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Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Retraction prompts letter of explanation by co-author — and a legal threat against Retraction Watch

with 98 comments

ejnmmiThe European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging has an interesting exchange of retraction-related notices in its pages.

The article, “Neuroradiological advances detect abnormal neuroanatomy underlying neuropsychological impairments: the power of PET imaging,” appeared in 2011 and was written by Benjamin Hayempour and Abass Alavi, one of the pioneers in PET imaging.

According to the retraction notice:

This article has been withdrawn at the request of the Editor-in-Chief of European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging owing to the unexplained close similarity of some passages to parts of a previous publication [Rushing SE, Langleben DD. Relative function: Nuclear brain imaging in United States courts. J Psychiatry Law 2011; 39 (winter): 567–93].

Alavi followed the retraction notice with a letter detailing his version of events:

Dear Sir,

It has come to my attention that an article published in this journal, entitled “Neuroradiological advances detect abnormal neuroanatomy underlying neuropsychological impairments: the power of PET imaging,” has been retracted owing to similarities to a previous publication in the literature [1,2]. I wish to emphasize that this communication totally reflected my views and concepts about the role of PET imaging in assessment of neuropsychiatric disorders. However, I was not aware that passages from another paper had been included without proper citation, nor did I have any reason to suspect that this had happened.

Although I am confident that the science behind our work was sound, the improper use of other authors’ work–whether intentional or not–is not at all acceptable. It is unfortunate that the utility of this review article for the medical community has been compromised in such a way, but I give my full support to the Editor-in-Chief and stand behind his decision to retract the article owing to the close similarity of some passages to parts of a previous publication. Neglecting to confirm the originality of the text by using a plagiarism prevention service prior to publication was a regrettable oversight that I will not let happen again. The availability of plagiarism detection software or other means for authors to identify such unethical behavior in the future will substantially improve our ability to scrutinize contributions in advance of publication.

Alavi’s certainly correct, but it’s hard to tell if he’s taking the blame for poor oversight — or a shot at the journal here for not doing a good job screening the manuscript. Alavi apparently has more than 1,000 publications to his name. That’s 20 a year since 1964, when he received his MD.

Susan Rushing, a doctor-laywer at Penn and a co-author on the plagiarized article, which was not cited in the now-retracted paper, told us she saw the misused text when a colleague pointed out the paper as something she might want to read. The passages were

 cut and pasted from a paper that I wrote.

However, both Rushing and Alavi said they believed the plagiarism was merely a lack of understanding about proper citation practice, not malicious intent. Rushing says:

I think everybody would have felt better about it had there been a citation. I think it was likely an oversight.

We’ve covered many cases like this, and Rushing’s attitude is one for which we have some sympathy, particularly when very junior researchers are involved.

However, after speaking with Hayempour, now a master’s student at UC Berkeley/UC San Francisco, we’re not sure we know the whole story. Hayempour said he was merely an “undergraduate lab rat” for Alavi and did nothing more than type the manuscript using text provided by others. He sounded somewhat overwhelmed by events, adding that he has pleaded his case to both Penn ethics officials and the journal:

I’ve been taking the heat for this for quite a while…

But when we tried to probe further, he threatened to sue us — a threat soon followed by this letter from a Los Angeles real estate attorney named Eyal Aharonov. In an email, Aharonov said he would sue us on behalf of his client not just because we were publishing something on this, but because we were corresponding with the people involved — in other words, trying to get the facts straight:

Our law firm has been retained by Benjamin Hayempour regarding legal action he and his colleagues (the “Group”) wish to pursue against you individually and against your publication.

It has come to our attention that you wish to draft and publish a sensationalized article regarding the Group.  You intend on compiling falsified and dramatized accounts of the Group’s research activities and publish your article on the internet.

Please refer to this letter as specific notice of our law firm’s intent to pursue legal action against you if you do not cease and desist correspondence with members of the Group.  Furthermore, should you decide to move forward and publish a story about the Group which intends to undermine or defame them, we will pursue a defamation suit against you, on the basis of libel which is intentionally and actually causing harm to the Group’s reputation, as well as actual damages in the form of Mr. Hayempour’s employment.

You may additionally be liable for attorney’s fees as they relate to this matter.  We strongly suggest that you end all communication with anyone related to the Group.

A formal letter with a draft complaint will be sent to you shortly.  Should you have any additional questions, please feel free to call our offices.

Thank you for your time.

And in a follow-up:

Regardless of your opinions about what is public or not, you face legal action regarding this matter.  It is not within your rights to fabricate a narrative that will draw viewership to your article.

We intend to protect our clients to the fullest extent of the law.  Should you wish to continue disparaging my clients, I assure you that you will face legal ramifications.  This warning and notice is a courtesy to you.”

We have had other legal threats, ably chronicled by our friends at Popehat. We’ll update with anything more we learn about this case.

Update, 12/4/2013; 10:30 p.m. Eastern: Hayempour has claimed that we misquoted him. Our notes demonstrate that his quotations accurately reflect our conversation and we stand by the post. We have offered him and others involved in this story a chance to comment further and will update this post as warranted.

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98 Responses

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  1. I am not a journalist but from what I understand, RW articles are anything but sensationalised, falsified or dramatized – they are notable for the absence of these problems.

    They could simply have not responded to RW’s questions which I imagine are quite gentle and open-ended; I suspect most authors contacted by RW do this.

    Why on earth do they need a lawyer?

    amw

    December 4, 2013 at 11:20 am

    • This is also why I like RW– Adam and Ivan frequently “fact-check” for free more than many journalists do for pay.

      Also, it looks like this kid is a Brit….? (Or did he just do school at Oxford?) The libel laws are very different over there (although I hear people are trying to change them), so perhaps he’s a bit confused….?

      Allison (@DrStelling)

      December 4, 2013 at 12:30 pm

  2. Oh dear. Not a good move by Hayempour. His retraction is now much more prominent than it otherwise would have been, and the sympathy he would otherwise have enjoyed as a mere undergrad ‘lab rat’ has evaporated.

  3. oh this should be a fun ride. I mean, real estate attorneys are experts in libel, right? Isn’t that the basis for their ability to deal with property related contract law? And make really good gatekeepers in ensuring unsavory types don’t communicate with their clients, even! Wait. what?

    Alan Bleiweiss

    December 4, 2013 at 11:25 am

  4. Real-estate attorney?

    omnologos

    December 4, 2013 at 11:32 am

  5. Ah yes – here’s the proof you’ve messed with the wrong people this time. According to Aharonov’s LinkedIn profile, he’s an “Energetic lawyer on the cutting edge of real estate law.” And his company tagline starts out with “All we do is real estate.”

    So it’s obvious you’re up against a formidable opponent on this one, and likely to suffer if you ignore his demands!

    Alan Bleiweiss

    December 4, 2013 at 11:32 am

  6. Looks like Hayempour is a bit of a high flyer….this might explain the legal overreaction.

    http://www.clarendon.ox.ac.uk/scholarprofiles/details/?id=987

    Scotus

    December 4, 2013 at 11:39 am

  7. Great example of the Streisand effect.

    Larry Husten

    December 4, 2013 at 12:26 pm

  8. The LinkedIn profile if Hayempour makes interesting reading:

    http://www.linkedin.com/pub/benjamin-jacob-hayempour/56/ba9/972

    Even though he just started as graduate student, he is editor-in-chief of a journal: “Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Radiation Therapy” and is on the editoral board of three other journals:
    Journal of Neurological Disorders
    The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease & Parkinsonism
    Journal of Family Medicine and Medical Research

    mathbobby

    December 4, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    • Those journals are all published by OMICS Publishing Group, one of the publishers on my list.

      Jeffrey Beall

      December 4, 2013 at 1:58 pm

      • OMICS, as in “you will give me one beeeeelyun dollars for your libel” OMICS?

        Remember: you can’t say “all the credibility of Comic Sans” without omics.

