Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Prominent physicist loses four more papers for duplication

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A leading physicist in India has lost four more papers for duplication, after colleagues lodged a complaint against him.

According to the most recent retraction notices, issued by Applied Surface Science, the four papers duplicated several figures and portions of text from the authors’ previous works. Although the notices do not single out a responsible party, last year the Mumbai Mirror reported that first and corresponding Naba K. Sahoo had been accused of duplication by colleagues at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), part of Indian government’s Department of Atomic Energy.

(In a bizarre twist, Sahoo also made the news recently for getting into a fist fight with another BARC scientist.)

Sahoo received two retractions last year for duplication, sometimes inelegantly referred to as “self-plagiarism.” All six of his retractions affect papers published by Applied Surface Science between 2005 and 2007.

The first retraction notice explains that a 2006 paper lifted portions of text from an earlier paper by Sahoo:

This article has been retracted at the request of the Editor-in-Chief.

This article has been retracted as it duplicates parts of the text of the article that was published by the authors in Applied Optics 45 (2006) 3243–3252, https://doi.org/10.1364/AO.45.003243.

The 2006 paper, “Superior refractive index tailoring properties in composite ZrO2/SiO2 thin film systems achieved through reactive electron beam codeposition process,” has been cited 12 times, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science, formerly part of Thomson Reuters.

The retraction notice for another 2006 paper says it duplicated material from the same article mentioned in the previous notice — as well as the other 2006 retracted paper:

This article has been retracted at the request of the Editor-in-Chief.

This article has been retracted as Figures 2, 3, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a and 8b duplicate figures from the article that was published by the authors in Applied Optics 45 (2006) 3243–3252, https://doi.org/10.1364/AO.45.003243.

Also the article duplicates parts of the text of the articles that were published by the authors in Applied Optics 45 (2006) 3243–3252, https://doi.org/10.1364/AO.45.003243 and Applied Surface Science 253 (2006) 618–626, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apsusc.2005.12.148.

“Analysis of codeposited Gd2O3/SiO2 composite thin films by phase modulated spectroscopic ellipsometric technique” has been cited four times.

The third retraction, for a 2007 paper, details multiple instances of duplicated figures and text from both retracted 2006 papers, as well as text from a 2006 paper by Sahoo published in another journal. Here’s the notice:

This article has been retracted at the request of the Editor-in-Chief.

This article has been retracted as Figures 1, 2, 5, 7a and 8a duplicate figures from the article that was published by the authors in Applied Surface Science 253 (2006) 1787–1795, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apsusc.2006.03.013.

Also the article duplicates parts of the text of the articles that were published by the authors in Applied Surface Science 253 (2006) 1787–1795, Applied Surface Science 253 (2006) 618-626, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apsusc.2005.12.148 and the Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics 39 (2006) 2571, http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/0022-3727/39/12/015.

“Morphological, microstructural and optical properties supremacy of binary composite films—A study based on Gd2O3/SiO2 system” has been cited 13 times.

Finally, the fourth retraction notice describes duplication from the three retracted papers above. Here’s the notice:

This article has been retracted at the request of the Editor-in-Chief.

This article has been retracted as Figures 1, 9b, 10a and 10b duplicate figures from the article that was published by the authors in Applied Surface Science 253 (2006) 1787–1795, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apsusc.2006.03.013.

Also the article duplicates parts of the text of the articles that were published by the authors in Applied Surface Science 253 (2006) 1787–1795, Applied Surface Science 253 (2006) 618-626, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apsusc.2005.12.148 and Applied Surface Science 253 (2007) 3455–3463, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apsusc.2006.07.048.

“Relative performances of effective medium formulations in interpreting specific composite thin films optical properties” has been cited 13 times since it was published in 2007.

Although Sahoo did not get back to us, he told the Mumbai Mirror last year that he was “being targeted because the other scientists are jealous of me.” We contacted Applied Surface Science’s editor-in-chief as well as the director of BARC about the recent retractions. We also reached out to Raj B. Tokas—a co-author on the six papers—and will update if we hear back.

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Comments
  • Klavs Hansen April 19, 2017 at 7:34 am

    Physicists tend to be prominent in this blog. With 13,4,13,13 citations in a decade…

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