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Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Buyer beware: Conflict Resolution Quarterly pulls paper for plagiarism

with 5 comments

Conflict Resolution Quarterly, which we probably all should read but don’t, is retracting a 2010 paper on commercial interactions by a French researcher who combined two other articles into a work he called his own.

But, true to its name, the journal takes a more, shall we say, diplomatic approach to the affair.

Here’s the notice (which, tsk tsk, is behind a paywall):

The following article from Conflict Resolution Quarterly, “Conflict Management in Buyer-Seller Relationships,” by Lionel Bobot, published online on April 5, 2010 in Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.com), and in Volume 27, No. 3, pp. 291–319, has been retracted by agreement between the author, the journal Editor-in-Chief (Susan S. Raines), and Wiley Periodicals, Inc. The retraction has been agreed upon due to its similarities to the works listed below, which received insufficient attribution in this article.

Bradford, K. D., and Weitz, B. A. “Salesperson’s Management of Conflict in Buyer-Seller Relationships,”Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, 2009, 29(1), 25–42.
Massey, G. R., and Dawes, P. L.“The Antecedents and Consequence of Functional and Dysfunctional Conflict Between Marketing Managers and Sales Managers.” Industrial Marketing Management, 2007, 36(8), 1118–1129.

Bobot used to work in France but now is listed as being the director of the Vatel Hotel School in Tel Aviv, according to this website. His bio states:

Prof. Lionel Bobot possesses more than 16 years of work and education training experience from within the Travel and Tourism, Education and Leisure industry. He holds a postPHD on International Negotiation at Harvard University (Program on Negotiation) with Professor Susskind (M.I.T) in partnership with INRA (French National Institute of Agriculture, 9000 researchers) and a PHD in Management & Negotiation at ESSEC Business School (France) and Marseille University with Professor Lempereur (ESSEC) in 2006.

It’s not clear how the misappropriated text was detected, but we did see that one of the articles was co-authored by Barton Weitz, a heavy hitter in the field of business administration. Weitz holds the “JC Penny Eminent Scholar Chair” at the University of Florida Warrington College of Business Administration, where he also directs the school’s Center for Retailing Education and Research.

Susan Raines, who edits the journal, told us that she learned of the plagiarism from a reader:

A reader was in the process of creating a literature review for her own work and found the blatant plagiarism. We contacted the original authors to let them know–1 is retired. We contacted Dr Bobot’s university to share the problem with them. I was told that union issues make it nearly impossible to fire someone, even for something so blatant. I was told he would be severely punished (maybe demoted) but the investigation process would take time. Dr Bobot contacted me personally to apologize and say his career has been devastated (as it should be, honestly). He took 2 other articles, blended them and put his name in their work. He said he did this due to his poor English— rather than hire a translator or coauthor with an anglophone.

I fear the cultural attitude among many young scholars to to try to get away with this and if you get caught the penalty isn’t very high. I believe there are generational differences in perceptions of the moral and ethical issues implied. A potential research topic…

The good news is that the episode has triggered a new policy at the publication, Raines said:

As a result of this, we now run every manuscript through iThenticate, which will eventually become standard practice, I believe.

Hat tip: Shankar Vedantam 

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Written by Adam Marcus

July 26, 2012 at 9:30 am

5 Responses

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  1. I’m surprised that the editor is so blunt in her comments, but give her major kudos.

    Noah

    July 26, 2012 at 11:55 am

  2. “[U]nion issues make it nearly impossible to fire someone, even for something so blatant. I was told he would be severely punished (maybe demoted) but the investigation process would take time.”.
    “Dr Bobot contacted me personally to apologize and say his career has been devastated”.
    These two statements cannot be reconciled. The university seems unwilling to do anything about Bobot’s plagiarism while the perpetrator himself is plying the pity card.
    “He said he did this due to his poor English” – that’s an invitation to look at Bobot’s prior papers in English. Most likely, his English was even poorer in the past.

    chirality

    July 26, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    • “These two statements cannot be reconciled. The university seems unwilling to do anything about Bobot’s plagiarism while the perpetrator himself is plying the pity card.”

      He’s right, his career is all but over. No-one will Google him without seeing that he’s a plagiarist. Union issues may mean he keeps his job but job and career are two different things.

      nskeptic

      July 27, 2012 at 3:39 am

  3. “I fear the cultural attitude among many young scholars to to try to get away with this”

    The author has 16 years of experience. In my book that doesn’t make him a young scholar.

    (@)

    July 26, 2012 at 12:46 pm

  4. I have access to Wiley services, and have down loaded the original article – no warning comes up, and I only got to the retraction through this site (and institutional long in) – So what is the use of the retraction, if we don’t know the paper is retracted when eye ball searching online?

    J E Garwood

    July 27, 2012 at 2:14 pm


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