        Ken

        December 4, 2013 at 11:29 pm

  9. Rushing, the co-author who was plagiarized (may we use the P-word now?), has written a paper on a closely related subject together with Hayempour and Alavi.

    http://www.federallegalpublications.com/journal-of-psychiatry-law/201208/jpl-2011-39-4-02-hayempour-role-of-neuroimaging-assessing-neuropsyc

    Rolf Degen

    December 4, 2013 at 1:17 pm

  10. Actually a simple online plagiarism scan on the introduction of the retracted paper returns similar phrases as those in the paper by Hayempour, Rushing, and Alavi (J Psychiatry Law. 2011 Winter; 39(4): 537–566.) that immediately precedes the mentioned plagiarized paper (J Psychiatry Law 2011; 39 (winter): 567–93). Is this just some infighting between (former) co-authors?

    Hans

    December 4, 2013 at 1:35 pm

  11. This lawyer either has a time machine or a long-distance mind reading machine. I find it so very impressive that he has such a precise knowledge of what RW are gonna write about his client.

    Lo Mein

    December 4, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    • His advanced knowledge of future events is understandable. He served as a practicing lawyer for just 1 year before opening his own real estate law firm in 2012. So obviously his superior intellect and precognition skills give him a legal advantage in this matter.

      Alan Bleiweiss

      December 4, 2013 at 2:08 pm

  12. Clearly the Aharonov letter is a SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation). Or a threat of one. Does it originate from a location with anti-SLAPP legislation? Would a formal complaint to the Bar association or licensing authority be appropriate?

    Dan Zabetakis

    December 4, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    • California has a “free speech” provision to petition the court for dismissal of a SLAPP complaint.
      It seems to me that this case could be a non-starter

      Scotus

      December 4, 2013 at 7:31 pm

  13. Well, well, well – take a look at another review article written by Mr. Hayempour (“Biological Imaging Instrumentation…” J Nucl Med Radiat Ther. 2013 Jul 20;4(3). doi:pii: 1000157). The section that compares SPECT with PET appears ever so similar to passages in a 2008 review by Rahmim A and Zaidi H in Nuclear Medicine Communications 29: 193-207.

    BellWiley

    December 4, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    • Looked up the last author on that publication… he’s at Thomas Jefferson… and publishing reviews on meditation and neurodegenerative disease, diet and cancer, in addition to lots of PET. He’s got a wikipedia page and a personal website.

      So what is a guy like that doing attaching his name to a review in a predatory journal with a first AND corresponding author who has no qualifications? I guess they’ve “published” together a few times… and why is Hayempour so often the corresponding author?

      Also, he says PhD from Oxford expected… he has three Masters… maybe someone should clue Oxford (and his formed co-authors) in… and crap, who the hell is running admissions at Oxford these days?

      Finally, who the heck is paying all these open access fees?!

      QAQ

      December 4, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    • This is a very good catch!

      CR

      December 5, 2013 at 6:18 am

  14. When is this kid’s TED talk?

    In all seriousness, he’s got a solo-author pub in a Beall listed publisher in a field he doesn’t even work in (history of neurosurgery). I sincerely hope that medical schools pubmed him and check deeply into his publication record before they accept him.

    The crazy part: he’s been affiliated with quality schools. It’s rather sad if no one has bothered to try and stop him.

    With that said, I am very confused by this: “Hayempour said he was merely an ‘undergraduate lab rat’ for Alavi and did nothing more than type the manuscript using text provided by others.”

    First, Hayempour is listed, at least by the letter symbol, as the corresponding author. Second, if all he did was type the manuscript using text provided by others, I don’t think that merits authorship, let alone correspondence, by most standards, although I can’t find the Springer rules on authorship.

    Second, if in fact, he typed a manuscript using text provided by others, who are the others? Was this original work of people who were not credited with authorship? Was this original text of the other author? I see a *very* serious problem here: Alavi is publishing with an untrained individual and then acts surprised when there is plagiarism! Yes, Hayempour presumably graduated 8th grade and should know that it’s against the rules to copy and paste. But Alavi should also not be signing his name to papers written by what amounts to a college kid with no formal training, unless he is willing to spend the time to mentor the kid and really walk him through the process of writing.

    It’s not always a PIs fault when an underlying cheats, but when there are as many flags are there are on google with this kid… I’m gonna blame the PI for lack of oversight as well.

    QAQ

    December 4, 2013 at 4:17 pm

  15. I do love these Sue, Grabbit And Runn type letters. I am thinking up setting up a fake law website and sending off bizarre lawyer’s letters to blogs at random so they can put them on their website.

    Having read Ben’s Clarendon Fund page, he certainly comes across as a ….ummmm… very ambitious young man.
    Still, he is a very young man, so probably all he needs is a bit of guidance in such matters and a gentle suggestion that perhaps he doesn’t need to be in such a hurry.
    I mean, I am sure he will turn into the type of person I intensely dislike, but there seems to be an inexhaustible supply of this type. So even he ends up being badly burned from the so-called Streisand effect, his ecological niche will be filled by another person with exactly the same failings.

    littlegreyrabbit

    December 4, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    • It’s nice to have people to feel superior to, eh?

      frank

      December 4, 2013 at 10:18 pm

      • Frank, I suffer from a surfeit of riches in that regard.

        Nonetheless, the internet can sometimes have a shaming effect out of all proportion to the severity of the “offending”.
        You don’t want to turn the blog or the comments section into a great clobbering machine against the inconsequential.
        Aquila non capit muscas

        littlegreyrabbit

        December 4, 2013 at 11:51 pm

        • Yes, you’re very rich indeed. I think there’s some intense dislike coming your way.

          frank

          December 5, 2013 at 12:37 am

          • LOL – coincidence or not, I am being “counseled” by management tomorrow regarding “communications” and “expectations”
            It should be interesting – if somewhat off-topic here.

            littlegreyrabbit

            December 5, 2013 at 2:00 am

  16. TO: Eyal Aharonov, real estate lawyer extraordinaire
    FROM: Retraction watch readers
    RE: Your client, Benjamin Hayempour, and threats of litigation

    As adept as you might be at property law, you clearly have little understanding of first amendment law (hint: truth is an absolute defense against defamation.) More important, you don’t seem to have a grasp of the law of unintended consequences.

    Had you not threatened some well-intentioned, honest, and hardworking journalists who are doing a service to science — and the public interest — with their blog, the questions raised about the conduct of your client, Benjamin Hayempour, probably would have faded very quickly into obscurity.

    Certainly you wouldn’t have spurred fans of the site to go back through Benjamin Hayempour’s published works to see whether his other writings were similarly “inspired” by other people’s work.

    We wouldn’t have been comparing this passage in “Should Antidepressants be our Choice of Treatment?”[1]

    Antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants, work by slowing or blocking the presynaptic neuron from taking back the released serotonin. As a result, more of this chemical is available in the synapse and the more likely the message is received, thereby reducing depression.

    With a Yahoo! Answer[2] that came out several years prior:

    Antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, and tricyclic antidepressants, work by slowing or blocking the sending neuron from taking back the released serotonin. In that way, more of this chemical is available in the synapse. The more of this neurotransmitter that is available, the more likely the message is received, and depression is reduced.

    Nor would we have found that this passage in “The Controversy of Conventional Psychiatric Diagnostics”[3]:

    Due to significant advances in the neuroscientific community, the brain has emerged as the central focus for studies of mental illness. Innovative scientific technologies have begun to weave a seamless picture of the way in which the brain influences biological and psychological factors on human thought, behavior and emotion in mental illnesses.

    looks like it was “inspired” by an old Surgeon General’s report on mental illness[4]:

    The brain has emerged as the central focus for studies of mental health and mental illness. New scientific disciplines, technologies, and insights have begun to weave a seamless picture of the way in which the brain mediates the influence of biological, psychological, and social factors on human thought, behavior, and emotion in health and in illness.

