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Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Miłość at first sight: A retraction notice worth emulating from Poland

with 13 comments

j polish cimacIf we had a Retraction Watch headquarters (other than the diner where we occasionally meet for breakfast), we would have had to have closed up early today, because we both swooned when we saw a retraction notice from the Journal of Polish CIMAC this morning.

The notice, signed by the journal’s editor-in-chief Jerzy Girtler, of Gdansk University of Technology, reads:

RETRACTION NOTE

to the paper titled “Stress in a salvage faying face of a submarine while mooring a recovery vessel” by Lesław Kyzioł Ph.D. Eng., Assocpaperiate Professor of Gdynia Maritime University, published in “Journal of POLISH CIMAC ” vol 7 , no 2, 2012 on pages 97-105, which has been recognized as academic plagiarism.

The paper under the above title has been written through translation of some parts of the thesis titled “Influence of the geometry of Kobben submarine mating face on the stress” by Mark Bohn, M.Sc. Eng. The thesis was made at the Institute of Ship Construction and Exploitation under the leadership of promotor Bogdan Szturomski, Ph.D. Eng. and defended in February 2012 at the Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Faculty of the Polish Naval Academy in Gdynia. All drawings, tables and images used in the paper were taken from the said thesis without any reference thereto in the list of references. The name of the author as well as the name of the promotor were ignored.

In particular, the following can be found:

1. Figure 3 on page 10 in the thesis was inserted into the paper as Figure 1 on page 98 in the journal,
2. Figure 4 on page 12 in the thesis was inserted into the paper as Figure 2 on page 98 in the journal,
3. Figure 5 on page 13 in the thesis was inserted into the paper as Image 3 on page 98 in the journal,
4. Figure 7 on page 14 in the thesis was inserted into the paper as Figure 5 on page 99 in the journal,
5. Figure 8 on page 15 in the thesis was inserted into the paper as Figure 6 on page 99 in the journal,
6. Figure 9 on page 16 in the thesis was inserted into the paper as Figure 4 on page 99 in the journal,
7. Table 2 on page 17 in the thesis was inserted into the paper as Table 1 on page 99 in the journal,
8. Figure 20 on page 26 in the thesis was inserted into the paper as Figure 7 on page 100 in the journal,
9. Equations 19, 20, 21 and 22 on pages 32 and 33 in the thesis were inserted into the paper as equations 1, 2, 3, 4 on pages 100 and 101 in the journal,
10. Figure 36 on page 41 in the thesis was inserted into the paper as Figure 8 on page 101 in the journal,
11. Equations 23, 24 and 25 on page 41 and equations 26 and 27 on page 42 in the thesis were inserted into the paper as equation 5 and its description, on page 102 in the journal,
12. Table 5 on page 43 in the thesis was inserted into the paper as Table 2 on page 102 in the journal,
13. Figure 78 on page 67 in the thesis was inserted into the paper as Figure 9 on page 103 in the journal,
14. Figure 80 on page 68 in the thesis was inserted into the paper as Figure 10 on page 103 in the journal,
15. Table 7 on page 69 in the thesis was inserted into the paper as Table 3 on page 103 in the journal,
16. Figure 83 on page 70 in the thesis was inserted into the paper as Figure 11 on page 104 in the journal,
17. Figure 85 on page 71 in the thesis was inserted into the paper as Figure 12 on page 104 in the journal.
18. Table 8 on page 72 in the thesis was inserted into the paper as Table 4 on page 104 in the journal.
19. Almost the entire text of the paper (excluding the abstract and the 2nd paragraph in the introduction) is a partial and selective translation of the thesis.

Lesław Kyzioł Ph.D. Eng. Associate Professor of the Gdynia Maritime University, was familiarize with and in possession of the thesis, because was its reviewer for the defense of master’s degree by Marek Bohn, however had not contributed earlier to its elaboration nor writing.

