In case you’re counting, we’ve now logged approximately 300 retractions stemming from likely faked or rigged peer review.
This article has been retracted by the Editor-in-Chief. After a thorough investigation carried out according to the Committee on Publication Ethics guidelines, we have strong reason to believe that the peer review process was compromised.
One of the retracted papers, “Estimation of Anticipated Performance Index and Air Pollution Tolerance Index and of vegetation around the marble industrial areas of Potwar region: bioindicators of plant pollution response,” tested plants for their sensitivity to pollution. It has been cited three times, according to Thomson Reuters Web of Science.
The other study in question, “Release, deposition and elimination of radiocesium (137Cs) in the terrestrial environment,” reviewed literature about radiocesium emissions into the atmosphere; it has been cited twice.
Ming Hung Wong, research chair professor of environmental science at The Hong Kong Institute of Education and editor-in-chief of Environmental Geochemistry and Health, declined to comment on the retractions.
We’ve discovered another retraction from 2012 for the corresponding author on both papers, Muhammad Aqeel Ashraf, based at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. That paper, “Luciferase-transfected colon adenocarcinoma cell line (DLD-1) for use in Orthotopic Xenotransplantation studies,” was retracted from the Chemistry Central Journal only months after publication, when the lead author (not Ashraf) took responsibility for using data without permission.
Its retraction note reads:
This article is retracted.
The data in this article  was used without permission by the lead author Muhammad Rashid Siddique.
The lead author accepts full responsibility and would like to apologize to the owners of the data (Dr Steve Shnyder, University of Bradford, UK), as well as the co-authors of this article, the Editors and readers.
We’ve reached out to Ashraf and will update the post if we hear back.
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