    We certainly wouldn’t have noticed that this section of “Clinical Medical Physics Methods in Radiotherapeutic Cancer Treatments”[5]:

    In the early 1960s it was proposed that the dose-response relationship for radiation induced malignancies would be bell-shaped, thereby indicating that the incidences would rise at low doses but fall at high doses. This dynamic of radiation induced damage could be explained by two mechanisms: 1) a dose-related increase in the proportion of normal cells that are transformed to a malignant state and 2) a dose-related decrease in the probability that transformed cells may survive the radiation exposure.

    fails to use quotation marks and properly cite its source, Radiobiology for the Radiologist[6]:

    In the 1960s, Gray proposed that the dose-response relationship for radiation-induced malignancies would be bell-shaped…. [t]he incidence would rise at low doses but fall at high doses. He explained this shape by the concurrent presence of two phenomena: 1) a “dose-related” increase in the proportion of normal cells that are transformed to a malignant state and 2) a dose-related decrease in the probability that transformed cells may survive the radiation exposure.

    which is particularly troubling as this passage in “Clinical Medical Physics Methods in Radiotherapeutic Cancer Treatments”[5]:

    If the body is uniformly irradiated, the probability of the occurrence of stochastic effects, cancer and hereditable effects is assumed to be proportional to the equivalent dose. It is well established that various organ tissues differ substantially in their sensitiveness to radiation induced stochastic effects [17]. For example, it is difficult to produce heritable effects by irradiation of the head or hands, yet the thyroid and breast are particularly susceptible to radiation-induced cancer.

    is miscited, giving no credit at all to Radiobiology for the Radiologist[7], which states:

    If the body is uniformly irradiated, the probability of the occurrence of stochastic effects (cancer and hereditary effects) is assumed to be proportional to the equivalent dose…. [I]t is well established that different tissues differ substantially in their sensitivities to radiation-induced stochastic effects. For example, it is difficult to produce heritable effects by irradiation of the head or hands, yet the thyroid and breast are particularly susceptible to radiation-induced cancer.

    We also wouldn’t have seen that this passage in yet another one of your client’s articles[8]:

    PET isotopes undergo radioactive decay via a process known as positron emission or positive beta decay. During this decay a positron and a neutrino are emitted from the radiotracer. The emitted positron travels through the tissue, until it collides with a random electron and both are annihilated.

    parallels one in a book[9] published in 2012.

    PET isotopes undergo radioactive decay via a process known as positron emission or positive beta decay. During this decay a positron and a neutrino are emitted from the radiotracer. The emitted positron travels through the tissue, until it collides with a random electron and both are annihilated (Figure 1.2).

    Of course, had we not found those passages, we certainly wouldn’t have known that some of these papers appear to have been supported by NIH grants. Unfortunately for your client, the involvement of PHS funding makes it pretty much incumbent upon us to report this conduct to ORI.

    In conclusion, I have to ask whether making legal threats against bloggers doing honest reporting really furthered the interests of your client.

    Yours truly,
    The Retraction Watch Peanut Gallery

    [1] http://www.omicsgroup.org/journals/should-antidepressants-be-our-choice-of-treatments-2327-4972.1000e106.php?aid=19487
    [2] http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20101127213057AA31iGC
    [3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3741067
    [4] http://profiles.nlm.nih.gov/ps/access/NNBBHV.ocr
    [5] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3676874
    [6] http://books.google.com/books?id=6HhjwRyqBzgC&pg=PA149
    [7] http://books.google.com/books?id=Vy8CSVcriUoC&pg=PT688
    [8] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3771659/
    [9] http://media.johnwiley.com.au/product_data/excerpt/93/04709769/0470976993.pdf

    C. S.

    December 4, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    • FTW. I’d love to know who thumbed that brilliant piece down…

      QAQ

      December 4, 2013 at 10:11 pm

      • Don’t &%*# with Retraction Watch.

        Scotus

        December 5, 2013 at 8:56 am

    • From the back row of the Gallery, I say “Well done.”

      D Cameron

      December 4, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    • I am rather sure I know who gave this fine piece the two negative rating.

      Rolf Degen

      December 5, 2013 at 4:04 am

    • This was brilliant

      CR

      December 5, 2013 at 6:22 am

    • Game, set and match.

    • This gets my vote for RW post of the year.

      Scotus

      December 5, 2013 at 10:53 am

    • to the real estate lawyers: we (the retraction watch readers) ain’t no hollaback, girl!

      Canadia

      December 5, 2013 at 11:30 am

      • Oh snap!

        The Iron Chemist

        December 5, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    • This raises a few issues, as some of these articles are also published on pubmed in addition to in OMICS journals.

      1) Will OMICS retract if the authors don’t all ask for it and/or the copyright owners don’t threaten?
      2) Could copyright owners send take-down notices to the NIH/pubmed?
      3) If the copyright owners don’t personally take action and send take-down notices…
      a) Would pubmed take down a non-retracted paper at the request of some or all authors?
      b) Would pubmed take down a non-retracted paper if clear and convincing evidence of plagiarism was presented by a non-copyright holder?
      c) Would pubmed issue it’s own expression of concern instead of taking down a paper?

      qaq

      December 6, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    • This is one example of why I come here – for the sheer entertainment value of RW, perhaps an unintended consequence but nonetheless why I am here. I’m a Popehat junkie who ended up here following one of Ken White’s excellent blog postings.

      Ernie Gordon

      December 6, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    • Wow, look what Hayempour has to say now:

      http://www.radiologydaily.com/daily/diagnostic-imaging/pet-paper-a-retraction-and-lawsuit-threats/

      “UPDATE: Hayempour contacted Radiology Daily to say that he “vehemently” denies that he said what Retraction Watch claims he said. Concerning the online comment about the five passages in other scientific papers, Hayempour said the first paper incorrectly listed him as co-author. The journal (which also lists him as a member of its editorial board) has removed that paper from its online archives. Regarding the other four papers, Hayempour said the passages in question were “not copied but paraphrased” and that citations were correctly done according to the “high standards” of the journals’ editorial boards.”

      The next thing would be to check every paper he has written with plagiarism software.

      Rolf Degen

      December 8, 2013 at 3:41 am

      • How does this kid have the audacity to argue that “citations were correctly done” when the passages whose ideas he appropriated weren’t cited? Also, since when does changing one word to a synonym, changing a comma set to a set of parenthesis and adding a hyphen constitute paraphrasing?

        QAQ

        December 8, 2013 at 7:42 pm

        • “It’s not plagiarism. Rather than just copying and pasting it, I copied and pasted it, then made it worse.”

          • “Hayempour said the first paper incorrectly listed him as co-author”. Well, the paper, which I still found at Google cache, listed him as the first, the corresponding author and as the copyright holder. The second author (there are only two), is Andrew B Newberg, a big shot in neurology according to Wikipedia. I can not imagine that he will put up with being suspected of plagiarism.

            http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:e9urCvWeIuEJ:www.omicsgroup.org/journals/should-antidepressants-be-our-choice-of-treatments-2327-4972.1000e106.php%3Faid%3D19487+&cd=20&hl=de&ct=clnk

            “The journal (which also lists him as a member of its editorial board) has removed that paper from its online archives.” I wonder if this counts as a retraction. In which case he would have earned another entry at RW. He might than be the first author who has instantly and independently retracted his own paper. Robert Trivers fought for years to have his paper retracted.

            Rolf Degen

            December 9, 2013 at 7:06 am

            • Suddenly I am absolutely sure I know who has written that mysterious paper: A guy called Ayden Jacob. A little mental detective work did the trick. If his life will be put into a movie, he should be played by Leonardo DiCaprio, who already gave that great performance as in impostor in “Catch me if you can!”

              Rolf Degen

              February 6, 2014 at 4:03 am

      • If everything’s properly cited, Mr. Hayempour won’t mind if we bring up a few more places where his citations are similarly “proper.” There are lots and lots of these. The number we point out is limited only by the amount of time we care to devote to the problem….

        (From Hayempour et al., J Psychiatry Law. 2011 Winter; 39(4): 537–566.) “Magnetization transfer imaging (MTI) is a technique that increases the contrast between tissues by detecting the exchange of protons between water and macromolecules. A radio frequency pulse is applied which selectively saturates the protons bound to macromolecules. MTI is an advantageous clinical technique as it provides information about tissue changes not detected with conventional T1- and T2-weighted MR images. A magnetization transfer ratio (MTR) represents a quantitative measure of the structural integrity of brain tissue. Any reductions in MTR are suggestive of neuropathology. Results obtained from the few studies conducted in TBI patients suggest that MTI is able to detect abnormalities not seen on traditional MRI scans (Wolff & Balaban, 1989).”

