Pesticide paper pulled for plagiarizing prior publication
The International Journal of Pest Management has retracted a 2007 article on spinosad pesticides by researcher who stole much of the material from the thesis of a Kansas State University masters student.
But the retraction comes more than five years after a correction indicating that plagiarism had occurred — an odd interposition that we can’t quite figure out.
The article, “Insecticidal effect of spinosad dust against four stored product insect species in different grain commodities,” was written by Amin Nikpay, who, according to this website, is now with Arak Islamic Azad University, in Iran. It was published in the spring of 2007, but a few months later the journal issued the following notice:
In the April–June 2007 issue of International Journal of Pest Management; 53(2), pp. 121–125, we published ‘Insecticidal effect of spinosad dust against four stored product insect species in different grain commodities’ by Amin Nikpay.
The article reproduces extensive sections verbatim from Anna Iversen Getchell’s 2006 thesis ‘Efficacy of two spinosad formulations on various commodities against stored-product insects’ (September 2000), pp. 4– 17, without referencing Anna Iversen Getchell’s thesis as its source.
We have contacted Amin Nikpay and he has offered his unreserved apologies. We are publishing this corrigendum to correct the scholarly record.
That seems like pretty clear grounds for retraction, so we’re wondering why it took the journal until now to take this step:
We, the Editors and Publishers of International Journal of Pest Management are retracting the following article:
Amin Nikpay “Insecticidal effect of spinosad dust against four stored product insect species in different grain commodities”, International Journal of Pest Management 53.2 (2007): 121-125 http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09670870601185248
The article reproduces extensive sections verbatim from Anna Iversen Getchell’s 2006 thesis ‘Efficacy of two spinosad formulations on various commodities against stored-product insects’, pp. 4–17, without referencing Anna Iversen Getchell’s thesis as its source.
This action constitutes a breach of publishing ethics by the author with respect to originality. We note we received, peer-reviewed, accepted, and published the article in good faith, and censure this action.
The retracted article will remain online to maintain the scholarly record, but it will be digitally watermarked on each page as RETRACTED.
Maybe this one slipped through the cracks, as pests are wont to do. The paper has been cited just twice, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge, including once by the correction. We have emailed the editor for comment and will update this post if we hear from him.
Meanwhile, Getchell, who now works in the pest management industry, tells us that the plagiarism was picked up quite quickly:
[I]n April 2007 my co-author and advisor, Dr. Bhadriraju Subramanyam, saw what was essentially an entire chapter of my thesis (about 13 pages) copied verbatim (with some changes) in the International Journal of Pest Management. He alerted the journal who said they’d accept a submission of our version of the paper.
I had provided my thesis to Amin in November of 2006 to assist him with his research and we’d communicated some before he plagiarized it. After the discovery, Dr. Subramanyam confronted him via email and he said he did all the work. I confronted him myself and he was apologetic and admitted he took “the text of my thesis.” He had done much more than that and eventually said as much.
I don’t know why it took so long to get retracted. … We alerted the journal immediately and provided proof. I honestly had assumed it’d had been retracted years ago until I got your email. It was a very frustrating time… we discovered he’d plagiarized others and he just didn’t seem to understand what he’d done.
And Subramanyam tells us:
I contacted the journal about it and they printed a corrigendum. Recently I noticed despite acknowledgement by the journal Amin’s plagiarized paper is being cited by others. So a month ago I contacted the editor to permanently remove the paper. This result in the paper being retracted but still is online. Now Amin has a PhD from Iran and he is active in science circles which to me is difficult to understand.