Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Gender-based violence researcher now up to 10 retractions for plagiarism

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A publisher has retracted all of the papers it published by a researcher in Nigeria, citing plagiarism.

The papers, all about terrorism and gender-based violence, were written by Oluwaseun Bamidele. The journal editors and the publisher, Taylor & Francis, decided to retract nine papers by Bamidele because of the overlap to other works — which he also failed to reference.

Bamidele — who also lost a paper on Boko Haram for the same reason — told us he didn’t learn about what constitutes plagiarism until his graduate studies, after he’d already written the now-retracted manuscripts:

If I had known before then, it would not have happened.

Bamidele has completed his Masters degree, and told us he is not based anywhere at the moment.

After Bamidele’s first retraction in 2013, also by a Taylor & Francis journal, he submitted a letter the journal published with the notice, in which he apologizes and explains:

I inadvertently incorporated work that was not my own in my article and failed to properly cite or acknowledge that work.

Since then, nine of Bamidele’s papers published between 2012 and 2016 in Taylor & Francis journals have been retracted for similar issues.

Here’s the notice for a 2016 paper on gender-based violence in Uganda, retracted that same year for plagiarism:

We, the Editors of Democracy and Security and the publishers Taylor & Francis Group are retracting the following article:

Bamidele, Oluwaseun (2016) “I’m Not Leaving, I’m Not Afraid”: (Re)Visiting the Dysfunctional Systems of Justice on Gender-based Violence (GBV) in Uganda. Democracy and Security, Vol. 12, No. 1, pp. 23–43. DOI:10.1080/17419166.2015.1135059. Version of Record published online 29 February 2014.

We are now cognisant that the article is substantially similar to the previously published works:

ACORD (2008) Unfinished Business: Transitional Justice and Women’s Rights in Africa. Available at: http://www.acordinternational.org/silo/files/unfinished-business-transitional-justice-and-womens-rights-in-africa.pdf

Ahikire, Josephine and Amon A. Mwiine (2013) Addressing the links between gender-based violence and HIV in the Great Lakes region. Available at: http://www.genderandaids.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1222:addressing-the-links-between-gender-based-violence-and-hiv-in-the-great-lakes-region-background-information-on-gbv-and-hiv&catid=52:gender-hivaids-and-conflict&Itemid=96

We note that neither of these previously published works have been referenced in the retracted article. This action constitutes a breach of warranties made by the author with respect to originality and provenance. We note 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”.

I’m Not Leaving, I’m Not Afraid”: (Re)Visiting the Dysfunctional Systems of Justice on Gender-based Violence (GBV) in Uganda” was published in Democracy and Security, which has not been indexed by Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science, formerly part of Thomson Reuters.

A senior communications manager at Taylor & Francis provided more details on the retractions:

We were alerted to originality issues regarding his papers by one of our journal’s academic editors, and subsequently undertook a thorough investigation. This was informed by Committee of Publication Ethics guidelines and included conducting an originality check. We kept Mr. Bamidele informed at every stage. Our investigation concluded a correction to the scholarly record was appropriate, and as a result we have retracted all of his articles from Taylor & Francis journals.

Bamidele, who began writing about terrorism and gender-based violence in Nigeria while he was an undergraduate student, told us that most schools in Africa don’t teach students about plagiarism at the undergraduate level. As a result, he said he first learned about the problem of plagiarism in 2015, while receiving his Master’s degree from the Institute of Peace, Security and Governance at Ekiti State University in Nigeria:

I began learning about plagiarism when my graduate university brought in a professor from Canada.

Although Bamidele’s first retraction was in 2013 and the majority of the other retractions occurred in 2016, he said that he wrote these papers before receiving more formal education on plagiarism.

Bamidele told us he now sends his articles to a colleague in Canada who checks them with plagiarism software. Bamidele also told us he hopes to educate students in Nigeria about proper referencing and plagiarism so they don’t make the same mistake he did.

Here are the other eight notices, which all cite plagiarism. Most journals have not been indexed:

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Comments
  • Mary Kuhner May 17, 2017 at 11:00 am

    It’s concerning when checking with plagiarism software is the chosen means to avoid plagiarism, rather than simply writing your own papers. I know that English is difficult, but many plagiarized papers lift whole sections, which goes beyond an English problem.

  • TL May 17, 2017 at 11:03 am

    English is the official language of Nigeria so such an explanation would hardly seem credible.

    • NW May 17, 2017 at 1:45 pm

      Well, he didn’t actually try to claim a lack of English abilities as an explanation or excuse. He focused on knowledge of plagiarism as his explanation.

      Also, from what I’ve heard, many people in Nigeria speak a pidgin form of English, not necessarily US or UK style English. And communicating in English is much more popular in urban rather than rural areas (about 3/4 of the population in Nigeria).

      I’m not excusing the author’s actions, just pointing out that the English thing isn’t particularly relevant in this case.

  • Mary Kuhner May 17, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    Now that he has been educated about plagiarism, then, it is very concerning that he regards plagiarism software as his personal line of defense. The approach of writing papers by cribbing bits from other people’s papers cannot adequately be cleaned up after the fact; you need to not be doing that in the first place.

    • NW May 17, 2017 at 2:25 pm

      That I agree with.

    • herr doktor bimler May 17, 2017 at 4:19 pm

      Plagiarism software can be used to point out which parts of one’s manuscript are copied and which parts are original work, but you have to wonder why the author can’t remember which is which. Of course it can also be used to conceal plagiarism, with the author Rogetifying individual words, incrementally, untl the alarms no longer go off.

  • Roland May 18, 2017 at 3:39 am

    I find it concerning if an undergraduate publishes ten or more peer-reviewed papers. What kind of studies was he doing that he had time for that when he should have been learning the basics. But of course, he claims the basics were not taught to him …

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