Here's my assessment of this episode... this is the best I can do at this remove. Nobody who wasn't there is going to do better. Is this what happened? All I can do is go with the written word.

The data from the 2000 paper were double-published in their entirety with no change or additions in the 2003 paper. The 2003 paper is ambiguous in stating that some data were double published. There is a difference between saying it is the same patients and admitting you are double publishing the data! In one instance they seem to say it is the same 12 patients but they don't admit it is the same data! In all other references and word usages, the implication is these are 20 new patients. The most obvious of these is that these 12 patients from three years ago could not have done the changed protocol as presented in the 2003 paper. The data were NOT separated out as to who the 12 were who did the original work and who the 8 new ones were who did the new protocol. The best argument that the peer reviewers did not know that 60% of the data were double published is the fact that the 2003 was published as it was. This is not my field but I do not think I could publish a paper where 60% of all the data was entirely from another publication with nothing changed or re-interpreted to the results of that 60%. If that was allowed, people would add one new data point, publish another article, add another new data point to the already largey double published set and publish another article, etc. etc.

The nail in the coffin of this being an undisclosed double publishing is Mooney's own statement in the 2007 paper clearly implying the 2000 and 2003 patient populations were different:

"In our first study of 12 adolescent patients with scoliosis,[...]" "In our next study of 20 adolescent patients, the results were similar to those in our earlier study: [...]"

LOL. Yeah the reason they were similar is because data for 12 of the 20 patients (60% of the total) WERE FOR THE SAME KIDS!

This is what Dr. McIntire criticized as follows:

"The 2007 Mooney paper is misleading in how they present their studies. I definitely have a problem with the way they did this. "In our first study we had 12 patients.... In our next study we had 20 patients..." As a scientist who worked very hard at recruitment and had many difficult meetings and realizations about our work and efforts regarding the TRS study; and as someone who continues to work very hard at rehabilitation research, getting railed in grant and manuscript reviews due to lack of numbers or data; and as someone who is passionate about condensing, explaining and bringing science to a 'non-science' audience, I have a real problem with this. With all due respect for Dr. Mooney and his contributions to scoliosis, he and the contributing authors should have known better than to write what they did."

I agree with Dr. McIntire and let me tell you, I did NOT want to believe him. I was hoping he was mistaken. I had to get a pencil and paper and prove it was the exact sample data. Dr. McIntire was correct about this.