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Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Plant journal retracts paper for plagiarism — of another study in the same journal

with 5 comments

s horticulturaeScientia Horticulturae, a plant journal published by Elsevier, has retracted a paper after realizing it was a graft of another that appeared in its pages.

Here’s the notice for “Water stress effects on Cumin (Cuminum cyminum L.) yield and oil essential components,” by Farshid Vazin, Islamic Azad University, Gonabad, Iran:

This article has been retracted: please see Elsevier Policy on Article Withdrawal (http://www.elsevier.com/locate/withdrawalpolicy).

This article has been retracted at the request of the editors.

The article includes content plagiarised from the following article that has already been published:

Water deficit effects on Salvia officinalis fatty acids and essential oils composition by I. Bettaieb, N. Zakhama, W. Aidi Wannes, M.E. Kchouk, B. Marzouk, Sci. Hortic. 120/2 (2009) 271–275, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scienta.2008.10.016.

One of the conditions of submission of a paper for publication is that authors declare explicitly that their work is original and has not appeared in a publication elsewhere. Re-use of any data should be appropriately cited. 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.

That’s right: Vazin plagiarized a 2009 paper in Scientia Horticulturae in a 2013 paper in…Scientia Horticulturae. Where’s plagiarism detection software when you need it?

Hat tip: Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva

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Written by ivanoransky

October 30, 2013 at 11:00 am

5 Responses

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  1. The editors need explain their hopefully temporary vegetative state in making the most basic of checks!


    October 30, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    • This is a historic moment and actually a reason to celebrate rather than to be demoralized. For one reason. Scientia Horticulturae represents the oldest and (at least in the eyes of horticultural scientists) most respectable horticultural journal in the world, by far, despite it’s relatively low IF relative to medical journals, for exmaple. It also represents some of the most conservative ideologies in plant science publishing, as reflected by several key editors on that board. If plagiarism was not detected in the latest issue of this journal, then this implies that it was also not searched for in all previous 162 volumes. This is SERIOUS and demands a deep and thorough investigation of all papers published there in the last few years. There can be no doubt that other cases of plagiarism exist. The question is why this paper from Iran and from Islamic Azad University (which has made news before at RW) was singled out? Can anyone suggest a FREE plagiarism detector (other than Google Scholar) that is easy to use, i.e., where one can just copy-paste a chunk of text and get a read-out. There is no way that justice can be served evenly in this Elsevier journal unless the peer community provides free tools for us to do independent quality control and post-publication peer review. One of the problems with the plant science community overall is that it is extremely conservative, and remains quite reluctant to change. I see this on a daily basis with the status quo. It sees the problems, but many key players are happy to have a traditional don’t-ask-too-many-questions system in place, without ruffling too many feathers. What this historic retraction does is very suddenly usher in an age of change. It is the Fukushima jolt that the horticultural science community required. A thorough investigation of papers in this journal will surely be the key to establishing a new mantra for the plant science and publishing community. Radical change is coming very soon to plant science publishing, no doubt.


      October 30, 2013 at 4:20 pm

      • I wonder if a similar phenomenon might affect sloth and snail research ?


        October 30, 2013 at 4:37 pm

        • Despite multiple indications to the editor board of this journal, and to Elsevier Ltd. management, including the Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Reed-Elsevier, Mark Seeley (http://www.elsevier.com/about/management), since at least 2010, that the information on the pages of this journal continue to be contradictory, and thus false, including the definitions of authorship, absolutely nothing is done about correcting and/or standardizing the errors and the documents. This is an excellent example of senior managerial mismanagement, and corporate and editorial irresponsibility at the highest level of science publishing for three reasons:
          a) Scientia Horticulturae is the leading/premier horticultural journal in the world;
          b) It has a 40-41 year publishing history and a 5-year impact factor (2012; JCI) of 1.730 (http://www.journals.elsevier.com/scientia-horticulturae/);
          c) Elsevier Ltd. is the leading science publisher globally.

          The underlying message for me is simple: they just don’t care about the accuracy of the information, but are quick to retract papers and call out authors when it comes to their carelessness.

          Allow me to indicate exactly why such small differences are potentially a fraudulent situation.

          Set 1 information (26 March, 2014; verbatim):

