Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

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Faked data, plagiarism, no co-author okays…yeah, this paper’s been retracted

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A researcher in South Korea has retracted a 2016 paper on which he is listed as senior author because a former student wrote and published the article without his permission.

According to the retraction notice, the former student also fabricated data and plagiarized “a substantial amount of material” from previous papers published by the senior and middle author.

Here’s the retraction notice for “Oleaginous yeast-based production of microbial oil from volatile fatty acids obtained by anaerobic digestion of red algae (Gelidium amansii),” published in the Korean Journal of Chemical Engineering in April 2016 and retracted in January: Read the rest of this entry »

Researcher issues massive changes to papers amidst plagiarism investigation

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A researcher in Greece has issued extensive — what we sometimes call “mega” — corrections to two 2016 papers published in a medical journal in Romania.

The first author — Alexandra Kalogeraki, a pathology researcher at the University of Crete in Greece — retracted two reviews from the same journal last year for plagiarism. The newest notices remove authors and correct, add, or remove text, often without providing an explicit reason for the change.

The journal told us Kalogeraki initially asked to retract the newly corrected papers, but the editors didn’t believe that the papers warranted the harsher measure, as they’d run a plagiarism scan and conducted peer review of the two papers and did not find any issues. However, the University of Crete is currently investigating allegations of plagiarism in two of Kalogeraki’s other papers, which have already been retracted by the same journal.

For the latest mega-corrections, both are so lengthy we’re only including a small portion of the notice for the case study, “Recurrent Cerebellar Desmoplastic/ Nodular Medulloblastoma in Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) in the elderly. A Cytologic Diagnosis,” which deals with authorship: Read the rest of this entry »

Journals pull two papers after blogger shares plagiarism suspicions

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Journals have retracted two papers after they were flagged by a pseudonymous blogger, who suspected all had copied text from other sources.

What’s more, a third paper seems to have simply disappeared from the journal’s website, after the blogger, Neuroskeptic, alerted the journal to the text overlap.

Neuroskeptic became suspicious about the three unrelated papers – about food chemistry, heart disease, and the immune system and cancer – after scanning them with plagiarism software. After alerting the journals, two issued formal retractions for the papers – but neither specifies plagiarism as the reason.

The retractions were the result of a larger project, Neuroskeptic told us:

Read the rest of this entry »

Journal cleans the house by retracting 6 cancer papers for plagiarism

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Following an investigation, a genetics journal has pulled six cancer papers published this year for plagiarizing from other sources.

According to an excerpt from the retraction notice in Genetics and Molecular Research, the journal has “strong reason to believe that the peer review process was [a] failure,” and has alerted the authors’ institutions.

The notice announcing the retraction of all six papers begins: Read the rest of this entry »

Prominent physicist accused of repeated self-plagiarism logs 2 retractions

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optical-materialsA physicist working for the Indian government has notched two retractions after being accused of multiple acts of self-plagiarism by his colleagues.

One retraction notice in Applied Surface Science says a duplicate of the paper was previously published by the same author — N. K. Sahoo, a researcher at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), which is part of the Indian government’s Department of Atomic Energy in Trombay, Mumbai. The other notice, which appears in Optical Materials, notes that the study “for the most part” has appeared in another paper by Sahoo.

Despite concerns about his work, Sahoo was promoted in May, according to the Mumbai Mirror. As a result, members of the Bhabha Atomic Research Officers’ Association wrote to BARC director K. N. Vyas asking for the institution to take action against Sahoo. A member of the group told the Mumbai Mirror in August: Read the rest of this entry »

Chem paper “the product of intentional, knowing, or reckless falsification, fabrication, and plagiarism”

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rsc-advancesA journal has retracted a study after an institutional investigation concluded that it was riddled with misconduct.

According to the retraction notice in RSC Advances, the first author submitted the paper without the knowledge of the other two co-authors, and the paper was falsified, fabricated, and plagiarized. The notice cites a probe at the University of Tennessee (UT) at Knoxville — where all three listed authors are based — that concluded the study’s findings were invalid.

We asked a UT spokesperson if the first author, Sammy Eni Eni, was still based at the institution, and received this response: Read the rest of this entry »

When does “overlap” become plagiarism? Here’s what PLOS ONE decided

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PLOSOne

Consider this: Fragments of a PLOS ONE paper overlap with pieces of other publications. The authors used them without credit and without quotation marks.

This sounds an awful lot like plagiarism — using PLOS‘s own standards, even. But the journal isn’t calling it plagiarism. They’ve labeled this an instance of “text overlap,” a spokesperson told us, based on the amount of material that the paper shares with others.

The last author — Carlo Croce, who has two retractions under his belt — denies that he plagiarized, and says that his university has cleared him of a plagiarism charge from an anonymous whistleblower.

PLOS fixed this case last year with a correction notice — not the common course of action for a case of confirmed plagiarism. Take a look at the notice for yourself:

Read the rest of this entry »

Korean journal bans author for three years for plagiarism

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journal-of-the-korean-data-and-information-science-societyA  journal in Korea has banned a researcher from submitting papers for three years after an investigation found evidence of plagiarism.

The retraction notice for “Goodness-of-fit tests for a proportional odds model,” which appears in the Journal of the Korean Data and Information Science Society, cites an investigation by an academic ethics committee, but it’s unclear where this review panel was based. 

Since the original retraction notice is in Korean, we’ve got it translated by One Hour Translation. It reads: Read the rest of this entry »

A plagiarism loop: Authors copied from papers that had copied from others

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2Note to self: If you’re going to duplicate your own work, don’t copy from papers that plagiarize others’ research.

Just such a mistake has cost a PhD candidate three papers — although his co-author argues that a company is in part to blame.

Hossein Jafarzadeh, who is studying mechanical engineering at the University of Tehran, apparently asked a company to complete photomicroscopy for his work. Instead of doing to the work, the company provided him with an image taken from another paper, according to Karen Abrinia, his co-author, who is based at the same institution.

That’s the explanation that Abrinia gave when we asked about three retractions that the pair share, at least.

What the notices tell us is a little more convoluted. Plagiarized material from two different papers ended up in two different papers by the pair. Then, the researchers copied from their own papers in a third paper. (We’re unclear if Abrinia attributes every step of the mess to a company or not. Confused yet?) 

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Author of retracted math paper defends against plagiarism charge, threatens to sue journal

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A researcher in Egypt is threatening to sue a mathematics journal if it doesn’t un-retract one of his papers.

The American Journal of Computational Mathematics in May retracted Mostafa M. A. Khater‘s 2015 paper, “The Modified Simple Equation Method and Its Applications in Mathematical Physics and Biology.” The retraction notice is sparse on the details, indicating only that the article was not up to snuff: Read the rest of this entry »