Serial plagiarist loses 13 papers

NeoheliconAccusations of plagiarism spanning at least 14 years have finally caught up with Richard Lawrence Etienne Barnett, who has had 13 papers retracted from a journal he had guest edited.

The dean of the for-profit University of Atlanta has been accused of copying his own and others’ work a number of times, as we wrote in November.

Here’s the notice from Neohelicon editor Péter Hajdu:

Careful analysis of the below mentioned articles by R.-L. Etienne Barnett, published in Neohelicon, has led me to the conclusion that these contributions show extensive similarities with earlier publications, by others and by Barnett himself; see the list printed below for details. This constitutes a series of cases of plagiarism and self-plagiarism which go against the publication policy of the journal Neohelicon, its publisher Akadémiai Kiadó, and Springer. For this reason the articles in question have been retracted. I offer my sincere apologies to the authors of the original publications and to the readers that this was not detected during the submission and review process.

Péter Hajdu, Editor-in-Chief, for the Editorial Committee of Neohelicon

1. The article entitled “Sur l’émiettement chaotique du sens” published in Neohelicon in 2008, Vol. 35, No. 1, pp. 97–105, 2008) shows extensive similarities with chapter VII of the book Mosaïques, by Lucien Dällenbach, published by Seuil in 1999, p. 115 s.

2. The article entitled “Les enjeux de la parole” published in Neohelicon in 2008, Vol. 35, No. 2, pp. 181–189, 2008) shows extensive similarities with the article published by Jean-Pierre Martin, “Le critique et la voix”, Etudes françaises, Vol. 39, no.1, pp. 13–23, 2003.

3. The article entitled “The semiotics of ‘transit’ in Joyce’s Ulysses”, published in Neohelicon in 2009, Vol. 36, No. 1, pp. 153–166, 2009) shows extensive similarities with the article published by Eric P. Levy, “The Mimesis of Metempshychosis” in Ulysses, Philological Quarterly, Vol. 81, no.3, pp. 359–377, 2002.

4. The article entitled “Autopsies du centre” published in Neohelicon in 2010, Vol. 37, No. 2, pp. 479–487, 2010) shows extensive similarities with the article published by Jan Baetens, “Fausses marges et vraie marginalité”, LEsprit Créateur, Vol. 38, no.1, pp. 69–78, 1998.

5. The article entitled “Apories cioraniennes,” published in Neohelicon in 2011 (Vol. 38, No. 1, pp. 177–185, 2011) shows extensive similarities with the article published by Pierre Nepveu, “Cioran ou la maladie de l’éternité”, Etudes Françaises, Vol. 37, no.1, pp. 11–21, 2001.

6. The article entitled “Les épreuves du labyrinthe rochien,” published in Neohelicon in 2011 (Vol. 38, No.2, pp. 457–464, 2011) shows extensive similarities with the article published by Stéphane Baquey, “Denis Roche, la rage de l’expression”, Prétexte No. 21–22, pp. 23–29, 1999.

7. The article entitled “Absence et subterfuge modianesques,” published in Neohelicon in 2012 (Vol. 39, No. 1, pp. 73–87, 2012) shows extensive similarities with the article published by Paul Raymond Côté, “Ellipse et réduplication”, Romanic Review Vol. 85, No. 1, pp. 143–156, 1994.

8. The article entitled “Aux alentours du néant: propos sur l’anodin,” published in Neohelicon in 2013 (Vol. 40, No. 1, pp. 99–114, 2013) shows extensive similarities with the article published by Jacques Poirier, “Malaise dans la signification”, Etudes françaises, Vol. 45, No. 1, pp. 109–124, 2009.

9. The article entitled “Paroles disloquées,” published in Neohelicon in 2013 (Vol. 40, No. 2, pp. 509–520, 2013) shows extensive similarities with the article published by Laurent Demanze, “Les possédés et les dépossédés”, Etudes françaises, Vol. 45, No. 3, pp. 11–23, 2009.

10. The article entitled “Paroles à la dérive,” published in Neohelicon in 2014 (Vol. 41, No. 1, pp. 129–143, 2014). shows extensive similarities with the article published by René Audet, “Lieux et pragmatique de la monstruosité dans la prose narrative d’Eric Chevillard”, Tangence, Vol. 91, Automne, pp. 11–27, 2009.

Self-plagiarism by Etienne Barnett as discovered;

11. The article entitled “La parole monstrueuse” published in Neohelicon in 2006 (Vol. 33, No. 2, pp. 165–178, 2006) shows extensive similarities with the article “Herméneutique et indicible raciniens: re-lecture”. Dalhousie French Studies, Vol. 44, Fall 1998, pp. 13–22.

12. The article entitled “Of difference contrived: The semiotics of sameness in J.-K. Huysmans’ a rebours” published in Neohelicon in 2007 (Vol. 34, No. 1, pp. 137–143, 2007) shows extensive similarities with the article “Of infinite regress: paradigms unbroken in J.-K. Huysmans’s a rebours” Revista Letras, 1999, Vol. 52.

