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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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Victor C. Papilian - The first treatise on anatomy - controversy


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The anatomist Victor Papilian had published, in 1923, in Cluj, a "Treatise on Human Anatomy".
Disputes over this treatise had arisen from the suspicion that the work was plagiarism.
The judicial spirit of Grigore T. Popa determined him to take a critical stance regarding the content of the books. Being a contributor to the central press, he decided to publish the article "Illicit loans and plagiarism (in a book meant to educate young people)" in the newspaper Adevărul, from January 2, 1924, which presents his views on this case of plagiarism to the scientific world.
Analyzing the book's iconography, he established that many images were reproduced - identically or with some modifications - from various foreign authors (Mathias Duval, Paul Poirier, A. Rauber-Fr. Kopsch, Werner Spalteholz, Julius Tandler, Leo Testut, Carl Toldt), which he quoted only in extremely few places. The draftsman who worked on this treatise processed the images taken from other books, but in some cases, the attempt to not make the images look identical resulted in errors in the final form presented.
He observes that, also with regard to the text, the author took - ad-litteram - parts of the volumes he compiled, "adorning himself with the work of others as if it were his own." He presents edifying fragments that - placed face to face with the original - give the reader the opportunity to understand his demystifying approach.
Irritated by the appearance of the incriminating article in the columns of a central daily, Victor Papilian responds to Grigore T. Popa through a press release and later on publishes the pamphlet "An Answer". He understood in the gesture of his colleague only one goal: to discredit the treatise.
Even if he tried to justify himself by writing in parallel, Victor Papilian withdrew the treatise from bookstores and wrote an "Introductory Word for Students", in which he specified the 35 bibliographical sources used, many of which are from those indicated by Grigore T. Popa in his articles. On the back of the page he noted that the mouths in his volume were drawn according to original models and models inspired by the treaties consulted. As for the content, he provided footnotes for some images, in the form of a strip of paper on which he wrote various names of authors. At the same time, he publishes the next volume of the "Treaty of Anatomy". In order to prevent further criticism, he writes the following introduction: “The circumstances, which made this book a necessity, gave the editorial staff an urgent character; therefore, so that the inevitable mistakes or omissions do not give rise to misinterpretations, this volume, like the entire edition of this treatise, has the value of a manuscript. ”

Source: https://rmj.com.ro/articles/2011.1/RMR_Nr-1_2011_Art-8.pdf
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Well-known Romanian anatomists, Grigore T. Popa (1892-1948) and Victor Papilian (1888-1956) had a highly publicized controversy in the 1920s. Victor Papilian had published a treatise on anatomy in Cluj and, after reading the book carefully, Grigore T. Popa took a critical stance with regard to its content, because he had detected numerous elements that justified him to say that the work is plagiarism. A series of texts followed - published in the press or in the form of a pamphlet - which the two anatomists addressed to each other. We have analyzed this scientific controversy and our position is that the author of the treaty - Victor Papilian - had to assume the omissions and errors that Grigore T. Popa had noticed and corrected - a fact that happened, but only after this exchange was done.

Source: https://rmj.com.ro/articles/2011.1/RMR_Nr-1_2011_Art-8.pdf