        Compare to:
        “Magnetization transfer imaging (MTI) is another technique that increases the contrast between tissues by exploiting the exchange of protons between water and macromolecules. When a radio frequency pulse is applied, it selectively saturates those protons that are bound to macromolecules.48 This technique provides information about tissue changes not detected with conventional T1- and T2-weighted MR images. The magnetization transfer ratio (MTR) represents a quantitative measure of the structural integrity of tissue, with reductions in MTR suggestive of neuropathology. Only a few studies have been conducted with TBI patients. Results suggest that MTI is able to detect abnormalities not seen on traditional MRI scans among TBI patients of mixed severity, though there is poor correlation with outcome to date.” (Belanger, et al., The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences 2007;19:5-20.) [Note 48 is to Wolff&Balaban]

        Also, we know Hayempour looked at Belanger, as we can tell from this improperly cited passage:
        Measuring blood flow is clinically an indirect measurement of brain metabolism. Diagnostically, blood flow is not necessarily equivalent to metabolism; although in healthy individuals the two are highly correlated, this relationship is less detectable post-TBI. Additionally, unlike PET, most applications of SPECT imaging require comparisons between a region of interest (ROI) and another brain region assumed to be free of injury. Given the potential diffuse nature of the TBI, this methodological requirement is complicated for TBI diagnosis (Belanger, Vanderploeg, Curtiss, & Warden, 2007).

        From Belanger:
        Measuring blood flow is considered an indirect gauge of brain metabolism. Also unlike PET, most applications of SPECT imaging require comparisons between an ROI and another brain region presumably free of injury. This methodological requirement is problematic for TBI work, given the potential diffuse nature of the injuries. It should further be noted that blood flow is not necessarily equivalent to metabolism. Although in healthy individuals the two are highly correlated, this relationship is less clear following TBI.

        Another problematic passage (Hayempour:)
        “For the analysis of PET images, the region of interest method has been widely used. However, this method can be difficult to reproduce. Therefore, interpretation of PET images using stereotactic brain coordinate systems, such as 3D stereotactic surface projections (3D-SSP) and statistical parametric mapping (SPM) would allow greater consistency in the reported results and make it easy to determine the spatial extent of the abnormal site on the brain map. However, there is a small difference between the 2 methods. In particular, 3D-SSP is used as a clinical application for diagnosis by detecting the distribution forms of abnormal regions on the brain surface, whereas SPM aims to indicate foci with a significant difference over the whole brain (Basu et al., 2011).” [Basu et al. mentions neither 3D-SSP nor SPM, and there does not appear to be a similar passage.]

        Compare with:
        “For the analysis of PET images, the region of interest (ROI) method has been widely used. However, problems are associated with this method, such as poor objectivity and low reproducibility of the results. Therefore, interpretation of PET images using stereotactic brain coordinate systems, such as 3D stereotactic surface projections (3D-SSP)11–13 and statistical parametric mapping (SPM),14,15 would allow greater consistency in the reported results and make it easy to determine the spatial extent of the abnormal site on the brain map. However, there is a small difference between the 2 methods. In particular, 3D-SSP is used as a clinical application for diagnosis by detecting the distribution forms of abnormal regions on the brain surface, whereas SPM aims to indicate foci with a significant difference over the whole brain.” (Nakashima, et al., AJNR February 2007 28: 236-242 )

        (Posted to PubPeer, as will all future findings.)

        C. S.

        December 9, 2013 at 11:36 am

        • Thanks C.S, damned good work again. I only chose one of his papers at random and tested it with Viper, which is not supposed to be the top product, but it was a fun experience anyway. I would love to have some easy Google plagiarism software and check this stuff.

          Rolf Degen

          December 9, 2013 at 12:26 pm

          • Thanks! It would be nice to have a good automated check, but I’ve never found any software as good as just plugging a few odd phrases into Google. Take a large enough fragment from any authoritative-sounding phrase (even the most blindingly stupid one, like https://www.google.com/search?q=“brain+has+emerged+as+the+central+focus” ) and voila.

            C. S.

            December 9, 2013 at 3:50 pm

          • I agree with C.S. There’s an art to spotting phrases that are ‘too good’ and tracking down the source (which may not be verbatim, sometimes word order is changed.)

            Neuroskeptic (@Neuro_Skeptic)

            December 10, 2013 at 5:56 am

          • You should try using the software called ithenticate. There are others as well. Each and every paper I publish goes through that software to check for similarities. Keep in mind that the games being played here of finding paraphrases which are cited to their sources are not the type that computer systems look for. You can email me for a list of great technologies that are free of charge to use to build a similarity report.

            B.J.

            December 14, 2013 at 1:12 am

          • Now this is very interesting. B.H. says “Each and every paper I publish goes through that software to check for similarities” If the paper that got retracted from “European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging” went through ithenticate bevor submission and that software gave no warning, this means the program is totally useless. Can anybody reproduce this, I have no access to that software. Google, help!

            Rolf Degen

            December 14, 2013 at 5:27 am

          • Did you check the fine print on Viper, Rolf? Sure, it’s free (and doesn’t find much). But if you upload something you assert that you have copyright on it and give it to them for free to sell on their sister paper mill site. http://www..com/viper-use-essay.php ” [...] 9 months after your scan, we will automatically add it to our student database and it will be published on one of our study sites to allow other students to use it as an example of how to write a good essay. ” This critter bites.

            Debora Weber-Wulff

            January 17, 2014 at 6:08 pm

            • This is extremely funny, Debora. Actually, I only tested works by Hayempour with Viper. It will be very interesting to see if this stuff sells wildly on the paper mill sites.

              Rolf Degen

              January 19, 2014 at 4:58 am

        • CS/Neuroskeptic: you’ve written that I do not cite the particular people or places you wish I were to cite. I cite the source which I saw the reports from. That is how we were taught at the graduate level. Ideas are filtered from paper to paper throughout history. Your job is to cite the paper from which you obtained this information. And in the cases you brought, I have done so. To claim on this forum that I never cite, that I continuously plagiarise is just nonsense. If anyone on this forum writes review articles, ever, than they would be aware that we report on what has been reported. Take 10 review articles published in the last month. Run an ithenticate plagiarism program on each of them – I guarantee you there will be at least a 20-40% similarity report. Those are commonalities that are done through reporting. My point is that if you go nit-picking for places of overlap, sure they exist. And in my works I need to be sharper at citing and paraphrasing, and I will. But to sit here bombarding my work with this is just unjust.

          The examples you bring are all cited with references at the end of the sentences/paragraph. I attribute them to the text in which they were found.
          Thanks for your post to PubPeer. Much appreciated.

          B.J.

          December 14, 2013 at 12:56 am

          • I read an abstract of a paper on pubmed. Then i should cite pubmed in my review. I should also cite google?

            KK

            December 14, 2013 at 6:17 pm

        • Mr. CS: it seems like you have a great amount of time to go through my works. I appreciate the critiques. I just want to point out that:
          A) the accusation of copying the above works is interesting in that if you read through the paper, the authors are cited, their papers are cited, and credit is given to them.
          B) you cite the source you obtained the information from. Belanger got his data from somewhere also, shall I go back to that source? And then back again?
          C) If you enjoy ripping apart others work so much, why not share a few of your own publications ( at least your name). I would be glad to run a full ithenticate scan on it and publish it to illustrate to you the commonalities that will be found.

          B.J.

          December 14, 2013 at 1:16 am

        • Thank you for your ongoing analysis of my published works. It is a great honor, CS. I would love to look at your publications as well. Please feel free to email me and I can send you a full report of every paper I have written, as well as a full similarity ithenticate report and every single line ever typed in those papers. You will clearly see citations to those points.
          Why do you not share some publications?
          Further, as listed above, there are citations, paraphrases, and summarizations. The citations may not be to your liking, or to the sources YOU found, but that is where I received the information from. I apologize if it is not to your liking.