Online First, recently published article by Etienne Barnett as discovered;

13. The article entitled “Désignifier au pluriel” published ‘online first’ in Neohelicon in 2014 shows extensive similarities with the article published by Audrey Camus, “Les contrées étranges de l’insignifiant, Retour sur la notion de fantastique moderne”, Etudes françaises, Vol. 45, No. 1, pp. 89–107, 2009 (http://​www.​erudit.​org/​revue/​ETUDFR/​2009/​v45/​n1/​029841ar.​html).

We’ve contacted Barnett and Hajdu, and will update if we hear back.

Hat tip: Rolf Degen

8 thoughts on “Serial plagiarist loses 13 papers”

  1. Neuroskeptic
    How could he get away with this for so long? An apology from the journal is welcome, but an explanation is also due.

    Because no one actually reads the journal? 🙂

  2. In the earlier (November) thread on this story, ‘pterrier’ mentioned that Barnett’s e-address — RLEBarnett@editionsdegresecond.be — is at a non-existent domain.

    I was curious enough to consult the Great Gazoogle about “Editions Degré Second”, which seems to be Barnett’s own publishing house. In 2010 he was inviting analyses of “anguish and art” in the works of Sam Beckett for a forthcoming special publication, “Bleeding Jewel”:

    To negotiate the Beckettian ontology is to encounter texts that often slither into transgressive recesses, slake into subversive gorges, into linguistically-intoned chasms where spiritual deadlock overtakes all but visions dissolute, allot no space to other. The discourse so birthed — extradited to the margins, to interstices, to gaps barren and unbridged — over-determines a kind of non-emergent embeddedness and challenges the very constructs of representationality. A universe of fissures, in sum, of breaches, of stultifying contraventions, critically branded as metaphor and thus perilously minimized. And yet the “poetic gleam” is everwhere apparent, unmistakably present in this universe of elegantly haunting refrain. Anguish and art: are they reconciled? Can they be? Should they be? How does each function in juxtaposition with the other? What is the ultimate vision that proceeds from a work at once so rich and so barren, so universal and so involuted, so alluring and so distancing, so stunning in its beauty and so disarming in its portrayal of vacuity?

    The invitation was repeated in 2014, so it can’t be far away! Barnett is “special editor” and who knows, he may have material to contribute.

    …Otherwise, Barnett’s articles in Neohelicon cite his own work in two books from “Editions Degré Second” — “En marge: lectures d’excentration”, and “Les enjeux du roman: reprises contemporaines” — which otherwise do not appear to exist.

    … Finally, there is a journal (Exégèse: Journal of Contemporary Studies in Applied Critical Theory) which is nominally published by ESD. I encountered a whole string of academics who proudly cite on their CVs that they are invited Members of its Editorial Board, but it has never put out an issue.

    It is as if a whole universe of Dark Matter literary-theory publications exists but can only be seen in glimpses.

    1. “It is as if a whole universe of Dark Matter literary-theory publications exists but can only be seen in glimpses.”

      Beckett could only lust impotently after such an ontology as Barnett’s!

      And remember—you can’t spell “Degré Second” without con.

  3. R.-L. E. Barnett is guest-editing another forthcoming volume and invites submissions to
    “DE-BUNKING THE MUSE: LEADERSHIP IN HIGHER EDUCATION RE-ENVISIONED — NEW CONFIGURATIONS” (the intended publisher is not stated).

    American higher education continues to wrestle with its own condition of never-desisting evolution. In almost every arena of university life, change is rampant. The quest for fixedness fails to yield significant results. Variables have usurped the place where constants once resided. In this optic, leadership at all levels must at once confront and effectively embrace the thorny challenges that continue to proliferate. As consequence, the leader is called upon to adopt an introspective stance so as to adopt an extrospective vision. Emergent enigmas, unanticipated challenges, altered expectations must be pro-actively and effectually counter-balanced by a compelling regeneration of creative solutions, bracing perspectives, innovative programs, focused initiatives and collaborative enterprises, all framed and under-girded by a deep-rooted respect for tradition and a concurrent, genuine and whole-hearted openness to reform. Such guiding principles, faithfully embraced, will anchor a sustainable foundation, prioritize timely and solidly-grounded values, and, one might optimistically predict, address the paramount needs and hopes of the very students we engage.

    The deadline for contributions closed in 2012 and again in 2014, so it can’t be far away.

  4. I rashly ventured again into Barnett’s vertiginous oeuvre of nebulosity, self-citation, interstitial discourse and altered expectations.

    two books from “Editions Degré Second” — “En marge: lectures d’excentration”, and “Les enjeux du roman: reprises contemporaines”

    In a 2003 paper “Cauchemars Culinaires, Nausee Narrative” in Revista Letras (cited for plagiarism but not yet retracted), he refers the reader to his work-in-press Poétique des marges: lectures d’excentration… to be published by Presses Universitaires du
    Nouveau Monde. Which is all very well, except that PUNM is an egregious money-grubbing vanity publisher (which also goes by the name of University Press of the South). Indeed, Barnett’s CV lists himself as “Director of Literary Studies for the University Press of the New World and the University Press of the South.”

    Understandably, then, that janus-headed journal has been the outlet for a number of Barnett’s books, of greater or smaller levels of reality. These include “Le texte adultère” (purportedly in press in 2003). It is not clear how much of that resurfaced in his 2013 contribution to the identically-named special issue of Neohelicon.

    I cannot help wondering whether Barnett has plagiarising modelled his entire career on that of Henri Mensonge.

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