Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘plagiarism’ Category

Consultant admits to plagiarizing Air Force colonel’s paper on leadership

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Thomas Mattus

A consultant has admitted to plagiarizing a U.S. Air Force officer in a paper on leadership, and says his company is now in jeopardy of losing top clients, including Fortune 100 companies.

On Tuesday, we reported allegations that Thomas Mattus, president of the project management consulting firm Successful Strategies International (SSI), plagiarized in a 2012 paper he wrote for a conference run by the Project Management Institute (PMI). The article he plagiarized, on the topic of “transformational leadership,” was written in 2001 by Col. Mark Homrig, now a section chief at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Mattus, who had not previously replied to our request for comment, has now admitted to copying Homrig’s article. He told us: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Andrew P. Han

January 4th, 2018 at 8:05 am

Consultant allegedly plagiarized US Air Force officer

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A business consultant allegedly plagiarized an article on leadership written by a former U.S. Air Force officer who is now a high-ranking official in the Department of Homeland Security.

Thomas Mattus, president and founder of a business training firm, submitted a paper to the Project Management Institute (PMI) Global Congress in Vancouver, Canada. The paper, on “transformational leadership,” defined the term and its relevance to the world of project management. PMI accepted “Transformational leadership for project managers” as a conference paper and posted it in 2012 to the PMI website.

But a researcher at the U.S. Naval War College alleges that Mattus plagiarized the paper from an article written in 2001 by Mark Homrig, who was a colonel in the Air Force at the time. Homrig is now a section chief at Homeland Security.

The researcher, Brenda Oppermann, told us:

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Written by Andrew P. Han

January 2nd, 2018 at 12:20 pm

JAMA journal calls for formal investigation into surgery group’s work

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A JAMA journal has issued an expression of concern for a 2013 paper after discovering “substantial overlap” with a recently retracted paper in another journal.

In April 2017, the editors of JAMA Otolaryngology − Head & Neck Surgery received allegations that the paper included data that had been published in other journals. After investigating, the editors discovered extensive overlap between several sections of the JAMA paper and a now-retracted 2015 paper by the same group. The 2015 paper, published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons (JACS), was pulled in July 2017, after the editors determined the statistical results were “incorrect” and “the data do not support the conclusions of the article.”

Given the overlap between the two papers, the JAMA editors contacted the University of L’Aquila, where the authors work, to request a formal investigation to evaluate the “integrity of the research.” Jay Piccirillo, the editor of JAMA Otolaryngology − Head & Neck Surgery, told us:

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University in Japan suspends professor one month for plagiarism

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Hyogo University of Teacher Education

A professor at a Japanese teachers college has admitted to plagiarism, according to a university report, and was suspended for one month.

On Nov. 24, Hyogo University of Teacher Education announced the results of a misconduct investigation; according to the report, the professor confessed to plagiarizing in a paper.

We translated the notice and were able to learn a little bit about the investigation. Notably missing: both the professor’s and paper’s names.

Here’s how the investigation happened, according to the report: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Andrew P. Han

December 27th, 2017 at 8:00 am

Author wins judgment against Elsevier in lawsuit over retraction

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The author of a 2009 commentary exploring “sexually specific infanticide” in bears has won a judgment against Elsevier for using “untruthful and unverified” language in a 2011 retraction notice.

The last author, Miguel Delibes, who filed the suit in 2014, explained that the judge ruled he should accept the journal’s decision to retract his paper, but “confirmed that my honorability had been damaged” by the false accusation in the original retraction notice. According to a new note on the paper from the publisher, the court required the journal to publish part of its ruling to correct the record. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Victoria Stern

December 20th, 2017 at 10:30 am

Journalist gets death threats after reporting plagiarism accusations against Croatian official

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Damir Krstičević

Plagiarism scandals involving top government officials in the Balkans are not rare. But when Croatia’s defense minister Damir Krstičević was accused last week of plagiarizing parts of his research project, things got ugly.

The minister summoned a press conference within a day, in which he indignantly downplayed any plagiarism accusation and turned the tables by verbally attacking the journalist who first printed the allegations. Following the press conference, the journalist received death threats on social media.

Nenad Jarić Dauenhauer, science reporter for a popular news website,, reported how the minister’s 1997/98 paper at the United States Army War College in Carlisle, Pa., contained several paragraphs that seemed to be completely copied from two other works.  

Whether the college will act on this new revelation is unclear. The public affairs office hasn’t yet responded to our request for comment.

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Written by micotatalovic

December 8th, 2017 at 8:00 am

Posted in croatia,plagiarism

Journal to assemble “senior editorial committee” to review paper that led to board resignations

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Following heavy criticism of its decision to correct — instead of retract — a paper accused of plagiarism, Scientific Reports is adding an editor’s note to the paper and forming a committee to review the case.

The 2016 paper in question has been accused of plagiarism by a researcher at Johns Hopkins, Michael Beer. Following the initial allegation, the journal decided to correct, not retract, the paper. After we covered the story, nearly two dozen Hopkins researchers threatened to resign if the journal didn’t retract the paper. This week, the journal reaffirmed its initial decision, and the resignations are pouring in.

Yesterday, Suzanne Farley, Executive Editor of Scientific Reports, a Nature Publishing Group journal, sent us a statement:

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Written by Alison McCook

November 10th, 2017 at 8:00 am

17 Johns Hopkins researchers resign in protest from ed board at Nature journal

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More than a dozen members of the editorial board at Scientific Reports have resigned after the journal decided not to retract a 2016 paper that a researcher claims plagiarized his work.

As of this morning, 19 people — mostly researchers based at Johns Hopkins — had stepped down from the board, according to Hopkins researcher Steven Salzberg. Salzberg organized the response after learning of the issue from colleague Michael Beer, who has accused the 2016 paper of plagiarism.

Monday morning, Richard White, the editor of the journal (published by Springer Nature), sent an email to Salzberg and the researchers who had threatened to resign if the paper wasn’t retracted, saying:

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Written by Alison McCook

November 7th, 2017 at 11:02 am

Author loses five recent papers for copying multiple figures, unspecified “overlap”

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Two journals have retracted five recent papers by a researcher in Saudi Arabia after discovering extensive overlap, which one journal called plagiarism.

In one retracted paper, all schemes and figures are copies from other publications; in another, more than half of the figures are lifted. The journal that retracted the other three papers did not provide details about the nature of the overlap.

All five retracted papers—originally published within the last 15 months—have the same corresponding author: Soliman Mahmoud Soliman Abdalla, a professor of physics at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

According to a spokesperson for Polymers, readers flagged two papers in July 2017; both were retracted in August.

The spokesperson for Polymers told us that the journal ran the papers through the plagiarism detection software, iThenticate, but found “no significant levels of copied text.” The journal says it missed the overlap because:

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Written by Victoria Stern

November 2nd, 2017 at 8:50 am

Caught Our Notice: 4th retraction for peer reviewer who stole manuscript

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Via Wikimedia

Title: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, diet and gut microbiota

What Caught Our Attention: The paper was co-authored by Carmine Finelli, who in the past took responsibility for a dramatic transgression: Stealing material from an unpublished manuscript by one of its reviewers. After the paper that stole from the manuscript was retracted in 2016, Finelli earned a second retraction earlier this year — again, for plagiarism. (He’s also lost another paper from Oncotarget, which was removed without any information.) Now, a fourth retraction has popped up, for using material “published previously.”  Unsure of the source of this material, we Googled some of the phrases from the retracted article.  While we cannot say for sure,  we offer these comparisons for you — the reader — to consider: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison Abritis

November 1st, 2017 at 11:05 am