          Great that you will sending this all to PubPeer, I am sure on that platform we will have the chance to really battle it out as all.

          ” as will all future findings” —> I am offering you to save the time by giving you the similarity reports on every single paper. That will show you every line and where it was taken from and how similar it is. IT will also show you that the 40% similarity report is within the context of Oxford’s standards for a paper.

          Let us take an example…. you need to say: When a radio frequency pulse is applied, it selectively saturates those protons that are bound to macromolecules…… that is a scientific FACT. Now, how else do you say it? Please do tell!! Or just post it to PubPeer! Because it is a fact, and it is cited. Not sure what else you want here, other than to waste more time ranting about similarities in my work with others.

          B.J.

          December 14, 2013 at 1:25 am

    • Gratulations C.S. you now got over 100 thumbs up; the 4 downs are probably from “the group”.

      Rolf Degen

      December 14, 2013 at 11:25 am

  17. My guess is that some real estate lawyers are used to using templates for things like leases so they produce boilerplate work. Some might even say that what they do is a form of plagiarism particularly if they do nothing original other than change the names in the boilerplate and bill their clients as if it’s original work. Hmm, doesn’t that sound like plagiarism?

    miamihanddoc

    December 5, 2013 at 8:07 am

  18. I’m a bit late to the party but – here’s more meat for the grinder.

    From: MCGUIRE et al 2008: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18187211

    “Molecular imaging studies in schizophrenia are consistent with the notion that dopamine dysregulation is a key pathophysiological feature of the disorder (Table 1). Thus PET and SPET studies indicate that schizophrenia is associated with increased pre-synaptic striatal dopamine synthesis and storage [15–18] and increased striatal release of dopamine following amphetamine administration [19,20] (Figure 1).

    [...]

    When healthy people take uncompetitive antagonists for the NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptor (such as PCP (phencyclidine) or ketamine) they develop transient positive and negative psychotic symptoms and cognitive impairments that resemble those of schizophrenia [31,32]. NMDA receptor blockade on GABAergic interneurons can lead to a disinhibition of glutamatergic projection neurons and elevated glutamate release [33].”

    From: HAYEMPOUR et al 2013 http://www.omicsonline.org/2161-0460/2161-0460-3-114.php?aid=15260

    “Molecular imaging studies in schizophrenia are consistent with the notion that dopamine abnormalities are a key pathophysiological feature of the disorder. Studies indicate that schizophrenia is associated with increased pre-synaptic striatal dopamine synthesis and storage [23,24] and increased striatal release of dopamine following amphetamine administration [25,26].

    [...]

    Krystal et al. and Newcomer et al. have reported that when healthy individuals take uncompetitive antagonists for the NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptor (such as PCP (phencyclidine) or ketamine) they develop transient positive and negative psychotic symptoms and cognitive impairments that resemble those of schizophrenia. This is significant because NMDA receptor blockade on GABAergic interneurons can lead to a disinhibition of glutamatergic projection neurons and elevated glutamate release.”

    Neuroskeptic (@Neuro_Skeptic)

    December 12, 2013 at 6:28 am

    • 2 points: 1) you are dealing with explaining a relationship between 2 entities. As in: X effects Y in method 1 and 2. How else would you say that X effects Y in those 2 methods? You need to say that the relationship exists. So you state the relationship, and cite where it was brought forth from. That is exactly what was done. 2) Take any introduction to a paper, a basic science research paper, and you will find the exact game you are playing here. I am not required to give the citation which you prefer. I am required to give over where I found this information from.

      And overall, this is not the reporting of scientific data from a particular experiment. This is simply stating a biological entity. If I write that the occipital lobe controls vision, is that now not cited properly because it is stated elsewhere?

      B.J.

      December 14, 2013 at 1:10 am

      • There’s plenty of other ways to phrase “Molecular imaging studies in schizophrenia are consistent with the notion that dopamine dysregulation is a key pathophysiological feature of the disorder”

        e.g. you could paraphrase it

        “Molecular imaging studies suggest that dysregulation of dopamine signalling is central to the pathophysiology feature of schizophrenia”

        or you could go one better a write it in new words with a little historical note as a bonus

        “Ever since the discovery that the first generation antipsychotics were all dopamine D2 receptor antagonists, it has been theorized that abnormalities in dopamine signalling underly the symptoms of schizophrenia. Modern molecular neuroimaging studies have provided evidence consist with this view…”

        I just did that in like 2 minutes.

        Neuroskeptic (@Neuro_Skeptic)

        December 14, 2013 at 7:41 am

    • NeuroSkeptic+RY: Image was redone and was adapted with consent. If you read any time of scientific literature ( NEJM, Nature, Cell) you would know that images can be used with consent, especially if adapted. Many of my papers have images from other papers that I have obtained expressed written consent to use their images in my review articles.

      B.J.

      December 14, 2013 at 1:18 am

      • I started my research career in 1985….

        KK

        December 14, 2013 at 2:39 am

        • Radibiology for the radiolist is the best resource for beginners.

          KK

          December 14, 2013 at 9:19 am

      • Images can be used with consent, but you still need to attribute them (unless it’s absolutely clear from the context) e.g. in this case “Figure 1, adapted from McGuire et al with kind permission of the authors and of Trends in Pharmacological Sciences”.

        Without attribution, it looks like you are claiming it as your own work (and copyright). That is misleading to readers.

        Neuroskeptic (@Neuro_Skeptic)

        December 14, 2013 at 6:08 am

      • Mr. Hayempour: I call you on this. Please provide a copy of your correspondence with Trends in Pharmacological Sciences granting you permission to reuse that figure.

        Kenrod

        December 14, 2013 at 11:27 am

  19. Ben Hayempour here. I wanted to let the waters settle a bit before I chimed in. As everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I have learned a great deal from reading all of your comments, and I appreciate the criticism and remarks as it has helped me learn from my mistakes and improve in the future.
    I’ve contemplated quite a bit to reply to any of this or not. And I have decided to reply because the accusations are going a bit far. To begin with, I want to state that never did I intent to involve the law with RW. I am opened to critcism, and it was fine by me to publicize a retracted work. I felt intimated by reporters and after seeking advice from my superiors, I asked a lawyer to speak with RW because I did not know what the appropriate method of communication would be.

    With that being said, wow the Streisand effect indeed!!! I want to say a few things to all of the commentators:

    1) I do appreciate the feedback you guys have all given here. I am but a 24 year old graduate student, and I have learned very well that the way in which I write science is not up to par with what needs to be. I have meticulously gone over my work, and I detect that it is imperative for me to be much more keen on citing things appropriately. This needs to be done on my part, and this will be done.

    2) It seems that people are angered by the fact that I included a lawyer in this. I want to tell you all that such was never my intention. I am completely for publicizing mistakes, because that is how we grow as a scientific community. It came off too strong on my part to follow the advice of a lawyer, but I did not know what to say when contacted by an unknown reporter.

    3) The comments by C.S. were very helpful. But Mr. C.S., to begin with:

    A) The paper about antidepressants that you attribute to me, well, I never wrote that paper and I never published that paper.

    B) I go through an Ithenticate computer program with the works I send to publishers. When writing a review article, you are essentially reporting what others have said. And those things need to be attributed to them. I average 30-60 references and citations per paper. My last 2 papers have 100+ citations. There are only so many ways you can say that PET isotopes react in a certain way etc. With each and every paper there will always be overlap with the papers you are reviewing; it is a review article. But, I will be more strict in how I cite passages. CS/Neuroskeptic: you’ve written that I do not cite the particular people or places you wish I were to cite. I cite the source which I saw the reports from. That is how we were taught at the graduate level. Ideas are filtered from paper to paper throughout history. Your job is to cite the paper from which you obtained this information. And in the cases you brought, I have done so. To claim on this forum that I never cite, that I continuously plagiarise is just nonsense. If anyone on this forum writes review articles, ever, than they would be aware that we report on what has been reported. Take 10 review articles published in the last month. Run an ithenticate plagiarism program on each of them – I guarantee you there will be at least a 20-40% similarity report. Those are commonalities that are done through reporting. My point is that if you go nit-picking for places of overlap, sure they exist. And in my works I need to be sharper at citing and paraphrasing, and I will. But to sit here bombarding my work with this is just unjust.

