Duplication retraction appears for ‘NASA Patriot Boy’ turned Indian scandal source

P.V. Arun, via Facebook
P.V. Arun, via Facebook

A computer scientist in India has lost a 2013 paper on satellite imaging because he submitted — and published — essentially the same article three times.

The researcher, P.V. Arun, came to the attention of the Indian media last year after it emerged that he had lied about winning a post with NASA and other aspects of his resume. According to the News Minute, Arun boasted that he:

… had just been recruited by the NASA, the American space organization. In August 2012, news reports appeared in Malayalam newspapers and TV channels with visuals of young people celebrating this success of one of their own. Then, there was no looking back for P.V. Arun from Manimala in Kerala.

He was headline material. Arun claimed NASA had accepted him as a research scientist and he had been admitted simultaneously for a doctoral thesis by the famous scientist Barbara Liskov, faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in January 2013.

One paper even called Arun the “Patriot NASA boy”:

Arun P.V. even received an invite to the Prime Minister’s home after Narendra Modi learnt how the 26-year-old from Kottayam had declined to give up his Indian citizenship when Nasa offered him a job in January last year.

That offer, and much of Arun’s accomplishments, turned out to have been illusory. Again, from the News Minute:

Every single detail in these reports was a lie. NASA never recruited Arun. NASA never made any concession for him. There was no NASA delegation meeting in Delhi and he never met Modi.

So how did this 27-year-old from Kerala manage this hoax for two years undetected and how did so many media houses report about him?

Even as Arun was enjoying the limelight, some people started asking questions.  His claims were first questioned on a Google Group discussion. Another person who doubted Arun’s claims was Jayanath Jayanthan, the Superintendent of Police, Telecommunications, Kerala.

Jayanath also is in charge of a social media group called Netizen police, an initiative by the Kerala police. When he shared Arun’s story with some people on the group, someone at MIT said it was a hoax.

The straw that broke the retraction camel’s back was “An intelligent approach towards automatic shape modelling and object extraction from satellite images using cellular automata based algorithm,” which appeared in Geocarto International in 2013.

According to the retraction notice:

The following article has been retracted from publication in the Taylor & Francis journal Geocarto International:

P.V. Arun, An intelligent approach towards automatic shape modelling and object extraction from satellite images using cellular automata based algorithm,

Geocarto International, 2013, 29(6): 628–638, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10106049.2013.826738. Version of Record published online 13 November 2013.

We, the Editors and Publishers of Geocarto International, are retracting the following article:

P.V. Arun, An intelligent approach towards automatic shape modelling and object extraction from satellite images using cellular automata based algorithm, Geocarto International, 29(6): 628–638, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10106049.2013.826738.

We are now aware of substantially similar versions of this article that were concurrently submitted to – and published in – GIScience & Remote Sensing and Egyptian Journal of Remote Sensing and Space Sciences:

P.V. Arun, S.K. Katiyar, An intelligent approach towards automatic shape modelling and object extraction from satellite images using cellular automata-based algorithms, GIScience & Remote Sensing, 2013, 50(3), 337–348.

P.V. Arun, S.K. Katiyar, An evolutionary computing frame work toward object extraction from satellite images, The Egyptian Journal of Remote Sensing and Space Sciences, 2013, 16, 163–169.

This action constitutes a breach of warranties made by the authors with respect to originality and of our policy on publishing ethics and integrity. We note that we received, peer-reviewed, accepted, and published the article in good faith based on these warranties, and censure this action. The retracted article will remain online to maintain the scholarly record, but it will be digitally watermarked on each page as retracted.

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

7 thoughts on “Duplication retraction appears for ‘NASA Patriot Boy’ turned Indian scandal source”

    1. No, he managed to trick a newspaper into believing he met India’s PM (though I can see how that’s not directly clear from the way it’s written here).

  1. Modi tricked
    Give the guy some credit, he managed to trick India’s Prime Minister.

    The story says that Arun made up the fact that he met Modi.

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