriculum for clinical haematology and biochemistry in sports medicine: A Delphi approach. British Journal of Sports Medicine40(2), 139–144. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsm.2005.020602
  • Blue: Long, G., & Gibbon, W. W. (2000). Postgraduate medical education: Methodology. British Journal of Sports Medicine34(4), 235–245.
Note that the Fallon & Trevitt article was published in the same journal just three months before it was plagiarised.


Exhibit 8

McCrory, P. (2008). Neurologic problems in sport. In M. Schwellnus (Ed.), Olympic textbook of medicine in sport (pp. 412–428). Wiley.

About 25% of the words in this book chapter have been copied, verbatim and without appropriate attribution, from other sources. Of that 25%, about two-thirds is recycled from other publications by the same author, and the remainder is plagiarised from other authors, as follows:
  • Orange: McCrory, P. (2000). Headaches and exercise. Sports Medicine, 30(3), 221–229. https://doi.org/10.2165/00007256-200030030-00006
  • Green: McCrory, P. (2001). Headache in sport. British Journal of Sports Medicine35(5), 286–287.
  • Blue: McCrory, P. (2005). A cause for concern? British Journal of Sports Medicine39(5), 249. (See also Exhibit 5.)
  • Yellow: Showalter, W., Esekogwu, V., Newton, K. I., & Henderson, S. O. (1997). Vertebral artery dissection. Academic Emergency Medicine, 4(10), 991–995. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1553-2712.1997.tb03666.x
  • Pink: This MedLink article, which was initially published in 1996, but has been updated since, so the direction of copying cannot be established with certainty unless I can find an archived copy from 2008. It may, however, be interesting that the citations in the pink text (Kaku & Lowenstein 1990; Brust & Richter 1977) both (a) predate the MedLink article and (b) are not — or no longer — referenced at the equivalent points in the MedLink text. It would seem unlikely that MedLink would (a) plagiarise Dr McCrory's article from 2008 at some point after that date and (b) remove these rather old citations (without replacing them with new ones).
(Don't bother squinting too hard at the page - the annotated PDF is available for you to inspect. See link at the end of this post.)

Exhibit 9

McCrory, P., & Turner, M. (2015). Concussion – Onfield and sideline evaluation. In D. McDonagh & D. Zideman (Eds.), The IOC manual of emergency sports medicine (pp. 93–105). Wiley.

About 50% of the words in this book chapter have been copied, verbatim and without appropriate attribution, from other sources, as follows:

  • Blue: McCrory, P., le Roux, P. D., Turner, M., Kirkeby, I. R., & Johnston, K. M. (2012). Head injuries. In R. Bahr (Ed.), The IOC manual of sports injuries (pp. 58–94). Wiley.
  • Yellow: McCrory, P., le Roux, P. D., Turner, M., Kirkeby, I. R., & Johnston, K. M. (2012). Rehabilitation of acute head and facial injuries. In R. Bahr (Ed.), The IOC manual of sports injuries (pp. 95–100). Wiley.
  • Green: Aubry, M., Cantu, R., Dvorak, J., Graf-Baumann, T., Johnston, K., Kelly, J., Lovell, M., McCrory, P., Meeuwisse, W., & Schamasch, P. (2001). Summary and agreement statement of the first International Conference on Concussion in Sport, Vienna 2001. British Journal of Sports Medicine36(1), 6–10. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsm.36.1.6
  • Pink: McCrory, P. (2015). Head injuries in sports. In M. N. Doral & J. Karlsson (Eds.), Sports injuries (pp. 2935–2951). Springer.

The pink text also appears in Exhibit 9, which was published in the same year, so it's not clear which is the original and which is the copy. I tweeted about some of the similarities between Exhibits 9 and 10 here, although I hadn't found everything at that point.

The green text in the final paragraph on page 105 appears to have been copied and pasted twice (it appears in two paragraphs on page 104), which might cause the reader to wonder exactly how much care and attention went into this copy-and-paste job.

Readers who are interested in the activities of the CISG might be interested to note that the 2001 Vienna conference (the "green" text reference above) was where the name of this group was first coined.

(Note that five pages, corresponding to the photographic reproduction of the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool and the Pocket Concussion Recognition Tool, have been omitted from this image.)

Exhibit 10

McCrory, P. (2015). Head injuries in sports. In M. N. Doral & J. Karlsson (Eds.), Sports injuries (pp. 2935–2951). Springer.

About 90% of the words in this book chapter have been copied, verbatim and without appropriate attribution, from other sources, as follows:

  • Blue (light and dark): McCrory, P. le Roux, P. D., Turner, M., Kirkeby, I. R., & Johnston, K. M. (2012). Head injuries. In R. Bahr (Ed.), The IOC manual of sports injuries (pp. 58–94). Wiley.
  • Yellow: McCrory, P. le Roux, P. D., Turner, M., Kirkeby, I. R., & Johnston, K. M. (2012). Rehabilitation of acute head and facial injuries. In R. Bahr (Ed.), The IOC manual of sports injuries (pp. 95–100). Wiley.
  • Pink: McCrory, P., & Turner, M. (2015). Concussion – Onfield and sideline evaluation. In D. McDonagh & D. Zideman (Eds.), The IOC manual of emergency sports medicine (pp. 93–105). Wiley.

The pink text also appears in Exhibit 9, which was published in the same year, so it's not clear which is the original and which is the copy.

The text in dark blue has been copied twice from the same source; again, it seems as if this chapter was not assembled with any great amount of care.

(Note that six pages, corresponding to the photographic reproduction of the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool and the Pocket Concussion Recognition Tool, have been omitted from this image.)


Conclusion

The exhibits above present evidence of extensive plagiarism and self-plagiarism in seven editorial pieces in the British Journal of Sports Medicine from 2002 through 2006, and three book chapters from 2008 through 2015. As well as the violations of publication ethics and other elementary academic norms, most of these cases would also seem to raise questions about copyright violations.

This is not an exhaustive collection; I have evidence of these transgressions on a smaller scale in a number of other articles and book chapters from the same author, but a combination of time, weariness (of me as investigator and, presumably, of the reader too), and lack of access to source materials (for example, I was only able to find one extensively recycled book chapter on Google Books, which is not very practical for marking up) has led me to stop at 10 exhibits here.

I have no background or experience in the field of head trauma or sports medicine, and I had never heard of Dr McCrory or the CISG until last week. Hence, I am unable to comment about what all of this might mean for the CISG or its influence on the rules and practices of sport. However, although I try not to editorialise too much in this blog, I must say that, based on what I have found here, Dr McCrory does not strike me as an especially outstanding example of scientific integrity, and it does make me wonder what other aspects of his life as a scientist and influencer of public policy might not stand up to close scrutiny.


Data availability

All of the supporting files for this post can be found here. I imagine that this involves quite a few copyright violations of my own, in that many of the source documents are not open access. I hope that the publishers will forgive me for this, but if I receive a legal request to take down any specific file I will, of course, comply with that.