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Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

20 more retractions for scientist who made up email addresses so he could review his own papers

with 10 comments

Hyung-In Moon, the South Korean plant compound researcher who came up with fake email addresses so that he could do his own peer review, has retracted twenty more papers, all in Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology, an Informa Healthcare title.

Here are the papers:

  1. Isolated compounds from Sorghum bicolor L. inhibit the classical pathway of the complement, by Hyung-In Moon, Young-Choon Lee, and Jai-Heon Lee, Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology 2012 34:2, 299–302, DOI: 10.3109/08923973.2011.602690
  2. Effect of fermented Angelicae gigantis Radix on carbon tetrachloride-induced hepatotoxicity and oxidative stress in rats, by Jae-Young Cha, Hee young Ahn, Hyung-In Moon, Yong-Kee Jeong, and Young-Su Cho, Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology 2012 34:2, 265–274, DOI: 10.3109/08923973.2011.600765
  3. Inhibition effects of isolated compounds from Artemisia rubripes Nakai of the classical pathway on the complement system, by Seil Jung, Jai-Heon Lee, Young-Choon Lee, and Hyung-In Moon, Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology 2012 34:2, 244–246, DOI: 10.3109/08923973.2011.599034
  4. Inhibitory effects of three oleanolic acid glycosides from Achyranthes japonica on the complement classical pathway, by Seil Jung, Jai-Heon Lee, Young-Choon Lee, and Hyung-In Moon, Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology 2012 34:2, 213–215, DOI: 10.3109/08923973.2011.594954
  5. Anticomplement activity of organic solvent extracts from Korea local Amarantaceae spp., by Seil Jung, Jai-Heon Lee, Young-Choon Lee, and Hyung-In Moon, Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology 2012 34:2, 210–212, DOI: 10.3109/08923973.2011.593180
  6. Immunotoxicity activity from various organic solvents extract of Allium genus from South Korea against Aedes aegypti L., by Jung-Dae Lim, Ill-Min Chung, and Hyung-In Moon, Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology 2011 33:3, 484–487, DOI: 10.3109/08923973.2010.540713
  7. Composition and immunotoxicity activity of major essential oils from stems of Allium victorialis L. var. platyphyllum Makino against Aedes aegypti L., by Ill-Min Chung, Hong-Keun Song, Min-A Yeo, and Hyung-In Moon, Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology 2011 33:3, 480–483, DOI: 10.3109/08923973.2010.539615
  8. Major essential oils composition and immunotoxicity activity from leaves of Foeniculum vulgare against Aedes aegypti L, by Ill-Min Chung, Hee-Myong Ro, and Huyng-In Moon, Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology 2011 33:3, 450–453, DOI: 10.3109/08923973.2010.532805
  9. Inhibition effects of the classical pathway complement of three Sorghum bicolor from South Korea, by Ill-Min Chung, Myong-Jo Kim, Dong-Sik Park, and Hyung-In Moon, Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology 2011 33:3, 447–449, DOI: 10.3109/08923973.2010.532804
  10. Immunotoxicity activity of sesquiterpenoids from black galingale (Kaempferia parviflora Wall. Ex. Baker) against Aedes aegypti L., by Hyung-In Moon, Sang-Buem Cho, Jun-Hyeong Lee, Hyun-Dong Paik, and Soo-Ki Kim, Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology 2011 33:2, 380–383, DOI: 10.3109/08923973.2010.520717
  11. Immunotoxic sesquiterpene lactone from Carpesium rosulatum Miq, by Hyung-In Moon and Okpyo Zee, Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology 2011 33:2, 338–341, DOI: 10.3109/08923973.2010.511233
  12. Composition and immunotoxicity activity of essential oils from leaves of Zingiber officinale Roscoe against Aedes aegypti L, by Hyung-In Moon, Sang-Buem Cho, and Soo-Ki Kim, Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology 2011 33:1, 201–204, DOI: 10.3109/08923973.2010.495393
  13. Composition and immunotoxicity activity of essential oils from Lindera obtusiloba Blume against Aedes aegypti L, by Ill-Min Chung and Hyung-In Moon, Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology 2011 33:1, 146–149, DOI: 10.3109/08923973.2010.487871
  14. Immunotoxicity activity of the major essential oils of Valeriana fauriei Briq against Aedes aegypti L, by Ill-Min Chung, Eun-Hye Kim, and Hyung-In Moon, Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology 2011 33:1, 107–110, DOI: 10.3109/08923973.2010.484839
  15. Immunotoxicity activity of 1,2,4-Trimethoxybenzene from the Paulownia coreana Uyeki. against Aedes aegypti L, by Ill-Min Chung and Hyung-In Moon, Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology 2011 33:1, 97–99, DOI: 10.3109/08923973.2010.482591
  16. Immunotoxicity activity of 2,6,10,15-tetrame-heptadecane from the essential oils of Clerodendron trichotomum Thunb. against Aedes aegypti L, by Sung-Jae Lee and Hyung-In Moon, Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology 2010 32:4, 705–707, DOI: 10.3109/08923971003685959
  17. Caesalpinia sappan L. ameliorates hypercholesterolemia in C57BL/6 mice and suppresses inflammatory responses in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) by antioxidant mechanism, by Min-Ja Lee, Hye-Sook Lee, Hyun-Jung Jung, Chang-Sub Lee, Jai-Eun Kim, Hyung-In Moon, and Won-Hwan Park, Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology 2010 32:4, 671–679, DOI: 10.3109/08923971003671116
  18. Immunotoxicity activity of the major essential oil of Filipendula glaberrima against Aedes aegypti L, by Sung-Jae Lee and Hyung-In Moon, Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology 2010 32:4, 617–619, DOI: 10.3109/08923971003652983
  19. Effects of immunotoxic activity of the major essential oil of Angelica purpuraefolia Chung against Aedes aegypti L, by Yool-Jin Park, Ill-Min Chung, and Hyung-In Moon, Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology 2010 32:4, 611–613, DOI: 10.3109/08923971003639493
  20. Antiplasmodial procyanidins derivatives from Chinese Hawthorn, by Yool-Jin Park, Ill-Min Chung, and Hyung-In Moon, Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology 2010 32:4, 607–610, DOI: 10.3109/08923971003631417

