Brazilian forensic entomologist faces at least three retractions for plagiarism
The retraction of one of the papers, “Forensic entomology and main challenges in Brazil,” in Neotropical Entomology, was reported earlier this year by Marcelo Hermes-Lima. That withdrawal followed an angry letter from Jens Amendt, of Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Hospital in Frankfurt, Germany, and Carlo C. Campobasso, of the University of Molise in Italy, to Regina Lúcia Sugayama, editor in chief of Neotropical Entomology. According to the retraction notice:
The Editors of the Neotropical Entomology are retracting the revision paper “Forensic entomology and main challenges in Brazil” by Gomes L. and Von Zuben C. J., published at Neotropical Entomology 2006; 35(1): 1-11 because of plagiarism. The author in charge, L. Gomes, Brazil, has admitted the direct transcription of full sentences and paragraphs and one table of the article “Forensic entomology” by Amendt, J., Krettek, R., Zehner, R., published at Naturwissenschaften 91(2): 51-65, 2004, as well as full sentences from the articles “Forensic entomology in Germany” by Amendt, J., Krettek, R., Niess, C., Zehner, R., Bratzke, H., published at Forensic Sci. Int. 113: 309-314, 2000; “Distribution and medical ecology of the blowflies (Diptera: Calliphoridae) of Peru” by Baumgartner, D.L., Greenberg, B., published at Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am 78: 565-587, 1985; “A brief history of forensic entomology” by Benecke, M., published at Forensic. Sci. Int. 120: 2-114, 2001; “Entomology” by Brinkmann, B., published at Int. J. Legal Med. 118 (4): 187, 2004; “The forensic entomologist in the context of the forensic pathologist’s role” by Campobasso, C.P., Introna, F., published at Forensic Sci. Int. 120: 132-139, 2001; “Seasonal patterns of arthropods occurring on sheltered and unsheltered pig carcasses in Buenos Aires Province (Argentina)” by Centeno, N., Maldonado, M., Oliva, A., published at Forensic Sci. Int. 126: 63-70, 2002; and The value of PCR-RFLP molecular markers for the differentiation of immature stages of two necrophagous flies (Diptera: Calliphoridae) of potential forensic importance” by Thyssen, P.J., Lessinger, A.C., Azeredo-Espin, A.M.L., Linhares, A.X., published at Neotr. Entomol. 34:777-783, 2005, without proper citation, and sends his sincere apologies to all involved.
As reported by the Folha in Sao Paolo this weekend, Leonardo Gomes, the first author on the retracted paper — which has been cited just once, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knoweldge – had been a reviewer for the journal. The story is gaining traction in Brazil because the Brazilian Society of Zoology had invited Gomes, for the second time, to give courses at its next congress, in March.
Folha also reported that a Springer textbook had been withdrawn because Gomes had plagiarized parts of chapters he’d written. Retraction Watch has obtained the text of a letter to Gomes from Springer’s Zuzana Bernhart:
Dear Dr. Gomes,
Further to our recent correspondence I must inform you that you are in breach of Clause 7 ‘Competing Works’ of the Agreement for publication of the work entitled: Forensic Entomology: New Trends and Technologies, Insects and Death.
Your behavior in offering the same chapter to Springer and Taylor & Francis infringes not only the current publishing Agreement but is also not tolerated by the scientific community. On further investigation we also discovered that large sections of Chapter 16 ‘Postfeeding Larval Dispersal of Blowflies: Implications for Forensic Entomology’ has already been published in the Springer journal ‘Naturwissenschaften’ in Volume 93, issue 5.
After consulting with our Legal Department we have reached the conclusion to terminate the Agreement signed 25th July 2005 with immediate effect.
Furthermore, in order to protect the interests of Springer as well as the scientific community we have decided to withdraw all chapters you are a contributor to. The remaining contributors will be contacted in a separate e-mail regarding further developments.
Retraction Watch has also learned that another paper, ”Dispersal and Burial Behavior in Larvae of Chrysomya megacephala and Chrysomya albiceps (Diptera, Calliphoridae),” will be retracted. Thomas Payne, one of the editors of The Journal of Insect Behavior, where it was published, told us that the authors had recently been sent a letter saying that the 2005 paper would be retracted. The paper has been cited seven times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.
We’ll continue to follow this complicated case.
Hat tips: “Roberta S.” and Marcelo Hermes-Lima. Thanks to Christine Soares for translation help.