Publisher retracts two papers, will correct five more for lab with high “level of disorganization”

A lab at the University of Malaya has lost two papers and will have to correct five more — just from one publisher — over poor lab practices.

One of the retracted papers paper tested the effects of a plant on liver damage; its notice says the paper contains overlap with another paper from the same lab that tested a different plant for the same effect — but to save time and cut costs, the authors tested both plants in animals at the same time, and collected their tissues using one kit and protocol.

The publisher (Hindawi) decided to take a second look at the work coming out of the lab of Mahmood Ameen Abdulla after people raised questions about some of his previous work, including a Scientific Reports paper that was corrected for mistaken duplications, according to Matt Hodgkinson, the head of research integrity at Hindawi. After Hindawi spotted problems, it contacted the institution, which investigated.

According to Hodgkinson, the UM investigation concluded the problems were due to errors, not deliberate misconduct. Hindawi plans to correct five more papers from Abdulla’s lab, after consulting with Hindawi’s board members following UM’s investigation:

Continue reading Publisher retracts two papers, will correct five more for lab with high “level of disorganization”

One way to boost your uni’s ranking: Ask faculty to cite each other

Readers who follow scientific publishing will know the term “citation stacking” — as a profile-boosting technique, we’ve seen journals ask authors to cite them, and individual scientists work together to cite each other, forming “citation cartels.” And now, we’ve seen a university do it.

A university in Malaysia has instructed its engineering faculty to cite at least three papers by their colleagues; the more citations a university accrues, the better its ranking in many international surveys. We obtained the original notice, dated August 3 and released by the University of Malaya, and translated it via One Hour Translation. Our English version says:

Continue reading One way to boost your uni’s ranking: Ask faculty to cite each other

Author surprised when publisher pulls three of her papers

A researcher is strongly objecting to a publisher’s decision to retract three of her papers from two computing journals without informing her first.

The reason: Self-plagiarism, which the author said stemmed from her PhD student using similar descriptions for the background sections of the papers. She argued that if the reviewers had flagged the duplication, she would have been happy to revise the papers before publication. A representative of the publisher, Springer, told us the overlap was extensive enough for the journal to determine the papers should be retracted.

We spoke with Sameem Abdul Kareem from the Department Of Artificial Intelligence at the University of Malaya in Malaysia, last author on all three papers, which she co-authored with her former PhD student Haitham Badi (also referred to as Haitham Hasan in several papers). She explained how the duplication occurred:

Continue reading Author surprised when publisher pulls three of her papers

Elsevier to retract six more papers by computer scientist, citing duplication and fake reviews

Yesterday we reported that Elsevier journals had pulled three papers by a computer scientist with an impressive publication record. The publisher has since informed us that it plans to pull six more, again citing duplication and manipulation of the peer-review process.

Shahaboddin Shamshirband at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s record will be down by a total of nine papers once the publisher issues the additional notices. We also found evidence that an additional paper was removed by a journal, but haven’t confirmed if that’s a retraction.

One of Shamshirband’s co-authors has objected to one of the retractions Elsevier has already issued for faked reviews, arguing the reviewers were PhD students without institutional email addresses. A spokesperson for Elsevier told us:

Continue reading Elsevier to retract six more papers by computer scientist, citing duplication and fake reviews

Computer scientist loses at least three papers, two for faked reviews

A computer scientist in Malaysia has lost two papers for faked peer reviews, and another for duplication. A fourth paper on which he is a co-author appears to have simply disappeared.

One retraction lays the blame for the fake reviewer on corresponding author Shahaboddin Shamshirband at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. According to the journal, Shamshirband — who has co-authored more than 200 papers and book chapters, despite receiving his PhD in 2014, according to his biography on Vitae — supplied a fake email for the reviewer during the submission process.

Here’s the retraction notice for that paper, issued by the journal Measurement:

Continue reading Computer scientist loses at least three papers, two for faked reviews

You’ve been dupe’d: Results so nice, they’re published twice

obesity surgeryWith retraction notices continuing to pour in, we like to occasionally take the opportunity to cover several at a time to keep up.

We’ve compiled a handful of retractions that were all issued to papers that were published twice by at least one of the same authors — known as duplication. (Sometimes, this can be the publisher’s fault, although that doesn’t appear to be the case in any of the following examples.)

So here are five recently retracted papers that were pulled because of duplication: Continue reading You’ve been dupe’d: Results so nice, they’re published twice

Researcher notches fourth retraction, has left university

Plant Ecology

A researcher with four retracted papers has left his former institution in Malaysia, according to an official at the university.

In March, we reported on the retractions of two studies in Environmental Geochemistry and Health co-authored by Muhammad Aqeel Ashraf. Both papers were pulled citing a “compromised” peer review process. The now-retracted work was carried out at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where Ashraf was previously based.

However, Ashraf later moved to University Malaysia Sabah (UMS) in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia; but now, according to an official at the institution, Ashraf is no longer based at UMS after “suspicion” arose into his work.  Continue reading Researcher notches fourth retraction, has left university

Two journals retracting papers from University of Malaya featuring widely criticized figures

The image that excited twitter: Figure 6 from the Scientific Reports paper
The image that excited Twitter

One journal has retracted a paper containing images that recently raised suspicions of obvious duplications, and another journal is planning to do the same.

Scientists first leveled accusations against the newly retracted paper in Scientific Reports, along with two others by the same researchers, earlier this month on Twitter. One other journal — PeerJ — has announced that it plans to retract one of the questioned papers, as well. The third paper, in Frontiers in Pharmacology, bears an expression of concern.

It was unusually quick action on the part of the journals, as well as the authors’ host institution, the University of Malaya, which announced last week the authors had manipulated figures in all three papers, along with one other.

Here’s today’s retraction notice from Scientific Reports for “Novel piperazine core compound induces death in human liver cancer cells: possible pharmacological properties:”

Continue reading Two journals retracting papers from University of Malaya featuring widely criticized figures

Figures questioned online were manipulated, says Malaysia investigation

The image that excited twitter: Figure 6 from the Scientific Reports paper
The image that set Twitter abuzz: Figure 6 from the Scientific Reports paper, in which every cell in each stage of cell death appeared to be an exact copy.

Many figures in four papers by a research team in Malaysia contain duplication or manipulation, a university committee has found, calling for multiple retractions.

We learned about issues with three of the papers, including one in Scientific Reports, earlier this week when they were the talk of Twitter. As journals issued expressions of concern, and an expert wondered how the papers passed peer review at all, the first author, a researcher at the University of Malaya (UM), denied allegations of duplication.

UM was alerted to allegations of misconduct in the Scientific Reports paper last Saturday, and according to a statement published today:

Continue reading Figures questioned online were manipulated, says Malaysia investigation

Images that raised eyebrows flagged by another journal; Malaysian gov’t investigates

Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 9.17.15 AMMultiple investigations have been launched into allegations of blatant duplications by a research group in Malaysia.

Last week, users alleged on Twitter that three papers by the same team included pictures of cells that were copied and pasted. First author Nima Samie, affiliated with University of Malaya in Malaysia, denied the accusations — but both the Malaysian government and now two journals sees cause for further investigation.

Frontiers in Pharmacology published an expression of concern this morning:

Continue reading Images that raised eyebrows flagged by another journal; Malaysian gov’t investigates