giovedì 25 settembre 2014

“Alcohol consumption and hormonal alterations related to muscle hypertrophy: a review”. The other side of an alleged plagiarism story

image 1
On June 6, 2014 the article entitled “Alcohol consumption and hormonalalterations related to muscle hypertrophy: a review” was accepted by the scientific journal “Nutrition and Metabolism”. What a great day for our research team, our review that tried to elucidate the consequences of excessive alcohol consumption was finally on-line. Unfortunately we didn’t know, and could not imagine, that was the beginning of an ordeal of injustice.
The article was discussed in February 2013 and from then onwards, authors started to contribute and to edit to a draft manuscript. The draft manuscript was completed on the 11th October 2013 and consequently submitted it to the “Nutrients” journal (See image 1) ( article is dated March 12, 2014). Unfortunately the journal, after a few months rejected the manuscript and we decided to use the reviewers comments to further edit and submit it elsewhere. The next journal to receive our manuscript was “Nutrition and Metabolism”.   
image 2
The general process when intending to submit a manuscript to a scientific journal is to familiarize yourself with the instructions, editorial group guidelines (BMC) and policies given to authors. This usually requires a number of changes, such as reformatting of references, etc. Only when complying with all the requirements set out by the journal, we finally submitted our revised manuscript on the 27th of March 2014.
After the peer-review process (three reviewers and two month spent in corrections), the Nutrition and Metabolism, with an impact factor of 3.36, accepted our manuscript on the 24th of May 2014.
image 3
A few days after the on line publication, we receive an email from the editorial office of the journal, informing us that a commercial web-site called “” had sent allegations of plagiarism against us to the journal (See image 2). We would like to point out that this web-site does not sell any kind of nutritional supplements. However, the guide to nutritional supplements is not free and the frequently advertises the guide, which was consequently considered by us (and not only us) as a commercial and not a scientific web-site/platform.
During the drafting process of the manuscript a number of commercial websites were consulted to find any additional related information. After the revision of references provided by we found inconsistencies in content and conclusion with respect to alcohol consumption and muscular hypertrophy. Hence why our manuscript reports a different discussion and a different conclusion, both being compatible with the scientific literature provided.
To emphasize our point, as researchers we always read the policies of each journal before submitting any work. Those found in the BMC group stated clearly that overlapping of open science sources (i.e. commercial websites) is usually permitted (See image 3). In addition having submitted to a journal with a high impact factor and having used the PRISMA statement (the statement consists of a 27-item checklist and a four-phase flow diagram) - (the checklist includes items deemed essential for transparent reporting of a systematic review), as a guideline in the writing of a manuscript. Therefore no gray sources of information (i.e. a non-peer reviewed, commercial web-iste) was cited in the manuscript (We reported all appropriate references, no more, no less).  However, as some of the information provided by did not conflict with our findings and as they were relevant, we decided to include those into our manuscript.
image 4
On the same day when we heard about the plagiarism allegations from Nutrition and Metabolism,  we were also been made aware of the Facebook page which published an image in which they accuse us of plagiarism. Apart from the very unprofessional behavior of the Examine group, (we also report that we were not contacted or consulted by prior to this published accusations; it is common practice in academia, that plagiarism allegations are initially discussed and objectively judged between the parties, before being made public if found true). However instead of a professional response we found a comment of Facebook by Anssi Manninen (an editor of Nutrition and Metabolism) who stated “In my view, this is a clear case of plagiarism. I will contact our Editor-in-Chief. Sincerely, Anssi Manninen, Associate Editor, Nutrition & Metabolism”. It seems this editor had already given their judgment prior to contacting the accused (i.e. us) party. (See image 4)
We would like to point out that the editorial policies of BMC allow overlapping of open science ( In addition, we also asked for the copyright permission of both figures presented in the manuscript, underlining our intellectual honesty (See image 5) . Of course we are not new to publications practices and know how to avoid this type of situation but apparently being in line with the guidelines of a publishing corporation is not enough any longer.
This story continued for nearly 3 month; during this period several emails were exchanged between us and the editorial office. ‘Surprisingly’ the editors finally decided to retract the article.
image 5
A commercial web-site has won against a scientific institution (Money vs Science). From now on any commercial activity, according to such decision, could publish whatever they think is right and bias scientific information for commercial purposes.
What will happen now? We don’t know if the website will copy part of  our original work and claim it as theirs. In addition to such event we would like to point out that any web-master could modify the date of creation of a web-site so who can now tell any longer who the original author is? Interestingly the authors have recently received an e-mail by Nutrition and Metabolism stating that the manuscript was viewed more than 11.000 times (See image 6). Clearly, researchers seem to be interested more in the content rather than plagiarism accusations, as a retraction notice was not yet published.

