Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘plagiarism’ Category

Confusion reigns: Are these four retractions for compromised peer review, or not?

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Open Automation Journal CoverThe Open Automation and Control Systems Journal has published five items this calendar year — and all of those are retraction notices.

That’s what we’re sure about. Now to what we’re not clear on in this story, which is one of a growing number of cases we’ve seen in which so-called “predatory” publishers are starting to retract papers, perhaps because they hope the practice suggests they are rigorous. Four of the papers have been pulled for “compromised” peer review, some of which are due to the actions of an “external agent,” according to the journal. A co-author of one of these manuscripts, however, claims the paper has been pulled for using material from another researcher’s paper without acknowledgement but the journal has retracted it for issues with peer review.

The remaining paper has been pulled for plagiarizing from another published paper.

Let’s take a look at the retraction notice for the four papers felled by rigged peer review, which are all similar. They read: Read the rest of this entry »

Research assistant fired for using student’s thesis in a paper

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Reviews in Medical Microbiology

A research assistant at King Saud University (KSU) has lost his job after he used material from a student’s thesis without permission or attribution in a paper.

Lakshmana Krishnappa was terminated after a disciplinary committee considered his case last November, the vice dean for postgraduate training and research at KSU told Retraction Watch. In April of last year, Krishnappa retracted a paper published in January 2015 — we think that’s the date; the journal doesn’t make it all that clear — that included plagiarized material, published in Reviews in Medical Microbiology. He recently lost a second unrelated paper for duplication.

Here’s the retraction notice for the Reviews in Medical Microbiology paper, “Acinetobacter baumannii: pathogenecity, virulence factors and their correlation with adherence and invasion:”

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Engineer: Paper plagiarized my thesis — badly

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GeoScience EngineeringAn engineering journal has published a statement by a researcher alleging that a 2015 paper in the same journal plagiarized his thesis — and was so poorly done it “should not have been published.”

In the “counterstatement” to the 2015 paper, Christian Siep of the Rostock University in Germany said the paper — about the development of a Marine Spatial Data Infrastructure (MSDI) in Croatia — took content from his dissertation thesis, about MSDI geoportals in Germany.

In addition, Siep argued that the original paper, “A Framework for Evaluation of Marine Spatial Data Geoportals Using Case Studies,” in GeoScience Engineering (GSE) — shows “major weaknesses” and therefore “should have not been published even [if] it was not plagiarized.”

Siep told us: Read the rest of this entry »

Journals retract two heart papers with “nearly identical” abstracts

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Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 4.46.17 PMJournals have retracted two papers after realizing that they contain “nearly identical” abstracts and introductions, published only months apart. 

The two retracted papers, along with a third that also contains similar text, all conclude that a certain polymorphism could signal a risk for coronary artery disease among Chinese people, though each paper presents different data. The papers do not have any authors in common; the first authors are all based at different hospitals in China. The editor in chief of one journal told us that some of the reviewers did not use institutional email addresses, which leaves open the possibility that they were fake emails, and the peer-review process was compromised.

Here’s the first retraction notice, for “Fibroblast growth factor receptor 4 polymorphisms and susceptibility to coronary artery disease,” published in DNA and Cell Biology. The notice states the paper contains:

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How did two papers on same gene with different authors, publishers, end up with identical retraction notices?

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1-s2.0-S0006291X16X00058-cov150h1Here’s an interesting case: We’ve found two retracted papers that describe the same gene, and both have nearly identical retraction notices. What’s unusual is that the two papers don’t have any authors in common, and appeared in two different journals published by two different companies.

The cause of both papers’ demise: Plagiarism, and use of unpublished data without permission “from an unnamed source,” who wishes to remain that way. The author of one of the papers confirmed to us that the unnamed source is a “3rd party service company.” Springer told us that the third party in the other paper, however, is another researcher.

It’s a puzzling case, to be sure. We think we have uncovered some of what happened, but remain slightly fuzzy on the details.

Here’s the first retraction, for “KDM3A interacted with p53K372me1 and regulated p53 binding to PUMA in gastric cancer,” originally published online September 30 by Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications:

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Communications researcher loses two book chapters, investigated for plagiarism

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BrillA researcher who studies how others communicate is struggling with his own communications: Peter J. Schulz has lost two book chapters for misappropriating the work of others, and is under investigation by his university.

Although the publisher believes the errors were unintentional, the retractions have prompted it to stop selling the books altogether.

Schulz now has a total of three retractions and one erratum for failing to properly cite other works. The University of Lugano in Switzerland, where he is based, told us they’re investigating allegations of plagiarism against him.

Both of the chapters that were recently retracted appear in books published by Brill. The retraction notes say the same thing:

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Written by Shannon Palus

April 18th, 2016 at 9:30 am

Peer reviewer stole text for her own dentistry paper, says journal investigation

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Journal of Conservative DentistryFollowing a “thorough investigation,” the Journal of Conservative Dentistry (JCD) has retracted a paper after concluding that the first author stole the text from another paper when peer reviewing it for a different journal. 

The JCD decided that the 2013 paper about white spot lesions and inhibiting the growth of the bacteria Streptococcus mutans in the mouth is a “verbatim copy” of a paper that was rejected by the International Journal of Paediatric Dentistry in 2012 but published by The Journal of Clinical Pediatric Dentistry in 2014.

The first author denied the charges, saying she had finished the paper before reviewing the other, which she suggested rejecting.

Let’s take a look at the retraction note, which tells us more about the journal’s investigation: Read the rest of this entry »

Neuroscientist in Serbia set to notch 7th retraction amid investigation

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Lidija Radenović

Amidst an ongoing investigation by the University of Belgrade in Serbia into allegations of duplication by neurobiologist Lidija Radenović, a journal is planning to retract another one of her papers.

Radenović has already racked up six retractions; Elinor Ben-Menachem, the chief editor of the journal, Acta Neurologica Scandinavica, confirmed her journal is planning to retract one paper co-authored by Radenović, but did not specify which one. After digging around on the journal’s website, we found only one paper co-authored by Radenović, which was 2005 study about the molecular changes that follow stroke. 

Ben-Menachem, who is based the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, said the retraction note for the paper is “not ready” yet, and declined to comment on the case in more detail, including the reason for retraction. Read the rest of this entry »

Author appeared to use phony Caltech co-authors, up to 8 retractions

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ACBEA journal has retracted three articles from a chemist in Portugal with a history of problems with co-authors and data — the exact problems cited by the new notices.

Specifically, it appears as if Rodrigo J.G. Lopes made up the affiliations of multiple co-authors from the California Institute of Technology, causing the journal to “doubt the existence of the authors.”

Lopes first came to our attention in 2013, when he lost a paper in the Chemical Engineering Journal for including data he couldn’t have produced, as the lab lacked the necessary equipment. That had followed a previous retraction, when Lopes added co-authors without their permission. We’ve since found other retractions for Lopes, bringing his total to eight, by our count. Read the rest of this entry »

Journal retracts groundwater pollution paper for plagiarism

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ecotoxThe journal Ecotoxicology has retracted a paper that described a way to analyze nitrates in groundwater after discovering the authors had lifted a substantial amount of material from three other papers.

Here is the retraction notice for “Isotopic analysis of N and O in NO3 – by selective bacterial reduction to N2O for groundwater pollution:” Read the rest of this entry »