Duplication forces retractions of two 15-year-old entomology papers
A Brazilian entomologist, Claudio Jose von Zuben, has been forced to retract two papers from 1997 after editors became aware that he and his colleagues had used the same figure in both.
First, the notice from Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz:
The article “Diffusion Model Applied to Postfeeding Larval Dispersal in Blowflies (Diptera: Calliphoridae)” published in Memorias do Instituto do Oswaldo Cruz 92(2):281-286, 1997, dx.doi.org/10.1590, authored by RC Bassanezi, MBF Leite, WAC Godoy, CJ Von Zuben, FJ Von Zuben, and SF dos Reis has been retracted. We have been informed about the use of graphical figure presentation published in Journal of Theoretical Biology vol. 185(4):523-531 Â 1997, and following a careful analysis of the content in both papers, we concluded that the figure presented in Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz 92(2):281-286, 1997 constitutes plagiarism. Consequently, we decided to retract this paper.
Adeilton Alves Brandão,
Editor de Publicação
And here’s the notice from the Journal of Theoretical Biology:
This article has been retracted: please see Elsevier Policy on Article Withdrawal (http://www.elsevier.com/locate/withdrawalpolicy).
This article has been retracted at the request of the Editors-in-Chief.
The article is a duplicate of a paper that has already been published in Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz, 92 (1997) 281-286, http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0074-02761997000200025 as well as J. Appl. Entomol., 120 (1996) 379-382, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1439-0418.1996.tb01623.x.
One of the conditions of submission of a paper for publication is that authors declare explicitly that the paper is not under consideration for publication elsewhere. 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 duplication was apparently first reported on the now-shuttered Science Fraud site. Here’s a screen capture of the post. The JTB paper has been cited 15 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge, while the Oswaldo Cruz study has been cited 8 times.
Von Zuben is a professor at UNESP and a founder of the Brazilian Association of Forensic Entomology. He was also an author of a paper retracted in 2011, and of another that was slated to be retracted but was eventually just subjected to an Expression of Concern. In July 2011, he wrote a letter to the Ciencia Brasil blog questioning those who were critical of his work.