    C) In 2 of the cases that you mentioned, I should have included quotes in addition to just citing the example. I did not know this at the time. I have included a note to the journal and this will be edited and fixed.

    Overall, I do not want to battle on each and every example that was brought up above. My email address is benjacob@berkeley.edu and I invite all the commentators to email me about their critiques of my work.

    If this is a scientific community about work and improvement, I am standing in the open and saying thank you for the critiques, thank you for showing me where I went wrong, and I apologize if I offended anyone in my work. I request the simple opportunity to fix my mistakes, to work towards being a better writer with a stricter standard. That is all I ask for. Not to be bashed and crushed and nit picked here.

    I would appreciate it if the readers would understand that the errors made are being corrected, and that I have learned a lesson which will help me in the future.

    I am not writing this to be defensive, I am trying to be clear of that. I am writing this to thank you for your help, for your comments, and for your useful input as to how I can better as a writer. Whether you wish to continue pulling me apart is certainly your choice, but I would very much appreciate it if this would come to an end.

    Faithfully Yours,
    Ben Jacob.

    B.J.

    December 13, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    • “I request the simple opportunity to fix my mistakes, to work towards being a better writer with a stricter standard. That is all I ask for. Not to be bashed and crushed and nit picked here.”

      Ah, kiddo, I have encountered nothing on RW that I did not get in my undergraduate qualification exams, junior year of college.

      If you were not trained in this, perhaps you should re-take the courses.

      Allison (@DrStelling)

      December 13, 2013 at 11:11 pm

      • I appreciate that, Dr. Stelling. As well as your work at Duke. Once again, I am fixing my mistakes and will move forth from here. Thank you for your critiques.

        B.J.

        December 13, 2013 at 11:56 pm

    • Hi Benjamin, as to the paper on antidepressants – If you did not write it, who did? You are listed as first, corresponding author and copyright holder. There is only Andrew B Newberg called as co-author. Are you saying he wrote it? “The journal (which also lists him as a member of its editorial board) has removed that paper from its online archives.” Now, what is that? Did you retract the paper? But what inscrutable kind of retraction is that? Not one word about the reasons, not openly call it a retraction. And yes, you can put my books through ithenticate. And one last thing. What about that ugly letter from the lawyer?

      Rolf Degen

      December 14, 2013 at 2:59 am

      • Hey Mr. Deegan, I appreciate your comments. When I became aware that my name was on this paper, I contacted OMICS directly, and notified the ethical committee to get involved. Since then, we have received an emails stating: ” we apologize, there must have been an error in reshuffling within our department”

        Now, what the hec that means, I do not know, but it seems really odd to me, at the last. I never wrote such a paper, neither did Newberg ( from my knowledge). OMICS claims it was some mistake. If you email me, I can forward you the emails with them in which I bring to their attention this mistake, and their apologies for putting my name on a paper i Never had anything to do with. This was reported to not only OMICS journals, but also to PMC, the the ethics board of my institution.

        iN TERMS OF THE LAWYER – I WANT EVERYONE HERE TO READ THIS ONCE AND FOR ALL:
        Please understand that never did I intent or want to involve a lawyer, honest to god. Initially I spoke to RW openly and freely. There came a point where I felt extremely intimated and uncertain of the reporters because I felt the story was developing into a defamation of Abass Alavi, a mentor whom I respect a lot. I simply went to my superiors and said ” hey there’s a reporter asking me questions about Alavi and I don’t know what to say” I was advised to get a lawyer to speak to them on my behalf. I would NEVER threaten to sue anyone. It is not in my nature. At all. And I sincerely apologize for the development of this.
        To discuss this further, please feel free to call or email me and I would gratefully describe this to you at length. Thank you Mr. Degen.

        B.J.

        December 14, 2013 at 9:36 pm

        • Great, than that is the case of the mysterious paper out of the twilight zone. This will occupy generations of scientist , like the discussion of who wrote the works of Shakespeare. I do not believe a single word you say. Please Dr. Newberg, join the discussion! And the thing about the lawyer: Please do not make us believe that you did not read that horrible, ugly letter before he sent it to RW. You must retract that letter in public! And stop implying that Marcus and Ivan are liars!

          Rolf Degen

          December 15, 2013 at 2:18 am

          • A) I will state my opinion as far as I would like to according to the facts present.
            B) If you do not believe me, then I am done trying to have a rational discussion with you. If you would like SOLID PROOF of the correspondence I have had with OMICS about that stupid paper, then you can ask for me to send the email train to you and I gladly will.
            C) I never read that letter before they sent it to RW. Believe it or not, I couldn’t care less what YOU believe.
            D) Just because you are upset about the facts of reality does not mean you are correct.
            E) What else do you do with your time? Seems like you hang out writing on blogs all day.
            F) You may continue to go on believing all the things you would like about me. I said it once and I will say it again: I apologized for my actions and I will go forth with producing papers that are better cited and of higher ethical standards. If you can’t learn to allow someone to fix his mistakes and move on, that is an issue within your personality.
            G) Unlike Neuroskeptic, whom I have corresponded with at length regarding this, you do not seem to be the sharpest person on the block. I’ve seen you around other blogs just looking to go bash my name. Which is fine, go right ahead. The mistakes I made that have been pointed out to me have all been taken care of. I have gone back to the journals and submitted fixes which put the precise quotes that are necessary. There is nothing more to be said about it.
            H) It is really cute how protective you are of Marcus and Ivan. They wanted to report about a retraction on my paper, and they did, and that is just fine by me.

            Overall, this discussion is over. The take home message is that from the commentators who gave me critiques, I took them seriously, I apologized for what I did wrong, and I have taken the steps to fix it in the future. To those that threaten me that I will have to leave medicine forever, I just smile and will go on doing my work from the lessons I learned here.
            I appreciate all of your critiques, honestly, and this was a great conversation. You may continue to believe as you wish.

            B.J.

            December 15, 2013 at 3:03 am

    • One or two oversights just look like oversights.

      But, any claim that you have merely made mistakes in citation and quotation practices, or that you are not engaged in a pattern and practice of intentional fraud and deceit becomes utterly unbelievable.when you (1) have a true multitude of unattributed near verbatim citations in multiple papers, (2) claim as a graduate student to be editor-in-chief of a journal: “Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Radiation Therapy” and to be on the editoral board of three other journals: Journal of Neurological Disorders, The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease & Parkinsonism, and Journal of Family Medicine and Medical Research, and (3) you hire a rookie lawyer to write a half cocked and groundless cease and desist letter to a legitimate blog acting in good faith in response to a simple mention of a retraction.

      I’m sorry. You can’t simultaneously claim to be ignorant of professional citation and quotation standards and to be a graduate student at Oxford who is editor-in-chief of a scholarly journal who sits on the editorial board of three other journals and is a corresponding author for multiple articles. If you hold yourself out as an expert with an elite education, you are held to the standards that come with that territory.

      Quite simply, you have been outed as an irredeemable crook who is a repeat offender many times over. You are far too gone for rehabilitation. You need to leave the profession, immediately, and find a new career doing something where your credibility is not important. Multiple communications have been sent by readers of this blog to oversight bodies. A simple google search of your name will always, for the rest of your life, reveal your massive pattern and practice of misconduct and deceipt. It is a pity that all the years you spent earning degrees and all the money spent on that endeavor went to waste. But, they have been.

      You also need to learn the law of holes: When you are in one, stop digging. If you’d learned this earlier, you might have escaped this situation with a career still in tact.

      ohwilleke

      December 14, 2013 at 4:44 am

      • This very well may be a case of affluenza (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affluenza). Maybe it’ll stand up in court!

        Pablo Currea

        December 14, 2013 at 11:04 am

      • ohwilleke: Thank you, and I agree – I suspect that there is something pathological here…..

