A computer science journal has retracted two papers, after discovering “a conflict of interest between the handling editor and one of the authors.”
Matt Hodgkinson, head of research integrity at Hindawi Limited, which publishes the journal Scientific World Journal, told us that the conflict of interest stemmed from the fact that Zheng Xu, an author on both papers, and Xiangfeng Luo, the handling editor on the papers, were “frequent collaborators.”
Xu—who is based at The Third Research Institute of Ministry of Public Security in Shanghai—and Luo—a professor in the School of Computer Engineering and Science at Shanghai University—have co-authored dozens of papers together, including several that were cited in the now-retracted articles. Luo also told us that Xu was his former PhD student.
Dibyendu Talukdar, listed at the University of Calcutta in West Bengal, India, is the sole author on three retracted papers. He shares five new retractions with Tulika Talukdar listed at the University of North Bengal. That brings their totals to nine and six, respectively. (We’re not sure if the Drs. Talukdar are related).
When a computer scientist approached a journal about editing a special issue, little did the journal know he — or she — was using a stolen identity.
Before the jig was up, someone posing as a researcher named Xavier Delorme had edited three articles on optimization problems for The Scientific World Journal. The scammer used a fake email address, the publisher told Retraction Watch — a common strategy for duping journals in peer review scams. When the real Delorme, who works at École Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Saint-Etienne in France, began receiving correspondence about articles he had no involvement in, fake Delorme’s cover was blown.
Upon closer look, the publisher found evidence that peer reviews for some articles may have been submitted using phony identities, as well. The publisher has been unable to identify anyone responsible for the scam.
Here’s the retraction notice, which now appears on five articles from the special issue:
The investigation found that author Jason Jung, a computer engineer at Yeungnam University in Korea, “was involved in submitting the fraudulent review reports” for four of the retracted papers, according to the publisher’s CEO. In the case of the other six, the authors didn’t appear to be involved.
Hindawi Publishing Corporation, which publishes over 400 journals, doesn’t ask authors for potential review suggestions — making a common route to fake peer review more difficult. In July, when Hindawi announced it was investigating the papers, it posted a statement saying that they suspected the editors had created fake reviewer accounts.
The retraction note on Jung’s papers — identical except for the title at the beginning — explains that each paper has
The properties of pine needles in northwestern China differ — both inside and out — depending on where on the slope of a mountain they are situated. The properties of a recent paper on this phenomenon have recently changed from “published” to “retracted.”
It appears that some of the authors didn’t realize it had been submitted to The Scientific World Journal. The paper has not been cited, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.
The paper, “Slope Stability Analysis Using Limit Equilibrium Method in Nonlinear Criterion,” came from a group of researchers from institutions including the Changjiang River Scientific Research Institute in Wuhan, and the Key Laboratory of Transportation Tunnel Engineering at Southwest Jiaotong University in Chengdu. It’s about (we think) how to calculate the safety of rock slopes, and how vulnerable they are to landslides.
Here’s the notice, which as a pretty fair ratio of words to information:
An article on youth development programs in Hong Kong has been retracted for its similarity to another article on youth development programs by the same authors.
The paper, “Process Evaluation of a Positive Youth Development Program in Hong Kong Based on Different Cohorts,” appeared in 2012 in The Scientific World Journal, and was written by a pair of researchers with appointments in Hong Kong, Macau, Shanghai, and the United States. It has been cited twice, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.
In what appears to be a first, two papers have been retracted for including citations designed to help another journal improve its impact factor rankings. The articles in The Scientific World Journal cited papers in Cell Transplantation, which in turn appears to have cited to a high degree other journals with shared board members.