Do wind turbines cause plagiarism? Energy researcher up to 20 retractions

By Narcisa Aciko

The editors of PLoS ONE have done something that we’re betting Donald Trump will never do: Retract a statement about noisy wind turbines.

The journal is pulling a 2014 article, titled “Adaptive neuro-fuzzy methodology for noise assessment of wind turbine,” after concluding that the researchers plagiarized. The corresponding author of the article is Shahaboddin Shamshirban, of the Department of Computer System and Information Technology at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and the retraction isn’t his first. In fact, it’s not even the only one Shamshirban has in PLoS ONE this week. The journal also is retracting a 2016 paper from his group, bringing his total to 20, for sins including plagiarism and faked peer review.

According to the retraction notice for the turbine study, which has been cited 23 times, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science:

Following publication, concerns have been raised regarding overlap of text between this article [1] and a number of other previously published works.

Segments of text in the Abstract, Introduction, Materials and Methods, and Conclusion sections are similar or identical to excerpts from other previously published works, some of which are cited, but it is not made clear that text has been re-used verbatim from these sources.

There is text overlap with papers from other author groups, specifically, in the Abstract [2,3], in the Introduction [47], in the Materials and Methods [8], and in the Conclusion [9].

The Introduction, Materials and Methods, and Conclusion sections also contain duplicate text from a 2014 article by some of the same authors [10], which has since been retracted.

In view of the extent of the overlapping text, the PLOS ONE Editors retract this article.

SS did not agree with retraction. DB, RH, SM did not respond. The corresponding author stands by the article as an independent contribution.

The 2016 article, “Adaptive neuro-fuzzy determination of the effect of experimental parameters on vehicle agent speed relative to vehicle intruder,” also was marred by plagiarism, if by another name: 

Following publication, concerns have been raised regarding overlap of text between this article [1] and other previously published works.

There is overlap in the text between the Methodology, Results and Discussion, and Conclusion sections of this article and a previous publication by one of the same authors which presented a different application of the same methodology [2]; that earlier work is not cited and discussed in the PLOS ONE article.

Additionally, there is some text overlap in the Introduction and Methodology sections with previously published works by other author groups, including [3,4]. These works are cited, but it is not made clear that text has been re-used verbatim from these sources.

In view of the extent of the overlapping text, the PLOS ONE Editors retract this article.

LB-M, IB, SK did not agree with retraction. AWBAW did not respond. SS did not comment on the retraction decision.

The paper has not been cited, according to Clarivate Analytics.

Shamshirban did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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3 thoughts on “Do wind turbines cause plagiarism? Energy researcher up to 20 retractions”

  1. I enjoy Retraction Watch, but why the need for a political snipe? Mixing politics and science is undeniably the most fervent source of junk science and your cuteness is unbecoming.

    1. Mixing politics and science is indeed a bad idea, but it is not Retraction Watch that is guilty of it. Calling out a public figure for promoting junk science is completely legitimate, and we should support this.

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