        Kenrod

        December 14, 2013 at 11:14 am

      • I read your blog. You call me a pathological liar, etc etc. And you feel that I am a crook? An offender many times over? Far too gone for rehabilitation? Your inhumane accusations of me are baseless. Let me make something very clear: you just stated that my life and my career is over. I beg to differ, and my actions will speak louder than my words. My work which has mistakes in it is being fixed at the moment, and my future work will be more meticulous. People fail in life, and then they get back up and work triple has hard to fix themselves.

        EVeryone else on this blog bashed me, critiqued me, etc. And that is fine and I respect their valuable opinions. But for your to tell me my life is over and i should figure out another life, I am sorry but you are extremely mistaken for thinking so. A waste of my life? Your blog that you wrote about me is pathetic. It sounds like you are just angry. My conduct of deceit, as you claim, is as such:
        I made a mistake, and I am fixing it. If you are unable to grasp that, that is your issue. But I will stand up, I will fix this , and I will move on. You can keep wasting your time bashing me and hoping ” my google search” shows my downfall. That is fine.
        I will continue doing science, volunteering in Africa and Israel for orphans, doing intense research, and making the world a better place. And you can continue writing blogs about how I screwed up in my writing.
        But I guarantee you this: I learn from my mistakes, and I will make them right, and then I will move on.

        As for your hideous remarks about me as a person on your blog, a personal attack, I feel bad for the morale you have in doing so.

        And let us get something very clear here: There is no lawsuit against RW. I was guided by my superiors to ask a lawyer to speak with them because I had no idea who they were or what they were attempting to get out of me. So please, save your prophetical visions for Bible time.

        B.J.

        December 14, 2013 at 9:27 pm

      • You know, I just read your blog again. You have some real nerve with those accusations. Everyone else on this blog is having a polite discussion with me, including Neuroskeptic. But for some reason you feel the need to take to the a very unprofessional level, wishing for my career to end because of this. You may go right ahead and quote , wrongfully, that I have 7 papers with issues. I have taken all the papers to higher boards and the mistakes which need to be made are being made; primarily, the ones which should have quotations.
        Your threat about me being a pathological liar and that I will fail in my academic career. I’ll send you a letter in 10 years about the lives I have touched, the people I have helped, and the good I have done in this world. You obviously have a deficiency in the manner by which you accuse and attempt to educate others.

        B.J.

        December 14, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    • BJH,

      I’ve written a few review papers myself and I’ve read hundreds.

      When I’m writing a review, I don’t copy and paste anything. I read all of the source material, understand it, make notes in my own words, take a blank document and write from scratch.

      I have never before known of a case where a review takes 50 or 100 words from a cited article and reproduces them – unless they’re put in quotation marks.

      Citing the source is not enough. Citation indicates that you’re referring to work or ideas first published elsewhere. But if you copy text, it needs to be in quotation marks (and cited) to indicate that it’s not your writing.

      If the overlapping text that C.S. and I highlighted had been in quotation marks, there would have been no problem at all. But as it is, what you published is misleading and indistinguishable from plagiarism.

      You say that “in 2 of the cases I should have included quotes”. That is a good start. But there are more than 2 instances of missing quotes here.

      My advice to you is to find all of the cases where quotes are missing from your papers and submit those as corrections to the journal(s). Don’t wait for us to point them out. Oh, and secondly, you might want to formally withdraw the legal threat.

      If you do that, it would show that you’re serious about trying to make amends.

      Neuroskeptic (@Neuro_Skeptic)

      December 14, 2013 at 5:37 am

      • NeuroSkeptic, thank you for your help and advice, as well as your email today. I took your suggestions very seriously, as you will in the future of my work. Thank you.

        B.J.

        December 14, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    • Hello,
      I must say I appreciate the guts of Mr Ben here. Both sides of them being exposed.
      If he is 24y-old indeed this can be a great result of bad tutoring and pressure from a bad department, although also means that this one is a complete adult who knows fairly well when telling good from bad. And now will also know much better considering the chances of being caught and exposed.
      These papers are published, which means they can be exposed today, next year, in 5 years, maybe by someone nasty in a big congress when you are old and standing by the microphone. And I feel there will be more material then. This is but one good reason to correct all published flaws, and avoid further issues.

      On review papers, I must quote someone who went through a similar exposure in my country. He also claimed being young and not knowing that quotes were necessary in his retracted review paper, shown below. His paper had about 90% of copy/paste from text of other authors, sometimes with slight modifications (like replacing the original citation in the copied part with a citation to one of his own papers). He also hinted by official letters that he might sue anyone talking about this in blogs, especially one called “Ciencia Brasil”. If you look into his case, you might be know how this sounds to other people. This retracted paper was “Forensic entomology and main challenges in Brazil”. He never corrected his other papers, and hasn’t published anything else in the field for 4 years. I have read several reviews, and I do not this this is as common as you prefer to assume. Maybe you should read better reviews.

      I really think that correcting everything and proving flawless and exemplary in future record might reveal someone who is much better than most authors involved in this blog, and I bet quite a few good people will be able to appreciate this. But I also fear this positive turn is unlikely to happen in the real world. Hope I will be proven wrong by Mr Ben? Good luck to all and keep up with good Science!

      CR

      December 14, 2013 at 7:14 am

      • Thank you very much CR. I will do my honest best to refocus and redo what has been done.

        B.J.

        December 14, 2013 at 9:17 pm

        • Oh, and please, if you manage to rebuild a strong record after correcting every flaw and recover the confidence of your (good) peers, please use your own experience and example to guide others and help improve general quality of scientific output in your field in the future. This would be a big good thing. Good luck and take it easy!

          CR

          December 15, 2013 at 4:46 am

    • Hi BJ,

      I’d like to toss a little advice in your direction… you said, “When writing a review article, you are essentially reporting what others have said.”

      I think most people would disagree with this statement. The purpose of review articles is typically to synthesize a body of literature in a novel way in order to contribute a unique intellectual perspective. Sure, you have to summarize the work of others and certain phases might be difficult to fully reword. But if you find yourself thinking about taking full paragraphs, even if you reword them, you’re doing it wrong. You shouldn’t be explaining something to readers that someone else has already explained in much the same way…if you feel the absolute need to, you should do a one sentence paraphrase and put (see Original Paper et al. ,2010). Rather, you should be using brief descriptors of research and providing your own expert commentary and synthesis. If someone else has already written an entire paragraph that comes to essentially the same conclusion that you do anywhere in the literature, there really is no need to reproduce it.

      I’d like to suggest that you perhaps try and slow down. You’re 24. That’s very young and pretty inexperienced. Don’t try to pad your resume with junk. Take it slowly and learn the right way. Spend a few years working diligently on a research project under the guidance of a mentor who has published extensively in high quality journals. Publish original research in a journal with a strong academic reputation. Then, after you’ve proven that you can contribute original research to the field, work closely with that expert to craft a thoughtful review that in the area in which you are published. Quality over quantity. Try submitting to a journal with a high impact factor or a known legacy of challenging peer review. As long as you associate yourself with predatory journals, you’re going to get attacked for it.

      QAQ

      QAQ

      December 14, 2013 at 5:06 pm

      • Thank you QAQ. I do appreciate the input and am definitely taking the comments here seriously to redo my work as best as I possibly can. I am slowing down, and will try to produce better quality work at a much slower pace. Thank you again.

        B.J.

        December 14, 2013 at 9:17 pm

  20. This is developing into a case of extreme naivety on the writing of scientific papers mixed with poor oversight (by senior co-authors and editors) and terrible guidance (by current “superiors”). Not sure which aspect is feeding which.

    omnologos

    December 15, 2013 at 12:49 am

  21. My farewell:
    Dear All RW Commentators,
    This has been a good journey for me. I want to thank, foremost, NeuroSkeptic for being someone that used his critiques to show me where I went wrong. I have taken all of the issues raised and accepted them by submitting letters to the journals to fix them. The missed quotations that caused a flurry here will all be fixed within 2.5-4.5 weeks. Thus, all the errors pointed out will be fixed. The main error is that when I used citations they were not enough, but rather I needed to use quotes as well, which is what I am doing.

    In addition, all future publications, which will be many, will be better cited. As stated earlier, my citations range on about 50 per article. But I will be careful to do better.

