Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘plagiarism euphemisms’ Category

When does “overlap” become plagiarism? Here’s what PLOS ONE decided

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PLOSOne

Consider this: Fragments of a PLOS ONE paper overlap with pieces of other publications. The authors used them without credit and without quotation marks.

This sounds an awful lot like plagiarism — using PLOS‘s own standards, even. But the journal isn’t calling it plagiarism. They’ve labeled this an instance of “text overlap,” a spokesperson told us, based on the amount of material that the paper shares with others.

The last author — Carlo Croce, who has two retractions under his belt — denies that he plagiarized, and says that his university has cleared him of a plagiarism charge from an anonymous whistleblower.

PLOS fixed this case last year with a correction notice — not the common course of action for a case of confirmed plagiarism. Take a look at the notice for yourself:

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Authors pull 4 papers from surgery journal for plagiarism

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BMC SurgeryThe authors of four papers have pulled them for “significant overlap” with other publications, as well as borrowing “large portions of text” — in other words, plagiarism.

Two of the newly retracted papers published in BMC Surgery also listed co-authors who were “not involved in the study;” a similar note appears for an additional 2015 retraction that we’ve found for one of the authors.

That one author is listed on all of the newly retracted papers: Bruno Amato of the University Federico II of Naples, Italy.

Here’s the retraction notice for “Peripheral blood mono-nuclear cells implantation in patients with peripheral arterial disease: a pilot study for clinical and biochemical outcome of neoangiogenesis,” which has been cited five times since it was published in November, 2012, according to Thomson Reuters Web of Science: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

June 6th, 2016 at 10:00 am

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

Biofuels paper burned by “improper citation methods” – ie, plagiarism

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crestCritical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology (CRESThas retracted a paper on biofuels for “improper citation methods.”

Given the journal’s track record, we’re guessing this is just another euphemism for plagiarism. (Also because the retraction notice flags a “breach of warranties made by the authors with respect to originality.”) In 2013, CREST retracted two papers for failing to use “proper citation,” which earned it top billing in our Lab Times column about publishers’ seemingly allergic reactions to the P-word.

Here’s some of the notice for “Promising Unconventional Pretreatments for Lignocellulosic Biomass”, which described new ways to process plant biomaterials into fuel: Read the rest of this entry »

“Unacceptable level of text parallels” loses neuroscientist a paper, but not her PhD

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maynoothWe should probably launch a new blog just on the euphemisms used for plagiarism.

A case of “inadequate procedural or methodological practices of citation or quotation” causing an “unacceptable level of text parallels” has sunk a review paper, but not a thesis, for a PhD who studied memory consolidation at Maynooth University in Ireland. According to a statement from the school, Jennifer Moore used “poor practice of citation and attribution” in both her thesis and in a review article published with her post-graduate P.I. in Reviews in the Neurosciences.

The review article, which has been cited four times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge, will be retracted. Because there was no data fabrication and “no misleading of other scientists or laboratories,” the school will not be retracting the thesis nor taking away her PhD.

According to Google Scholar, the review has been cited 8 times. Moore now works as a neuropsychologist at the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. We’ve contacted her for comment and will update if we hear back.

Here’s the notice for “Reconsolidation Revisited: A Review and Commentary on the Phenomenon”: Read the rest of this entry »

New favorite plagiarism euphemism: “Inadvertently copied text”

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biodata miningPlagiarism earned genomics researchers an erratum, not a retraction, in BioMed Central journal BioData Mining.

We keep a list of best euphemisms for plagiarism, and this one is right up there.

Here’s the notice for “An iteration normalization and test method for differential expression analysis of RNA-seq data”: Read the rest of this entry »

Mistaken punctuation, misreferencing, and other euphemisms for plagiarism

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soas_logo_3It’s always amusing to see how far a journal will bend over backward to avoid coming out and calling something “plagiarism.”

We’ve got two notices for you that exemplify the phenomenon, which we discussed in our Lab Times column last year.

The first, an article about apartheid, was presented at a student conference and published in the Polyvocia: The SOAS Journal of Graduate Research. It was later retracted because the author “should have used quotation marks around material written verbatim from that source.”

Here’s the notice: Read the rest of this entry »

Author steps in to clarify vague tuberculosis retraction

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You’ve got to love when an author is willing to detail the specifics of an unhelpful retraction notice.

This May, a paper came out in Journal of Thoracic Diseases about drug-resistant tuberculosis. It was retracted in June, for “some misconduct in the manuscript.”

Here’s the notice:

The article “Application status of MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry in the identification and drug resistance of Mycobacterium tuberculosis” (doi: 10.3978/j.issn.2072-1439.2014.02.19) that appeared on page 512-516 of the May 2014 issue of the Journal of Thoracic Disease needs to be withdrawn due to some misconduct in the manuscript. We are sorry for the inconvenience caused.

Since that’s pretty vague and unhelpful, we reached out to corresponding author Jiayun Liu, who gave us a thorough rundown:

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Heads up: “Borrowing” your student’s work will earn you a partial retraction — and a five-year publishing ban

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jeailWe have a curious case for the “avoiding the p word” files from the Journal of East Asia & International Law.

The paper in question, “Border Enforcement of Plant Variety Rights: A Comparison between Japan and Taiwan,” was written by Shun-liang Hsu and appeared in the Spring 2012 issue of the journal. Here are the first two pages.

The notice is quite detailed. It begins with the allegations against Hsu: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

January 29th, 2014 at 9:30 am

P values: Scientific journals’ top ten plagiarism euphemisms

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labtimes1113The other day, we nominated a phrase in a retraction notice for the prize “of most-extra-syllables-used-to-say-the-word-plagiarism” because a journal decided to call the act “inclusion of significant passages of unattributed material from other authors.”

That lovely phrase can now be added to our list of best euphemisms for plagiarism, which we highlight in our most recent column for LabTimes. There, you’ll find such gems as “unattributed overlap,” “a significant originality issue,” an “approach,” and an “administrative error.”

As we write: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

November 29th, 2013 at 9:30 am