A publisher just retracted 22 articles. And the whistleblower is just getting started.

SAGE Publishing is today retracting 22 articles by a materials science researcher who published in two of their journals — but the anonymous reader who brought the problems to their attention says the author’s duplication affects more than 100 articles.

Ali Nazari, now of Swinburne University of Technology in Australia, had five papers retracted earlier this year from an Elsevier journal. His total of now 27 retractions — the others from the International Journal of Damage Mechanics and the Journal of Composite Mechanics — came following emails in January of this year from an anonymous reader to several publishers raising concerns that Nazari had duplicated his work in more than 100 articles.

Here’s the retraction notice for the 22 articles retracted by SAGE:

Continue reading A publisher just retracted 22 articles. And the whistleblower is just getting started.

Materials scientist up to five retractions as publishers investigate dozens of his papers

A materials scientist in Australia, by way of Iran, has recently had five papers retracted for duplicating his prior work, and the reader who brought the issue to publishers’ attention says it could affect some 100 articles.

Ali Nazari, now of Swinburne University of Technology in Australia, was at Islamic Azad University in Iran when he published the five papers in Energy and Buildings, an Elsevier title, in 2010 and 2011. The retractions came sometime after January of this year, when an anonymous reader contacted Elsevier about dozens of Nazari’s papers.

A typical notice, for “Physical, mechanical and thermal properties of concrete in different curing media containing ZnO2 nanoparticles,” reads:

Continue reading Materials scientist up to five retractions as publishers investigate dozens of his papers

The first rule of Fight Club is … you do not republish Fight Club

Another Brad Pitt boxing

A pair of therapists has lost a paper in Sage Open because they’d previously published the article in another journal (more on that in a bit). 

The article, “Bridging the gap between theory and practice with film: How to use Fight Club to teach existential counseling theory and techniques,” appeared in 2013. The authors were Katarzyna Peoples, a counselor at Walden University, and Stephanie Helsel, a therapist whose LinkedIn page lists her as an adjunct professor at Waynesburg University in Pennsylvania. The two appear to have connected at Duquesne University, where each received her doctoral degrees. 

Here’s the gist of the article

Continue reading The first rule of Fight Club is … you do not republish Fight Club

Even potential participants of a research integrity conference commit plagiarism, organizers learn

One would hope that researchers submitting abstracts for a meeting on research integrity would be less likely to commit research misconduct. But if the experience of the 6th World Conference on Research Integrity is any indication, that may not be the case. Here, the co-organizers of the conference — Lex Bouter, Daniel Barr, and Mai Har Sham — explain.

Recently the 430 abstracts submitted for the 6th World Conference on Research Integrity (WCRI) were peer reviewed. After an alarming report of apparent plagiarism from one of the 30 reviewers, text similarity checking was conducted on all the abstracts received using Turnitin. This identified 12 suspected cases of plagiarism and 18 suspected cases of self-plagiarism. Abstracts with a Turnitin Similarity Index above 30% (ranging from 37% to 94%) were further assessed and labelled as potential self-plagiarism if overlapping texts had at least one author in common. Continue reading Even potential participants of a research integrity conference commit plagiarism, organizers learn

Energy researcher up to 18 retractions

A researcher in Malaysia is up to 18 retractions, for faked peer review and a host of other sins.

We first wrote about Shahaboddin Shamshirband, of the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, in early 2017, because Elsevier had pulled, or planned to pull, nine of his papers. Jeffrey Beall, known for his list of possible predatory publishers, had raised questions about duplication by Shamshirband in 2016 on his now-defunct blog, ScholarlyOA.

The most recent retraction for Shamshirband was for “Soft computing methodologies for estimation of energy consumption in buildings with different envelope parameters,” a 2016 paper in Energy Efficiency. Here’s the notice: Continue reading Energy researcher up to 18 retractions

Prominent psychologist at Cornell notches second retraction

Robert Sternberg

Robert Sternberg, a psychology professor at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, whose work has been cited more than 140,000 times, has had a second paper retracted because he duplicated his previous work.

Sternberg’s work came under scrutiny earlier this year when colleagues said he was citing himself at a high rate, and not doing enough to encourage diversity in psychology research. He resigned as editor of Perspectives on Psychological Science, and around the same time, Brendan O’Connor, at the University of Leicester in the UK posted allegations on Twitter that Sternberg had been recycling his work, after O’Connor analyzed the material with Nick Brown.

Sternberg’s first retraction appeared in June in School Psychology International. Here’s the new one, in Theory Into Practice: Continue reading Prominent psychologist at Cornell notches second retraction

Authors try to duplicate bad data, fail miserably

Cangaroojack via Flickr

We’ve seen plagiarizers plagiarizing plagiarizers, but here’s what seems to be a first: A journal has retracted an article that duplicated text…from a paper that had been retracted for containing dubious data.

The Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science published the recycled paper, titled “Development and in vitro-in vivo characterization of chronomodulated multi-particulate drug delivery system of terbutaline sulphate for treatment of nocturnal asthma by box–Behnken statistical design.” The authors were from several institutions in India.

As the retraction notice explains: Continue reading Authors try to duplicate bad data, fail miserably

Dental researcher in Spain up to 18 retractions

Jose Luis Calvo-Guirado

A researcher in Spain who studies dental implants has had another six papers retracted, for a total of 18.

José Luis Calvo-Guirado‘s latest retraction, which along with the other 17 appeared in Clinical Oral Implants Research, a Wiley title, was for “image discrepancies resulting in unreliable data.” Three appeared in June, and two in July, also for image issues. The researcher also has at least two corrections; one  in Annals of Anatomy — Anatomischer Anzeiger and one in Materials. Continue reading Dental researcher in Spain up to 18 retractions

Caveat scriptor: How a journal editor unraveled the mystery of the overlapping bad data

John Loadsman

Caveat scriptor—writer beware.

That’s the moral of a recent editorial in the Saudi Journal of Anesthesia, prompted by the retraction in that journal of a 2014 paper with bum data.

The editorial was written by John Loadsman, an anesthesiologist in Sydney, Australia, and editor of the journal Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, who played a role in the retraction. Here’s how.

According to Loadsman, he was considering an article for his journal — a meta-analysis of previously published findings. On inspection, he he noticed that some of the studies cited in the meta-analysis were potentially problematic, including Continue reading Caveat scriptor: How a journal editor unraveled the mystery of the overlapping bad data

When it comes to authorship, how prolific is too prolific?

John Ioannidis

One of the suggestions we get regularly here at Retraction Watch is something along the lines of “This researcher publishes too much. You should look into that.” But how much is too much?

The phenomenon was the subject of a 2015 paper. It’s also the subject of a new article in Nature by John Ioannidis, of Stanford, and researchers at SciTech Strategies. The new article is unlikely to answer the question of how much is too much. But it provides some fascinating figures on just how often some authors publish, and even more so how they respond when asked just how they manage to publish so much, in the process raising questions about whether measuring productivity and quality in science should involve a ruler for stacked papers. Continue reading When it comes to authorship, how prolific is too prolific?