The notice is the same as for the four others Moon retracted from Informa journals:

The peer-review process for all of the above articles was found to have been compromised and inappropriately influenced by the corresponding author, Professor Hyung-In Moon. As a result the findings and conclusions of these articles cannot be relied upon.

The corresponding author and the publisher wish to retract these papers to preserve the integrity of material published in the journal. The publisher acknowledges that the integrity of the peer review process should have been subject to more rigorous verification to ensure the reviews provided were genuine and impartial. The publisher apologizes for any inconvenience rendered to the readers of the journal and wishes to assure the reader that measures have been taken to ensure that the peer review process is comprehensively checked to avoid a similar error occurring.

The retractions bring Moon’s total to 31 — 24 from this episode, and seven from several years ago.

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10 Responses

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  1. Raising the question, how stupid can an editor be and keep their job?

    rxnm

    August 30, 2012 at 11:29 am

  2. He’s trying to “shoot the Moon” (heheh.) But seriously–didn’t he go to an enormous amount of trouble to do all this fakery? If he redirected his energies in a productive way, maybe he would have accomplished something instead of covering his journal in shame.

    • As Paul Halmos put it, “you don’t publish your failures.” So if he came up with null results from some of his hypotheses and tests of them, he had nothing to publish. So instead of publishing nothing at all from his labors, he evidently made up his own results.

      That Number 18 up there looks real suspicious and I am surprised no one else who might have been called upon to review this item went to the lab and tried it out. It’s not that hard.

      Brian G Valentine

      September 1, 2012 at 7:49 pm

      • “your failures?” It seems to me you have a distorted view of scientific progress. If a scientist tests an idea and it ends up in a null result, that is not a failure, and certainly not a failure of the scientist, assuming proper methodology was used. It is sad that the current misunderstanding of how science works leads people to lie because otherwise they would have nothing to show for. It is sad that the scientific community and society do not recognize that those null results are as valuable as those of the guy who, largely by chance, happens to tests an idea that “leads to results”.

        Jon Beckmann

        September 4, 2012 at 4:06 pm

  3. The editors should have sent all these manuscripts to genuine reviewers – their rejection to publish would mean a retraction, otherwise the paper should stay. I do not believe Moon faked scores of email addresses, so probably most or, at least, some reviews were genuine. Moon probably wanted to improve his odds a bit. So, it may turn out that the editors retracted papers that had had all legit reviews positive. Which renders a retraction nonsensical because it both removes good science from the scientific record and punishes Moon’s co-authors for his misconduct.
    I also wonder how Moon could sleep at night after pulling this off for the first time, for the tenth time, for the twentieth time, and so on. He created his own sword of Damocles that eventually destroyed his reputation big time.
    If I were an editor of a journal I would compare IP addresses of corresponding authors and reviewers for
    a small selection of manuscripts they have accepted for publication. It would allow one to estimate the prevalence of the fake-reviewer scam.

    chirality

    August 30, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    • The punishment for cheating is withdrawal of the benefit that the person cheated to obtain. If the findings are valid, someone else can re-do the experiments and go through a legitimate review process, obtaining the prize according to the rules and assuring the scientific community of the validity of the research. The scientific community will not be bereft of this information for long if the information is true.

      Allowing Moon to keep his prizes after his deception was discovered would send a signal to other researchers that it’s worth the gamble: you don’t get punished even if you get caught, and you improve your odds of getting published.

      JudyH

      August 30, 2012 at 9:14 pm

      • Moon should be sanctioned for his misconduct irrespective of whether his papers are worthy of publication or not. He could be banned for publishing in the journal he took advantage of, his home institution could also act as its name was brought into disrepute, etc. But the manuscripts should be judged solely on their merit, not on their authors’ moral flaws. Nobody accuses Moon of producing bogus research and the editors did not have to follow his suggestions regrading reviewers.

        chirality

        August 31, 2012 at 3:50 am

  4. As in so many of these cases, one wonders whether this could have carried on longer (or is going on elsewhere undetected) if the perpetrator had not been so greedy. 20 papers in the same journal in less than 3 years? Seems like someone might smell a rat.

    Does this mean that none of the 20 were read by real reviewers? The editor definitely earned the walk of shame on this one.

    Dr Papa Roach

    August 30, 2012 at 6:57 pm

  5. Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology published 97 articles in 2010 (source: 2011 JCR). Assuming ca. 100 articles published in 2011, more than 10% of all articles released this year have now been retracted. If the journal follows this trend, it will probably be discontinued very soon…

    Sylvain Bernès

    August 31, 2012 at 8:34 pm


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