These facts have been established and confirmed by the Editorial Board of “Journal of ENGLISH CIMAC, consisting of:

  • Jerzy Girtler Prof. Ph.D. D.Sc. Eng., Full Professor of Gdansk University of Technology – Editor-in-Chief,
  • Jacek Rudnicki, Ph.D. Eng. – Content Editor
  • Ryszard Zadrąg, Ph.D. Eng. – Managing Editor,
  • Patrycja Puzdrowska M.Sc. Eng. – Member of Editorial Board.

The first three members of Editorial Board have got respective education in science and academic qualifications that entitle them to evaluate works in the field of technical sciences and in the branch of machine construction and operation, thus in these domains of knowledge, which both the paper and the thesis do concern.

The presented opinion saying that the investigated paper is academic plagiarism which violates scientific decency, has been formulated in consideration of statements submitted by:

1) thesis promotor Bogdan Szturomski, Ph.D. Eng., who revealed evidences proving that Lesław Kyzioł Ph.D. Eng., Associate Professor of Gdynia Maritime University infringed the copyright of Marek Bohn,

2) attorney Małgorzata Necel-Gizowska, who in letter dated 30 January 2014, on behalf of Lesław Kyzioł Ph.D. Eng,. Associate Professor of Gdynia Maritime University, negated that he had infringed the copyright of Marek Bohn.

The Editorial Board also took into account the Protocol of 14 November 2013 that provides position of the Commission of the Polish Naval Academy in Gdynia established by Rector–Superintendent of the Polish Naval Academy on November 6, 2013 to carry out a technical and comparative analysis of the paper titled ” Stress in a salvage faying face of a submarine while mooring a recovery vessel ” by Associate Professor Lesław Kyzioł Ph.D. Eng., and the thesis by Mark Bohn, M.Sc. Eng. A scanned copy of the Protocol (in Polish) is shown on the next page.

The Editorial Board’s decision of paper retraction is consistent with the request to retract this paper, expressed by Rector–Superintendent of the Polish Naval Academy, Rear Admiral Czeslaw Dyrcz, PhD. Eng in the letter of 06.02.2014 addressed to Editor-in-Chief of “Journal of POLISH CIMAC”, as a result of findings made by the Commission of the Polish Naval Academy in Gdynia.

The Editorial Board of “Journal of POLISH CIMAC” apologizes all its readers for this outrageous act of breach of academic credibility. Neither the Editorial Board’s members nor the reviewers disposed of a copy of the thesis. We also do hope that after invalidation of the dishonest paper titled “Stress in a salvage faying face of a submarine while mooring a recovery vessel” by Associate Professor Lesław Kyzioł, the true author of this work, Mark Bohn, M.Sc. Eng. will take the opportunity of publishing results of his work. Our journal is open to him.

Now that’s a retraction notice!

Hat tip: Witold Proskura

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Written by Ivan Oransky

May 20, 2014 at 12:24 pm

13 Responses

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  1. Let me get this straight. An outside committee member for a Master’s thesis takes the work and publishes as his own? Wow. That’s a low even by academic standards.

    DanZ

    Dan Zabetakis

    May 20, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    • Let this type of fully transparent, fully explanatory and fully open retraction notice serve as an example, to Elsevier Ltd., Springer, Wiley-Blackwell and Taylor and Francis. Read and learn, because this is the minimum that academics should request, or better demand, from a retraction notice. Not the current lawyer-doctored garbage that is always pumped out. The world’s largest publishers should feel ashamed that a small, local Polish journal had the ethics and editorial transparency to tell the story straight, and complete. If ever there was a model retraction notice, then this could certainly fall within that category.

      JATdS

      May 20, 2014 at 2:24 pm

  2. That is a submarine full of plagiarism that sinks and stinks

    Aqui Les Brinco

    May 20, 2014 at 2:42 pm

  3. Powerful stuff. Even though English is not the primary language as is obvious but communicated so well by the editor and is clear what transpired. Neat and professional.

    Yoso

    May 20, 2014 at 3:04 pm

  4. “Let this type of fully transparent, fully explanatory and fully open retraction notice serve as an example,”

    Actually, I don’t agree that this is a particularly good example of a retraction notice. It is more of the results of an investigation. It gives way too much information and spends a lot of words justifying the retraction rather than just stating the facts.