    For those here whom were just angry about the letter from the lawyer, I apologize to all of you for that incident. My apologies to you all are sincere and I hope we can move on from here.

    To those of you whom still feel the need to slander and defame me, I wish you all the best in all of your academic and personal goals.

    Unlike the threats posed by Andrew Oh-Willeke, which make the funny claim that i am a con artist, I would like to thank you all, honestly, for the opportunity to become a better scientist in the future.

    Andrew Oh Wileke, to call me a scammer, con artist and pathological wtvr on your blog is just low. Never here did I say such harsh things to anyone, and the things you accuse me of on your blog illustrate your morale.

    Overall, thank you guys, It has been a pleasure learning from all of you, and I hope you do read my next publications with a smile, knowing that the quotation marks are from the learning experience I had here.

    Science is a learning process. And if you guys are true to the science, and to just bashing me, then you will walk away feeling accomplished knowing that you changed something for the better here. And for those you that does not suffice for, well then, I wish you luck in therapy.

    A special thanks to CS and NeuroSkeptic.
    Take care, farewell, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year to you all, and may you all be successful and prosperous in your work.

    – Ben Jacob

    B.J.

    December 15, 2013 at 3:22 am

    • I’m sorry I’m late to the party here. I didn’t know that Mr. Hayempour had joined the thread.

      I’ll just state my opinion: I think that this is more than just missed citations or innocent “mistakes.” To me, this is a pattern of theft. It seems to me that he is making your career by creating pastiches of other people’s work and passing them on as his own. Often Mr. Hayempour exhibits a poor understanding of what he’s taking.

      To me, the real story is that articles of such an obviously low standard get published and republished. Mr. Hayempour only himself became news through his reaction.

      If you’re still listening, Mr. Hayempour: my sincere advice to you is to stop and get help. You clearly want a career in the sciences. You’re young, and there’s still time for redemption. Your reaction to being found out is making things worse, though, and if you keep going in this direction, you’re going to destroy any chances of a scientific career before it really gets going.

      C. S.

      December 18, 2013 at 10:21 am

  22. A case from the field of physical sciences.
    In Dec. 2007, a certain “G. Forst” suddenly popped out in the ArXiv database with a preprint criticizing the spacecraft-based mission Gravity Probe B (GP-B) aimed to measure a tiny effect predicted by the Einstein’s general theory of relativity known as frame-dragging. A direct competitor of such a mission was Ignazio Ciufolini with his analysis of the data of the geodetic satellites of the LAGEOS family. “G. Forst”, who ever neither posted any pre-print on ArXiv nor published any peer-reviewed article elsewhere, declared an affiliation “FGP Behrenstr. 1 10117 Berlin” which could not be found anywhere on the Internet. In Jan. 2008, the ArXiv mdoerators retracted this paper by writing the following comment: ” This submission has been removed because ‘G.Forst’ is a pseudonym of a physicist based in Italy who is unwilling to submit articles under his own name. This is in explicit violation of arXiv policies.
    Roughly similar content, contrasting the relative merits of the LAGEOS and GP-B measurements of the frame-dragging effect, can be found in pp. 43–45 of: [Ciufolini, Ignazio, Dragging of inertial frames, Nature, Volume 449, Issue 7158, pp. 41-47 (2007) ].”. Despite such a retraction, Ignazio Ciufolini was the sole in the scientific community to cite the Forst’s paper in some talks and presentations given at international conferences in 2008. After about 5 years, in September 2013, the ArXiv moderators altered their original comment as follows: ” This submission has been removed because ‘G.Forst’ is a pseudonym of Ignazio Ciufolini, who repeatedly submits inappropriate articles under pseudonyms. This is in explicit violation of arXiv policies. Roughly similar content, contrasting the relative merits of the LAGEOS and GP-B measurements of the frame-dragging effect, can be found in pp. 43–45 of: [Ciufolini, Ignazio, Dragging of inertial frames, Nature, Volume 449, Issue 7158, pp. 41-47 (2007) ].”. On 19 December 2013, the ArXiv moderators made a further aleration of their comment which now is: “This submission has been removed because ‘G.Forst’ is a pseudonym. This is an explicit violation of arXiv policies “. On 19 December 2013, in an electronic communication to me following an inquiry of mine about when they made their first alteration, the ArXiv moderators wrote: ” The original comment on arXiv:0712.3934v2 was modified in September 2013.
    Neither the original comment or the modified one reflects current arXiv policy. We have altered the comment accordingly. ” Actually, there is not trace of such an alleged sudden change in the ArXiv policy, which does not even treat similar cases at all. Screenshots supporting my statements can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/GPBframedraggingArXivCiufolini and here: http://gravityprobebpseudonyms.wordpress.com/

    Lorenzo Iorio

    December 23, 2013 at 7:50 pm

  23. Oh man, I doubt anyone will look at this thread ever again… but… I wanted to see if our friend followed up on his correction promises… and I googled him. Now this exists:

    http://www.benjacobhayempourmedtech.com/publications-of-ben-jacob-hayempour.html

    I don’t remember seeing this before… of course it lists a retracted publication first without a retraction notice… the blog portion, however, seems to be very recently updated. Also, a quick omics search suggests no corrections thus far, at least not any done in an obvious and appropriate way.

    QAQ

    December 30, 2013 at 11:21 am

  24. I will note as follow up to this story that Benjamin Hayempour filed a DMCA takedown notice today alleging copyright violation that has resulted in my December 14, 2013 post as my blog Wash Park Prophet (http://washparkprophet.blogspo… being taken down.

    I have filed a counterclaim to have it reinstated, as my own post does not contain any copyrighted material (not even allegedly plagiarized passages), and instead merely contains citations to journal articles of his allegedly containing plagiarized material and a link to comments to an internet post at Retraction Watch where the analysis showing that those journal articles contained plagiarized materials upon which I relied in condemning him were located. Of course, even if it did contain the allegedly plagiarized material as this post does, it would still be protected by the fair use exception in federal copyright law.

    His filing of the DMCA takedown notice, of course, is entirely improper, as the only permissible basis for filing one is a copyright violation (and in any case, copyright violation was the basis upon which he relied when filing it). He had to make a knowingly false statement to file it, as he was well aware that my post contained no copyrighted material. His allegations that he has been defamed, as he has claimed in e-mails to me (which I considered informed by my knowledge of the field as a lawyer and found to be baseless), are not a basis for a DMCA takedown notice.

    ohwilleke

    January 31, 2014 at 3:03 pm

  25. I have found the article and comments very interesting.

    On reading Mr. Hayempour’s comments it does seem that he genuinely did not know the correct way to cite a passage from someone else’s work. Also, some credit must be given to him for engaging in the discussion.

    I do however find it worrying that he thinks it is normal to copy and paste text from one article into another in the first place. I have read hundreds of papers and have rarely seen it. When it does occur, it is limited to a line or two of text and made very clear that is it taken from another author, usually not just by citation and quotes but in the text body itself (E.g. As previously describe by such and such et al. [ref], “blah blah blah”). Even then, this is usually only done when you want to make a comment on someone else work and relate your results to theirs.

    I do not reuse “general” text even when the quoted words would be from another of my articles (self-plagiarism). Often related papers, conference abstracts, grant proposals etc. need similar introductions and every time I think, damn, how many times am I going to have to rewrite this paragraph… but rewrite it I do. To copy and paste someone else’s general introduction or methodology is unthinkable.

    But like I said, I do believe Mr. Hayempour did this without the knowledge of what he was doing was incorrect, unusual and unethical. This brings me to what I think is truly worrying… the quality of the training given to him. When you see institutions like Oxford and Berkley on a CV, you expect a certain amount of knowledge and quality. Add into this the fact he is on editorial boards (unbelievable!!!), it is all very worrying for his field of science. I would be very very critical of the journals he is on the board for and if I was in that field myself, I would not publish in them until they made a comment on this matter. How can one of their editorial board not know good practice! (I should point out that his being a co-editor is a fact I have only read on here and not checked myself).

    C J

    February 3, 2014 at 3:22 am


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