Friday, April 06, 2007

Cha Letter to Los Angeles Times

Text of letter to Los Angeles Times

Letters to the Editor

Los Angeles Times
202 W 1st Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Fax- 213-237-7679

Dear Editor:

Your stories, “Stem cell grant OKd for L.A. center linked to allegations” (March 26) and “Credit for U.S. journal article at issue” (February 18), inaccurately portrayed the controversy over an article in the journal Fertility & Sterility as a “plagiarism dispute.”

As the one who originated the idea for the project and provided guidance and oversight for the collection of the patient samples, I was entitled under the relevant rules to a “first author” credit.

Dr. Jeong-Hwan Kim says he should have been listed as an author. In fact, Dr. Sook-Hwan Lee’s Feb. 5, 2005 letter to F&S, enclosing the manuscript, credited Dr. Kim with “clinicopathological analysis and statistical analysis." Even so, the sample data collection work had begun well before Dr. Kim became involved.

Dr. Kim’s name was dropped when he left Korea and he could not be found to sign the paperwork required by F&S. When Dr. Kim was located in 2006, Dr. Lee wrote letters to F&S asking his inclusion as an author.

The research was done at the Human Genetics Laboratory of CHA Hospital, where Dr. Lee was the director. Lab documentation shows that Dr. Kim’s contribution to the actual research was marginal. He collected two of the 30 patient samples, and none of the control samples. Other CHA doctors and laboratory scientists collected the other specimens and accomplished all DNA extraction. Dr. Kim compiled the basic statistics
and wrote the thesis in Korean.

As Dr. Lee informed The Times, Dr. Kim submitted the paper in Korean to the Korean Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (KSOG), listing himself as first and corresponding author, without her knowledge or consent. She translated the article into English for F&S, and she was the only author who knew of the prior KSOG publication.

None of the other authors, including myself, were aware of the article’s prior publication. Dr. Lee was correctly listed as an author on both papers, so plagiarism is also out of the question with regard to Dr. Lee.

Finally, your article said I had improperly used M.D. after my name on web sites of U.S. clinics and laboratories that are part of the CHA family of institutions. The web sites that refer to me are aimed at an international audience. I am the Chancellor of the College of Medicine at Pochon CHA University, a trained physician, licensed to practice medicine in Korea. I do not practice medicine in California and have never held myself out as a physician practicing in California.


Kwang Yul Cha, M.D.
Pochon CHA University College of Medicine
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