    It would be valuable top publish the full analysis separately, but like all good writing, a retraction notice should be concise.

    Dan Zabetakis

    May 20, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    • Perhaps retraction notices could be split into abstracts and justifications?

      QAQ

      May 20, 2014 at 6:03 pm

      • In which case the opening paragraph serves nicely as the abstract.

        A masterpiece.

        Prof Darrel Francis

        May 20, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    • You’re just being contrarian. If you don’t want to read the whole thing, don’t! At least you have the option.

      • “You’re just being contrarian.”

        Not at all. I am taking a measured rational view of what makes a good retraction notice. More words does not guarantee a better manuscript. I expect everyone here to accept that.

        In particular that long list of “this figure is that figure” is piddling, unhelpful and necessary. It already says that all data in the paper is from the thesis. If I was to review a paper that presented data in this verbose form, I would reject it.

        We need to know two things in a retraction: 1) Who is retracting the paper? (authors, editor, investigatory committee?); and 2) what is the basis for the retraction? Only enough detail should be included to illuminate the nature of the problem.

        In no way should this be considered a model retraction.

        Dan Zabetakis

        May 21, 2014 at 10:38 am

        • Dan, elsewhere on RW*, you claim: “I’m not happy about this example. I think once an article is published it should only be retracted if there are sufficient grounds to warrant a retraction and then those grounds should be stated.” and “I think it should be bad enough to retract in the usual way, with explanation.”

          Do you sometimes favor detailed explanations, sometimes not?

          I wish to rebut my comment and respond to your criticisms of my suggestions. I did not use the conjunction “the”, I used the conjunction “an”. In other words, I said it is a model retraction, not the model retraction.

          I think the retraction notice is not perfect, possibly because it was written by non-native English speakers, but even so, the following aspects are excellent:
          a) it lists the exact reasons why this is an academic transgression, with proof.
          b) it indicates all the parties involved with reaching this decision, with proof.
          c) it lists, in detail, the exact figures and/or text that overlap in source and published text, with proof.

          Although it is a little verbose, and could have had a better structure, even with some sub-titles, to help with clarity, it is a rock solid retraction notice, and as good and as complete as a retraction notice can be (at least I feel).

          Dan, could you provide some examples of what you consider model notices? Thanks.

          * http://retractionwatch.com/2013/05/15/editor-inadvertently-spurns-reviewers-retraction-ensues/

          JATdS

          May 21, 2014 at 2:29 pm

          • “Do you sometimes favor detailed explanations, sometimes not?”

            I favor sufficient detail to know what the problem was, and no more.

            The more I look at this retraction, the less adequate it appears.

            For example, two critical pieces of information are not stated until the next-to-last paragraph: 1) That the editorial board is the entity retracting the paper, and 2) The retraction was requested by the Superintendent of the Naval Academy after an internal investigation.

            A third critical piece of information, that the author denies the allegation of plagiarism, is hidden in the middle somewhere. The only important fact that is presented up front is that this case involves plagiarism.

            A superior notice would read something like this:

            “The editorial board is retracting paper X because it has been found to plagiarize source Q. A retraction was originally requested by Superintendent N after an internal investigation. Author of X was invited to reply and denies the allegation. We apologize to the author of Q and to our readers.” They could add one or at most two sentences laying out the extent of copying.

            Dan Zabetakis

            May 21, 2014 at 4:18 pm

  5. Scientific papers are often loaded with very fine details. So I don’t understand why this should not be the norm for a retraction note. The retracted paper can still be downloaded, see http://www.polishcimac.pl/Papers2/2012/011.pdf Once again, a model how to indicate that the paper is retracted.

    “We also hope that (…) the true author of this work (..). will take the opportunity of publishing results of his work. Our journal is open to him.” Brilliant last sentence of the retraction note.

    Klaas van Dijk

    May 21, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    • Which prompts the riddle :

      when is it ok and not considered plagiarism or redundant publication to republish exact same peer-reviewed paper, even with same title, in the same language and even in the same journal?

      A: when the second publication is by the real author(s)

      Albert Donnay

      May 24, 2014 at 3:25 pm


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