          “Scientia Horticulturae Editorial Board
          J.P. Bower
          S.C. Debnath, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
          W.W. Guo, HuaZhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, Hubei, China
          T. Moriguchi, National Agriculture and Food Research Organization, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan
          B. Pennisi, University of Georgia, Griffin, Georgia, USA
          D. Schwarz, Leibniz-Institute of Vegetable and Ornamental Crops, Grossbeeren, Germany
          Founding Editor
          S.J. Wellensiek
          Editorial Board Members
          G.H. Barry, XLnT Citrus Company, Helderberg, Cape Town, South Africa
          R.I. Cabrera, Texas A&M University, Dallas, Texas, USA
          G. Colla, Università degli Studi della Tuscia, Viterbo, Italy
          C. de Kreij, Research Floriculture & Glasshouse Vegetables, Hoofddorp, Netherlands
          M. Dorais, Université Laval, Québec, Canada
          G.C. Douglas, Teagasc Agriculture and Food Development Authority, Dublin 19, Ireland
          R.L. Geneve, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, USA
          A. Gunes, Ankara University, Ankara, Turkey
          W.P. Hackett, University of California at Davis, Davis, California, USA
          V. Kesavan, Department of Agriculture Western Australia, Carnavon, Western Australia, Australia
          C. Lovatt, University of California at Riverside, Riverside, California, USA
          A. Monteiro, Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Lisboa Cedex, Portugal
          P. Mooney, Sardi, Urrbrae, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
          R.E. Paull, University of Hawaii at Mãnoa, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
          F. Pliego Alfaro, Universidad de Malaga, Málaga, Spain
          J.V. Possingham, Possum’s Vineyard, Unley Park, South Australia, Australia
          L. Rallo, Universidad de Cordoba, Córdoba, Spain
          M.S. Reid, University of California at Davis, Davis, California, USA
          D. Savvas, Agricultural University of Athens, Athens, Greece
          R.R. Sharma, IARI, New Delihi, India
          L. Tian, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), London, Ontario, Canada
          D.W. Turner, University of Western Australia, Nedlands, Western Australia, Australia
          X. Wang, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing, China
          G.E. Welbaum, Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg, VA, USA

          Set 2 information (from the Editorial Board PDF, also dated on March 26, 2014, Volume 168):

          Dr. John Bower, Horticultural Consultant, Agassiz, British Columbia, Canada
          Dr. Samir C. Debnath, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
          Prof. X.X. Deng, Huazhong Agricultural University, National Key Laboratory of Crop Genetic Improvement, Shizhishan Street No. 1, Wuhan, Hubei, P.R. China
          Prof. Takaya Moriguchi, National Institute of Fruit Tree Science, National Agriculture and Food Research Organization, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8605, Japan
          Bodie Pennisi, Associate Professor and Extension Landscape Specialist, Dept. of Horticulture University of Georgia Griffin Campus, 1109 Experiment St. Cowart Bldg., 103, Griffi n, GA 30223
          Dr. Dietmar Schwarz, Leibniz-Institute of Vegetable and Ornamental Crops. Theodor-Echtermeyer-Weg 1, 14979 Grossbeeren, Germany
          S.J. Wellensiek
          G.H. Barry, XLnT Citrus Company, Cape Town, South Africa
          R.I. Cabrera, Texas A&M University, Dallas, TX, USA
          G. Colla, Universita degli Studi della Tuscia, Viterbo, Italy
          C. de Kreij, Research Floriculture & Glasshouse Vegetables, Hoofddorp, The Netherlands
          M. Dorais, Universite Laval, Quebec, Canada
          G.C. Douglas, TEAGASC, Dublin, Ireland
          R.L. Geneve, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA
          W. Guo, Huazhong Agricultural, University China
          A. Gunes, Ankara University, Ankara, Turkey
          W.P. Hackett, Univ. California, Davis, CA, USA
          E. Heuvelink, Agric. Univ. Wageningen, Wageningen, Netherlands
          V. Kesavan, Department of Agriculture, Carnavon, WA, Australia
          C.J. Lovatt, Univ. California, Riverside, CA, USA
          A.A. Monteiro, Inst. Superior de Agronomia, Lisbon, Portugal
          P. Mooney, Plant Research Centre, Waite Research Precinct, Adelaide, South Australia
          R.E. Paull, Univ. Hawaii, Honolulu, HI, USA
          F. Pliego Alfaro, Univ. Málaga, Málaga, Spain
          J.V. Possingham, Possum’s Vineyards, Unley Park, Adelaide, Australia
          L. Rallo, Univ. Cordoba, Cordoba, Spain
          M.S. Reid, Univ. California, Davis, CA, USA
          D. Savvas, Agricultural University of Athens, Athens, Greece
          R.R. Sharma, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, India
          L. Tian, Southern Crop Protection and Food Research Centre, London, Ontario
          D.W. Turner, The Univ.W. Australia, Nedlands, WA, Australia
          X. Wang, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science, Beijing, China

          Please compare the lists VERY carefully, person by person, line for line. Is this correct? Is this honest? Is this ethically acceptable especially when the publisher has been informed ample times of these discrepancies? I think not. Yet, there seems absolutely no way to convince Elsevier that this is fundamentally wrong. We are in 2014, not 1994, accuracy, precision, timely correction are all aspects that make up an efficient, transparent and trustworthy company. If such basic issues cannot be done responsibly and professionally, then what can we conclude about te academic process and peer review? My experience has told me that serious problems exist with select members of the editor board, with the peer process, and with the review management and decision making. But each of these issues will be recorded here, one by one, to consititute a public repository of this information for the horticultural/plant science community, who deserve to get such insight.

          Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva

          March 26, 2014 at 7:27 am

  2. Excellent move by Sci Hort


    April 10, 2014 at 5:05 pm

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