Paper by NASA scientists retracted for plagiarizing NASA report
Here’s the notice for “A Fosmid Cloning Strategy for Detecting the Widest Possible Spectrum of Microbes from the International Space Station Drinking Water System,” published in Genomics & Informatics:
The editorial committee of Genomics & Informatics has concluded that a substantial portion of the above article  was ‘copied and pasted’ from earlier publications without appropriate attribution. Although the plagiarized texts are detected only in the Introduction section , such a misconduct is unacceptable in a scientific writing. The authors have acknowledged plagiarism in the above article and requested retraction.
That earlier publication was an article published in 2000 by NASA, “Water on the space station.” Three of the Genomics & Informatics authors — including one of the corresponding authors, Kasthuri Venkateswaran — are at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, part of Caltech.
It’s hard not to see the overlap by comparing the paper’s first paragraph with the plagiarized material. From the now-retracted article:
Rationing and water recycling are an essential part of life at International Space Stations (ISSs) .
From the 2000 NASA article (which is not the  referred to by the paper):
Rationing and recycling will be an essential part of daily life on the ISS.
From the now-retracted paper:
Water purification machines on the ISS partly mimic these processes, but they do not rely on microbes or any other living organisms. These machines cleanse wastewater in a 3-step process. The first step involves a filter that removes particles and debris. The water then passes through multifiltration beds that contain substances that remove organic and inorganic impurities. Finally, the catalytic oxidation reactor removes volatile organic compounds and kills bacteria and viruses.
From the 2000 NASA article:
Water purification machines on the ISS partly mimic these processes, but they do not rely on microbes or any other living things.
The water purification machines on the ISS will cleanse wastewater in a three-step process.
The first step is a filter that removes particles and debris. Then the water passes through the “multi-filtration beds,” which contain substances that remove organic and inorganic impurities. And finally, the “catalytic oxidation reactor” removes volatile organic compounds and kills bacteria and viruses.
From the now-retracted article:
Once the water is purified, astronauts try to ensure that the water is used with maximum possible efficiency. Even with intense conservation and recycling efforts, the space station will gradually lose water because of inefficiencies in the life support system.
From the 2000 NASA article:
Once the water is purified, astronauts will do everything possible to use it efficiently.
Even with intense conservation and recycling efforts, the Space Station will gradually lose water because of inefficiencies in the life support system.
We’ve contacted the corresponding authors of the now-retracted paper and will update with anything we learn.
It’s worth noting that U.S. government works are not protected by copyright in the U.S. That doesn’t, however, mean that they can be copied and pasted without attribution in a scientific paper.