Which came first? Plagiarism flap forces retraction of chicken nugget paper
The journal Food Chemistry has retracted a 2010 article by Iranian researchers who claimed to have used spectroscopy to examine the inner workings of breaded-fried chicken nuggets. Trouble was, someone else had already done the work.
Issues with the paper first surfaced in March, in the form of a correction that should have given the editors serious indigestion:
A. Yavari, A. Heshmati, M. Hamedi, S. Haghbin
The name of A. Heshmati was included in the authorship group of this article in error, and A. Heshmati was assigned as corresponding author by A. Yavari without notification. The correct author line appears above. [The list as amended read: A. Yavari, M. Hamedi, S. Haghbin.]
Then came the retraction notice:
This article has been retracted: please see Elsevier Policy on Article Withdrawal (http://www.elsevier.com/locate/withdrawalpolicy). This article has been retracted at the request of the Editor-in-Chief. The authors have plagiarized significant parts of a thesis published online in 2005: Quality Evaluation of Frying Oil and Chicken Nuggets Using Visible/Nearinfrared Hyper-spectral Analysis by Samira Kazemi Sangdehi (http://webpages.mcgill.ca/staff/deptshare/FAES/066-Bioresource/Theses/theses/339SamiraKazemi2005/339SamiraKazemi2005.pdf). One of the conditions of submission of a paper for publication is that authors declare explicitly that their work is original and has not appeared in a publication elsewhere. Re-use of any data should be appropriately cited. As such this article represents a severe abuse of the scientific publishing system. The scientific community takes a very strong view on this matter and apologies are offered to readers of the journal that this was not detected during the submission process.
The paper has been cited twice, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge, including once by “Mathematical Modeling of Moisture Distribution and Kinetics in Cheese Drying.”
Sangdehi’s thesis, written for a degree from McGill University, is available on Google Books, where interested readers also can find a link to the well-regarded (not joking here) kids’ book Attack of the Chicken Nugget Man.
Frankly, we’re not sure why the editors didn’t retract the paper immediately, given that not only was Heshmati not the corresponding author, but wasn’t any other kind of author, either. Had they done so, they might have walked away from the mess without — wait for it — egg on their faces.
Update, 2:15 p.m. Eastern, 12/3/12: Meanwhile, the Iranian researchers must have thought they’d hit on a pretty slick way of getting more publications (they hadn’t), because we found another retraction involving the group.
This one comes from the Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society, for a 2009 paper titled “Investigation of Frying Oil Quality Using VIS/NIR Hyperspectral Analysis.”
According to the notice:
This article has been retracted at the request of the Editor-in-Chief as it constitutes complete plagiarism of the following article: “Evaluation of Frying Oil Quality Using VIS/NIR Hyperspectral Analysis”, by S. Kazemi, N. Wang, M. Ngadi, and S.O. Prasher. Agricultural Engineering International: The CIGR Ejournal, vol. VII, Manuscript FP05 001, September 2005.