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Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Not-smart moves in “smart homes” paper prompt retraction

with 9 comments

rsercover213Here’s a thought: If you’re going to write about the “challenges of information and communication technology,” it’s probably best not to use the Internet to plagiarize.

We’re guessing a group of researchers from Serbia is kicking themselves over missing that memo.

The researchers, from Singidunum University in Belgrade, published a 2012 paper in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews titled “Challenges of information and communication technology in energy efficient smart homes.” The work was supported by a grant from the Serbian government.

But according to a new retraction notice:

This article has been retracted at the request of the Editor-in-Chief.

The article duplicates significant paragraphs of various internet sources as well as copied paragraphs from published papers. 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.

We can’t find the original paper, but a quick search of the abstract turns up at least one instance of text that’s too close for comfort with a previously published paper. The Serbian group wrote:

A smart home in the smart grid is the latest addition to a family of ideas emerging in relation to the ICT usage in the home.

Googling that sentence leads to a 2011 paper by two Danish scientists in the proceedings of the European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy:

We claim that the smart home in the smart grid is the latest addition to a family of ideas emerging in relation to the application of information and communication technologies (ICT) in the home.

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Written by Adam Marcus

January 15, 2013 at 12:15 pm

9 Responses

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  1. The original paper is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2011.11.004 via Science Direct duly marked retracted.

    shirley ainsworth

    January 15, 2013 at 12:29 pm

  2. And this follows on another post about a pervasive climate in Serbia of plagarism and academic dishonesty. Thanks, guys, for keeping us up to date on international issues.

    http://retractionwatch.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/serbian-scientists-decry-systematic-plagiarism-predatory-publishing/

    StatObserver

    January 15, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    • In reply to a question from Ivan via email, I simply was thanking them, not being snarky.

      StatObserver

      January 15, 2013 at 6:34 pm

  3. Can we have a little contest at proper, non-plagiarizing ways of expressing this idea?

    “A smart home in the smart grid is the latest addition to a family of ideas emerging in relation to the ICT usage in the home.”

    Average PI

    January 15, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    • The first step is to figure out what the sentence means. It must mean something, right?

      chirality

      January 15, 2013 at 1:24 pm

  4. Smart grid is an electricity grid that is able to predict usage by consumes and so be ready to balance load before the load arrives. A smart home alters its use of electricity according to the needs of the home and the grid.
    Here is an attempt at paraphrasing something I know nothing about :)

    “An important complement to the smart grid is the smart home, driven by existing home ICT”

    Less words too – usually a good sign!

    ferniglab

    January 15, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    • Silicon Valley does tech for smart grids, homes, cars, etc and I go to Stanford Energy seminars fairly often.
      From the minimal information, I conjecture this article is an example of the sort of plagiarism found when people do not understand the topic at the level they should. In this case, the Wikpedia article is better, especially in comparison to the quoted sentence, which really doesn’t say much.
      The real message is:
      a) Grids can be “smart” in using IT to predict demand, a logical progression from past practice.
      Since facilities are sized for peak loads, using cheaper ones for baseload, and more expensive ones (such as gas “peakers”) for peak loads, utilities may use simple pricing schemes to incent people to move off-peak, i.e., in CA, higher prices during afternoon in summer.
      b) Homes can be locally smart, with smart thermostats like Nest, timers to take advantage of cheaper rates, etc.
      c) While “smart grid” is a broad term, the real goal is to have the grid and the (home, PHEV or EV car) interact, negotiating with each other, which differs from smart grids that just do demand prediction. This is already well along for industry, see EnerNoc for example. Many people are talking about smart cars that negotiate with utilities, i.e., at any point in time, the utility offers a price X at which it will sell power and Y at which it will buy, and the care would be smart enough to do the right thing, following owner policies and data about the history. (I.e., “desperate to recharge ASAP, pay anything” to “I’m not going anywhere today, sell power during day, I know I can buy cheaper tonite.”)

      A better sentence than that vague one might be:
      Smart grids and smart homes can each have value alone, but further efficiency gains occur when they can communicate interactively and negotiate demand management.

      John Mashey

      January 15, 2013 at 3:13 pm

  5. “Smart” homes and “smart” grids and “smart” cars… that is incredibly, extremely vague. John Mashey said it: these people do not understand the topic they are supposed to be discussing. Being “smart” apparently simply refers to the ability of an object to respond to changing stimuli from its environment, possibly in an adaptive fashion, nothing more than that. You got to be specific if you want to say anything at all interesting about “smart.”

    puzzled monkey

    January 15, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    • I have smart glasses and I did not know about it! They get dark in the sub, in an adaptive fashion! :)

      Average PI

      January 15, 2013 at 5:14 pm


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