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Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Duplication in physics journal questions key tenet of quantum mechanics

with 2 comments

cmpHere’s a physics question: How is it possible to be in two places at the same time?

Answer: Submit the same manuscript twice and hope the editors forget to feed Schrödinger’s cat.

The journal Condensed Matter Physics is retracting a 2013 paper by a Ukrainian scientist who’d published essentially the same paper seven years earlier.The article was titled “On the origin of power-law distributions in systems with constrained phase space,” and was written by an E.V. Vakarin, of the Institute for Condensed Matter Physics, in Lviv UMR 7575 LECA ENSCP-UPMC-CNRS.

According to the abstract:

Behavior of condensed matter systems deviating from the standard equilibrium conditions is discussed. Statistical properties of coupled dynamic-stochastic systems are studied within a combination of the maximum information principle and the superstatistical approach. The conditions at which the Shannon entropy functional leads to a power-law statistics are investigated. It is demonstrated that, from a quite general point of view, the power-law dependencies may appear as a consequence of “global” constraints restricting both the dynamic phase space and the stochastic fluctuations. As a result, at sufficiently long observation times, the dynamic counterpart is driven into a non-equilibrium steady state whose deviation from the usual exponential statistics is given by the distance from the conventional equilibrium.

That passage must have sounded familiar to the editors of Physical Review E, who in 2006 had published a paper by Vakarin, “Maximum entropy approach to power-law distributions in coupled dynamic-stochastic systems.” Its abstract:

Statistical properties of coupled dynamic-stochastic systems are studied within a combination of the maximum information principle and the superstatistical approach. The conditions at which the Shannon entropy functional leads to power-law statistics are investigated. It is demonstrated that, from a quite general point of view, the power-law dependencies may appear as a consequence of “global” constraints restricting both the dynamic phase space and the stochastic fluctuations. As a result, at sufficiently long observation times the dynamic counterpart is driven into a nonequilibrium steady state whose deviation from the usual exponential statistics is given by the distance from the conventional equilibrium.

Which precipitated this notice from Condensed Matter Physics:

The article Condens.MatterPhys., 2013, vol.16, 43802(doi:10.5488/CMP.16.43802) has been retracted by the decision of the Editorial Board. There is a significant overlap with an article: Phys.Rev. E, 2006,Vol.74, 036120 (doi:10.1103/PhysRevE.74.036120). Appologies [sic] are offered to readers of the journal that this was not detected during the submission process.

The paper has yet to be cited, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Now, we may not understand quantum physics, but we know how to use Google. And we found the duplicated text in less time than it takes to write e=mc squared. C’mon, gang. This ain’t rocket science.

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2 Responses

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  1. I am not sure if the institutions are correct. The journal Condens. Matter Phys. is published by the Institute of Condensed Matter Physics at the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. The author in question, E. V. Vakarin, seems to be at this French institution: UMR 7575 LECA ENSCP-UPMC-CNRS.

    Two typos: last paragraph, “write” instead of “wrote”, and first paragraph “how is [it] possible”.

    Dude

    April 2, 2014 at 4:00 pm


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