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Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Liver study a twin, gets retracted

with 3 comments

B_SPR570_HIJO Journal.inddThe liver is the only internal organ that can regenerate. So perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that Egyptian researchers tried to publish the same paper about liver ischemia twice  in different journals. They succeeded — for a little while, at least.

The Journal of Molecular Histology is retracting the second of the articles to appear. Titled “Effect of preischemic treatment with fenofibrate, a peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-α ligand, on hepatic ischemia–reperfusion injury in rats,” (which is still available online) it was published in 2011 by Vivian Boshra and Amal M. Moustafa of Mansoura University.

Trouble was, in 2011 Moustafa and Boshra, in that order, had also published “Effect of fenofibrate on the experimentally induced hepatic ischemia/reperfusion injury in rats: biochemical, light, and electron microscopic studies” in the Egyptian Journal of Histology (link to pdf).

That, as we know, is not done.

As the retraction notice states:

The article has been retracted due to duplicate publication. It was first published by the same authors as “Effect of fenofibrate on the experimentally induced hepatic schema/reperfusion injury in rats: biochemical, light, and electronic microscopic studies” in the Egyptian Journal of Histology, volume 34 (pages 103–116).

The now-retracted version has been cited once, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge, which does not appear to index the Egyptian journal.

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  1. At the outset, apologies for the long entry. But it is linked. Moreover, one should also consider political and social instability in Egypt since at least March 2011 as you move ahead with your analysis. Firstly, as two aperitifs, two classical hot-spot for instant publishing for Egyptian (and Middle-Eastern) scientists: IDOSI’s AEJAES (http://www.idosi.org/aejaes/aejaes.htm) as well as Marsland Press (http://www.sciencepub.net/). Allow me to introduce you to Prof. Zakaria M. Sawan. I believe that at least 20 of his papers should be retracted. I have alerted Elsevier, Springer, Oxford University Press and other publishers who are aware but yet refuse to retract this man’s papers. I ask you, colleagues, can we be only blaming the scientists, or the publishers too?
    A taste for now (there may be more, and 2012 and 2013 are incomplete):
    1) Acta Ecologica Sinica (2012) 32: 123–137 (Elsevier) Zakaria M. Sawan. Cotton (Gossypium barbadense) production as affected by climatic factors and soil moisture status.
    2) Nova Science Publishers Response of Flower and Boll Development to Climatic Factors in Egyptian Cotton (Gossypium Barbadense) Chapter 1 (of all ironies)

    https://www.novapublishers.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=28820&osCsid=37561cef7575cd3aeb899f6265236bb2

    3) Theor. Appl. Climatol. 99 (2010) 217–227 (Springer) Z.M. Sawan, L.I. Hanna, W.L. McCuistions, R.J. Foote, Egyptian cotton (Gossypium barbadense) flower and boll production as affected by climatic factors and soil moisture status
    4) J Plant Ecol 2008 1: 259-270; doi:10.1093/jpe/rtn021 (Oxford University Press) Zakaria M. Sawan, Mahmoud H. Mahmoud, and Amal H. El-Guibali. Influence of potassium fertilization and foliar application of zinc and phosphorus on growth, yield components, yield and fiber properties of Egyptian cotton (Gossypium barbadense L.)
    5) GRASAS Y ACEITES, 58 (3), JULIO-SEPTIEMBRE, 243-251, 2007, ISSN: 0017-3495
    Z.M.Sawan, S.A.Hafez, A.E.Basyony, A.R.Alkassas. Nitrogen, potassium and plant growth retardant effects on oil content and quality of cotton seed
    6) World Journal of Agricultural Sciences 3(2) 159-166, 2007, ISSN: 1817-3047
    Z.M.Sawan. An accommodation method for statistical analysis of the insignificant interactions between effects of nitrogen, potassium and mepiquat chloride on cotton yield.
    7) GRASAS Y ACEITES, 58 (1), ENERO-MARZO, 40-48, 2007,ISSN:0017-3495
    Zakaria M.Sawan, Saeb A.Hafez, Ahmed E.Basyony, Abou-El-Ela R.Alkassas
    Cottonseed: protein, oil yields, and oil properties as influenced by potassium fertilization and foliar application of zinc and phosphorus