We retain that this is a very delicate case.  
The nature of the controversy between an university and a commercial company appears to be seriously damaging the world of nutrition in science.

image 6
We kindly invite the readers to carefully read the examine article and our Systematic Review and make your own opinion.

Prof. Antonino Bianco
On behalf of all Co-Authors

11 commenti:

Anonimo ha detto...

Very very interesting case.... Dear Bianco et al... enjoy your samba on social networks.

They will kill you! But honestly there is nothing to compare between the web page and the Review.. The scientific article is another level!!

This case is fucking crazy!!


Anonimo ha detto...


as I told you, they will kill you shared a link.
9 hours ago
Alcohol and plagiarism don't mix, part 2/2...

In June of 2014, we were somewhat flattered when a peer-reviewed article on alcohol and muscle growth was published, as it happened to *heavily* use our alcohol page. But without citing it, and... See More

Retraction: Alcohol consumption and hormonal alterations related to muscle hypertrophy: a review
has an open access fund and an open access policy requiring its researchers to deposit all published research in its institutional repository.
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64 people like this.

Alex Leaf You should add this retraction citation to your alcohol page. You could say something along the lines of, "alcohol has even been shown to impair the judgement of who should be research professionals."
Like · Reply · 4 · 8 hours ago

Benjamin T. Cecchetto I think this is really interesting, because it shows an interesting shift in academia in general. The fact that self publishing (i.e. on a website) is seen as a credible source is kind of amazing. If enough people recognize the site, then will be on par with the scrutiny of high standard journals and to be able to cite a website known to be rigorous is quite the accomplishment.

It opens up both reading and publishing academic papers a lot to people who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford it. From a machine learning point of view it's also good for algorithms to see this kind of information freely as well.
Like · Reply · 2 ·

again David (bodybuilder)

Anonimo ha detto...

I'm with Authors just copied and pasted everything
I love examine

Anonimo ha detto...

I'm done. The website is a money maker machine and author were so stupid! just change few words!!!

I agree with someone before, the nutr and met article is providing more info and is not 100 copied and pasted, bt interestingly this is permissible from the journal until they found someone who destroyed them.

from Berlin (bodybuilding lover)

Anonimo ha detto...

I waste so much time on it

Kylen23 ha detto...

Copying whole paragraphs word for word without attribution/quotation is plagiarism, full stop. Intent and commercial vs. academic make zero difference. Here is a helpful graphic on the types of plagiarism. Plase note the section in the flowchart noted: "Did you copy large portions (entire paragraphs and sections) of another's work and not give full credit?"

Anonimo ha detto...

LOL "We don’t know if the website will copy part of our original work and claim it as theirs."
If they did do that (which they never would), wouldn't it just be called "overlapping" according to you?

Anonimo ha detto...

The only people likely to damage the world of nutrition in science are people who can't come up with thier own work and have to steal from others - that would be you!

Maurizio Morabito ha detto...

Ma possibile che bisogna fare delle figure del genere? Se il testo e' stato copiato senza attribuzione, e' stato copiato. Il riuso implica l'attribuzione del lavoro a chi lo ha fatto, non e' una novita' . Meno arzigogoli adesso, chiedete un po' scusa e cercate di scrivere da soli o di mettere le virgolette.

Anonimo ha detto...

Prof. Bianco was my MSc supervisor. He is a nice, honest and incredible smart person. I think that there was something that we don't know. I'm totally sure about his intellectual honesty. He was reading my thesis 3 times in order to make sure that there were no mistakes duplications or ecc... ecc...
According to the time he dedicated to me and the nice person he is when I saw this article I felt the need to write down this comment.
Making fun of him is not so correct in my view. Him Already payed with the article retraction (He was rigth or wrong).

Prof White I'm with you
you see my english? :-))) I'm ready to write an article with you.. so! let's copy and paste toghether (I know you will be fine with my joke!)

Con affetto

Andrea da Palermo

Anonimo ha detto...

BioMed Central’s editorial policies( as well as BioMed Central’s copyright and license agreement ( state that the manuscript has to be original and free of copyright infringements. It is also clearly stated in BioMed Central’s editorial policies that external sources should be cited.

The authors misinterpret our policy on Open Science which we intended to be taken in the context of authors’ *own* data, not data from other people or other websites:
‘Articles may be submitted to BioMed Central's journals when data have been previously discussed or posted in such venues as blogs, wikis, social networking websites, or online electronic lab notebooks’.
Even if from our point of view this policy cannot seriously be interpreted in a way that it justifies copying text, we will amend our editorial policies to emphasize that we just refer to authors' own data.

After investigation we can verify that parts of the review article overlap with text previously published on We treat all cases which report overlapping text seriously, irrespective of whether the original text came from a scientific article or a commercial website. We have proceeded to retract the review article and correct the scientific record. The retraction can be found here:’

Elizabeth Moylan, Biology Editor, BioMed Central