Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Doing the right thing: Journal clears unknowing author of plagiarism

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ausjforsciHere’s a nice case of a journal taking pains to clear the name of an author.

Last summer we wrote about a case of plagiarism involving two authors from India who’d published a paper on biometrics in the Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences.

Now — seven months later, we’ll note — one of those authors has gotten a reprieve. A notice in the journal states that the researcher had nothing to do with the misconduct.

At the time, the notice for the paper, “Multiple facial soft biometrics for person identification system,” read:

This action constitutes a breach of warranties made by the authors with respect to originality and provenance. We note we received, peer-reviewed, accepted, and published the article in good faith based on these warranties, and censure this action accordingly. The article has been removed to comply with the wishes of the injured parties.

According to the new statement, only the first author was to blame:

We note with respect to our Statement of Retraction of the article “Multiple facial soft biometrics for person identification system” by A. Prakash and Rajeswari Mukesh Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00450618.2013.788680 that Professor Dr Rajeswari Mukesh has subsequently provided written evidence (including a statement and apology from A. Prakash) that she was not aware that her name had been included by A. Prakash as a co-author on the article, nor had she any other association with or responsibility for the article, which was solely A. Prakash’s.

Therefore we are pleased to be able to correct the record, and absolve Professor Dr Rajeswari Mukesh from the sanction applied to the article.

Editors and Publishers of Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences

We applaud the journal for setting the record straight. But we’re a little curious why it took so long. After all, immediately after our first post on this paper we heard from Mukesh, who insisted she had nothing to do with the article. (We also heard from Prakash, who asked us to remove his name from the post, too, which we declined to do.)

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