Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Oh, the irony: Business ethics journal paper retracted for plagiarism

with 11 comments

jabeIs this the new business ethics?

In January, we reported on a paper retracted from the Journal of Business Ethics for duplication. That earned the author a five-year publishing ban. This week, we learned of a case of plagiarism in another journal in the field, the Journal of Academic and Business Ethics. Here’s an email editor Russell Baker — no, not that Russell Baker — sent to his contact list on Wednesday:

I have recently been made aware of a case of plagiarism in one of our journals. The Journal of Academic and Business Ethics Volume 5 contained an article with a significant amount of plagiarism that went undetected in the review and publication process. The article was originally web published in August 2011. Pursuant to the Academic and Business Research Institute (AABRI) plagiarism policy published on our website publication procedures page, the manuscript has been removed from publication and the author notified. I have also notified the manuscript indexing services we work with requesting they remove this manuscript from their databases.

AABRI takes plagiarism very seriously. Effective August 2012 every manuscript received for review is evaluated with plagiarism detection software prior to editorial review. Prior to that it was only used for manuscripts or sources that appeared questionable. While plagiarism detection tools like are not infallible, the millions of articles and websites in their system provides for a significantly more in-depth plagiarism evaluation than reviewers are capable of performing. Additionally, in August 2012 we also began reviewing all journal manuscripts published prior to that time. Several were removed from publication. This is ongoing. Unfortunately, the manuscript in question had not yet been through the review process.

I want to take this opportunity to apologize to our authors, readers, and other stakeholders for this occurrence. While AABRI is a for-profit publishing organization, we will not intentionally publish plagiarized material to enrich the coffers and all instances of plagiarism discovered will be dealt with promptly. To those of you who have access to plagiarism detection software I ask that you submit your manuscripts therein for review prior to submission to an AABRI journal or any other journal.

If you have any questions regarding the AABRI plagiarism policy or any of our publishing procedures, please do not hesitate to contact me.

We asked Baker — whose AABRI publishes 19 journals — which paper had been retracted, since it’s not in his email. There are two papers listed on the journal’s site as “removed from publication,” but their titles have been removed too. Manuscript 111075, from volume six of the journal, simply reads “This manuscript has been removed from publication.” Manuscript 11902, from volume five, reads “This manuscript has been removed from publication pending additional review.”

It would appear that it’s manuscript 11902 that was the offending one, according to a February 26 blog post by Jeffrey Beall. Beall highlights plagiarized passages from paper — “Eminent Domain: In Theory — It Makes Good Cents” — by Benjamin A. Neil from Towson University in Maryland:

Unfortunately, this article, published in March, 2012, contains a lot of text that originally appeared earlier in other publications. The copied text completely lacks attribution in some cases and lacks proper attribution (quotation marks) in others.

As Beall puts it:

This begs the question, Why on earth would someone plagiarize in a business ethics journal? What were they thinking?

  • Bob O'Hara (@BobOHara) March 8, 2013 at 9:35 am

    An ethics journal is the last place you’d look for a plagarized article, so it’s a prime target.

  • plw March 8, 2013 at 9:42 am

    FYI, these AABRI journals are essentially vanity presses. To me, the interesting question is why self-plagiarize into a vanity press?

    • StatObserver March 8, 2013 at 10:32 am

      Possibly since they thought that, since they were paying for publication, there would be a lower level of scrutiny.

  • JudyH March 8, 2013 at 10:58 am

    “As Beall puts it:
    This begs the question, Why on earth would someone plagiarize in a business ethics journal? What were they thinking?”

    Um, “business ethics” is an oxymoron. That’s why someone would plagiarize in a business ethics journal.

    I admire Mr. Beall’s campaign against predatory publishers, but the meaning of “beg the question” is worth looking up.

    • Jeffrey Beall March 8, 2013 at 11:27 am

      Good point. Let me change that to “This raises the question … “

      • David Sullivan March 8, 2013 at 12:46 pm

        A misuse so common that it is threatening to become use.

        However, there is a looming circularity nonetheless: why use a forum devoted to discussions of ethics to do something patently unethical? I think I know the answer.

  • Jeffrey Beall March 8, 2013 at 11:29 am

    According to his faculty bio, Mr. Neil, the author of the retracted article, is also a sergeant in the Maryland State Police:

    • chirality March 8, 2013 at 1:54 pm

      So he is a cop… Now it makes even less cents.

    • Jeffrey Beall March 12, 2013 at 1:53 pm

      I’d like to correct the above comment. It appears that the author’s son, Benjamin A. Neil II, is with the Maryland State Police.

  • pamminge July 17, 2013 at 10:18 am

    Reblogged this on lab ant and commented:
    The perfect place to hide something like that. “kudos” the irony made me giggle a bit….

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