    http://grasasyaceites.revistas.csic.es/index.php/grasasyaceites/article/view/7

    8) African Journal of Plant Science and Biotechnology 1: 16-25 (2007) ISSN: 1752-3931
    Zakaria M. Sawan, Ashraf H. Fahmy, Serag E. Yousef
    Cottonseed Yield, Seed Viability and Seedling Vigour as Affected by Nitrogen, Potassium, Phosphorus, Zinc and a Plant Growth Retardant
    9) African Journal of Plant Science and Biotechnology 1: 26-35 (2007) ISSN: 1752-3931
    Zakaria M. Sawan, Mahmoud H. Mahmoud, Amal H. El-Guibali
    Growth, Yield components, Yield and Fiber Properties of Egyptian Cotton (Gossypium barbadense L.) as Affects by Potassium Fertilization and Foliar Application of Zinc and Phosphorus
    10) World Journal of Agricultural Sciences 2 (1): 66-74, 2006, ISSN: 1817-3047
    Zakaria M. Sawan, Saeb A. Hafez, Ahmed E. Basyony and Abou-El-Ela R. Alkassas
    Cottonseed, Protein, Oil Yields and Oil Properties as Influenced by Potassium Fertilization and Foliar Application of Zinc and Phosphorus
    11) World Journal of Agricultural Sciences 2 (1): 56-65, 2006, ISSN: 1817-3047
    Zakaria M. Sawan, Saeb A. Hafez, Ahmed E. Basyony and Abou-El-Ela R. Alkassas
    Cottonseed, Protein, Oil Yields and Oil Properties as Affected by Nitrogen Fertilization and Foliar Application of Potassium and a Plant Growth Retardant
    12) Communications in Biometry and Crop Science 1 (2), 99-105. (2006). ISSN
    Sawan, Z.M. Egyptian cotton (Gossypium barbadense L.) yield as affected by nitrogen fertilisation and foliar application of potassium and mepiquat chloride.
    13) Communications in Biometry and Crop Science 1 (1), 11-19. (2006). ISSN
    Zakaria M. Sawan, Louis I. Hanna, Willis L. McCuistion
    Appropriate time scale for aggregating climate data to predict flowering and boll setting behaviour of cotton in Egypt
    14) The Journal of Cotton Science 10:22434 (2006) ISSN
    Zakaria M. Sawan*, Mahmoud H. Mahmoud, and Amal H. El-Guibali
    Response of Yield, Yield Components, and Fiber Properties of Egyptian Cotton (Gossypium barbadense L.) to Nitrogen Fertilization and Foliar-applied Potassium and Mepiquat Chloride
    15) Climate Research (2005) 29 (2): 167-179 ISSN
    Zakaria M. Sawan, Louis I. Hanna, Willis L. McCuistion
    Response of flower and boll development to climatic factors before and after anthesis in Egyptian cotton
    16) J. Agron. Crop Sci. 190 (2004) 287–297. Z.M. Sawan, L.I. Hanna, W.L. McCuistions,
    Effects of climatic factors prevailing prior to flowering or subsequent to boll setting on flower and boll production and retention of cotton in Egypt,
    17) Canadian Journal of Plant Science 82: 499-506 (2002) ISSN008-4220
    Zakaria M. Sawan, Louis I. Hanna, Willis L. McCuistion
    Interval of days required for determining efficient relations between climatic factors and cotton flower and boll production
    18) J. Arid Environ. 52 (2002) 499–516.
    Z.M. Sawan, L.I. Hanna, Gh.A. Gad El Karim, W.L. McCuistions,
    Relationships between climatic factors and flower and boll production in Egyptian cotton (Gossypium barbadense)
    19) Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society 2001,爒ol.8,爊o11,爌p.087-1092 ISSN003-021X
    SAWAN Zakaria M.; HAFEZ aeb A.; BASYONY Ahmed E.
    Effect of nitrogen and zinc fertilization and plant growth retardants on cottonseed, protein, oil yields, and oil properties
    20) J Agron Crop Sci 186: 183-191 Sawan ZM, Hafez SA & Basyony AE (2001)
    Effect of nitrogen fertilization and foliar application of plant growth retardants and zinc on cottonseed, protein, and oil yields and oil properties of cotton.
    21) Agronomie 19 (1999) 435-443 DOI: 10.1051/agro:19990601 (Also appears under the journal title and contents list of Veterinary Research http://www.vetres.org/index.phpoption=com_intuition&task=similar&url=/articles/vetres/abs/2003/05/V3503/V3503.html)
    22) Zakaria M. Sawan, Louis I. Hanna, and Willis L. McCuistion
    Effect of climatic factors during the development periods of flowering and boll formation on the production of Egyptian cotton (Gossypium barbadense L.)
    http://www.agronomy-journal.org/articles/agro/abs/1999/06/contents/contents.html
    23) Agronomie 18 (1998) 275-283 DOI: 10.1051/agro:19980403 (Also appears under the journal title and contents list of Veterinary Research http://www.afs-journal.org/index.phpoption=com_intuition&task=similar&url=/articles/forest/abs/2005/05/F5044/F5044.html)
    Zakaria Mohamed Sawan, Ramadan Arafa Sakr
    Effect of 1-naphthalene acetic acid concentrations and the number of applications on the yield components, yield and fibre properties of the Egyptian cotton (Gossypium barbadense L.)
    24) Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 45 (8), 3326-3330, 1997. jf950816x S0021-8561(95)00816-
    Zakaria M. Sawan, Mahmoud H. Mahmoud, Osama A. Momtaz
    Effect of Phosphorus Fertilization and Foliar Application of Chelated Zinc and Calcium on Quantitative and Qualitative Properties of Egyptian Cotton (Gossypium barbadense L. Var. Giza 75)
    25) Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 45 (8), 3331-3336, 1997. jf950817p S0021-8561(95)00817-X
    Zakaria M. Sawan, Mahmoud H. Mahmoud, Osama A. Momtaz
    Influence of Nitrogen Fertilization and Foliar Application of Plant Growth Retardants and Zinc on Quantitative and Qualitative Properties of Egyptian Cotton (Gossypium barbadense L. Var. Giza 75)
    26) Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 41 (10), 1756759, 1993. DOI: 10.1021/jf00034a044
    Zakaria M. Sawan, Ahmad E. Basyony, Willis L. McCuistion, and Abdel Hamid A. El Farra
    Direct and residual effect of foliar applications of copper and manganese on cottonseed yield and quality
    27) Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society 1988,爒ol.5,爊o6,爌p.48-951 ISSN003-021X
    Zakaria M. Sawan, Abd. El-Hamid A. El-Farra, Sania Abd. El-Latif
    Cottonseed, protein and oil yields and oil properties as affected by nitrogen and phosphorus fertilization and growth regulators
    28) J. Agron. Crop Sci. 156 (4) (1986) 237-245.
    Sawan Z.M. Effect of nitrogen, phosphorus fertilization and growth regulators on cotton yield and fiber properties,

    Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva

    May 19, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    • it might help if you spelled out the problems with each one, and linked to the appropriate figure or text.

      Noah

      May 20, 2013 at 7:08 am

      • Noah, It would be hard to list all the problems in detail (that will take a book to complete: soon to work on it). But allow me to summarize the key problems: a) exact same data re-published (i.e., duplicate data); b) manipulation of data and its representation, i.e. duplicate data but just appears differently in tables or figures; c) changing order of table columns to give the impression of a different table and data set; d) exact same figure published in at least 8 (Yes, EIGHT!) of the papers; e) use of fictitious names and maybe even totally fictitious authors; f) manipulation of the author’s own name to fake a different scientist; g) faking cotton cultivars and cultivar names to appear as if the study is different, even though the data is the same. I have conferred with some cotton specialists, primarily in the US and the EU, who confirm my ideas. How much more evidence is necessary? As I say, it will take me some time to do a full cross-reference of every data set, table, figure etc but this fraudtsre is clearly setting his eyes on the next unsuspecting target journal. He appears to be a serial fraudster, and seems to be aiming at one or two papers a year, preferably in a different publisher each year. As I say, I have been monitoring him since at least 2009, and will, once I have the published proof, retract two of his papers from my own journals. The truly amazing thing is that none of the key publishers (Elsevier, Springer, Oxford University Press, Taylor and Francis) see this as being problematic. Absolutely no action has been taken. Egyptian Ministry of Education turns a blind eye, his institute is somewhere in the sticks with no web-page or contact, so justice cannot be served. The guy is rogue. So how to tackle the problem? I will publish a formal publication with the full evidence. What irritates me the most is not so much this guy, because I have no love in particular for cotton, but the fact that the publishers are so passive. Once again, as I have stated on several occasions on RW, part of the problem lies with the scientists, but most definately, part of the problem also lies with the publishers.

        Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva

        May 22, 2013 at 1:38 pm


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