Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘engineering’ Category

Researcher denies faking reviews for 5 newly retracted papers

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engineering-failure-analysisJournals have retracted five papers by a materials researcher based in Poland after concluding the peer-review process had been faked. 

According to the retraction notices — which all appear in Elsevier journals and contain the same text — the papers were accepted due to “positive advice of at least one faked reviewer report,” which were submitted from fictitious email accounts for reviewers suggested by the author.

All five studies were solely authored by Mariusz Książek, who is based at the Wrocław University of Science and Technology in Poland, and has denied any wrongdoing.

A spokesperson from the Wrocław University of Science and Technology confirmed that the university “has taken legal actions.” 

Książek told Retraction Watch why he doesn’t agree with the decision to retract his papers: Read the rest of this entry »

Renewable energy researcher with troubled record loses another paper

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renewable-sustainable-energy-reviewsA renewable energy researcher who recycled material in several papers — and has already agreed to withdraw 10 studies — has lost another paper.

In January, we reported that six of 10 papers flagged by an investigation into author Shyi-Min Lu have either been retracted or withdrawn. Now, Lu has lost another paper that was not among the previous ten — again, for reproducing figures from earlier works without seeking permission from original authors. This paper was on a hot topic: gas hydrates, considered to be a potential new energy source to replace oil in the 21st century.

The investigations into Lu’s work took place at the Industrial Technology Research Institute in Hsinchu, Taiwan, where he was formerly based, and the National Taiwan University, in Taipei, Taiwan, which fired Lu from his position at the university’s energy research center.

Here’s the retraction notice in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, issued last month: Read the rest of this entry »

A plagiarism loop: Authors copied from papers that had copied from others

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2Note to self: If you’re going to duplicate your own work, don’t copy from papers that plagiarize others’ research.

Just such a mistake has cost a PhD candidate three papers — although his co-author argues that a company is in part to blame.

Hossein Jafarzadeh, who is studying mechanical engineering at the University of Tehran, apparently asked a company to complete photomicroscopy for his work. Instead of doing to the work, the company provided him with an image taken from another paper, according to Karen Abrinia, his co-author, who is based at the same institution.

That’s the explanation that Abrinia gave when we asked about three retractions that the pair share, at least.

What the notices tell us is a little more convoluted. Plagiarized material from two different papers ended up in two different papers by the pair. Then, the researchers copied from their own papers in a third paper. (We’re unclear if Abrinia attributes every step of the mess to a company or not. Confused yet?) 

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You’ve been dupe’d: Results so nice, journals published them twice

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With so many retraction notices pouring in, from time to time we compile a handful of straight-forward retractions.

Once again, this list focuses on duplications — but unlike other duplications, these authors were not at fault. Rather, these retractions occurred because the publishers mistakenly published the same paper twice — the result of a transfer between publishers, for instance, or accidentally publishing the unedited version of the paper. We’re forced to wonder, as we have before, whether saddling researchers’ CVs with a retraction is really the most fair way to handle these cases.

So without further ado, here’s five cases where the journal mistakenly duplicated a paper, and had to retract one version: Read the rest of this entry »

You’ve been dupe’d (again): Do these data look familiar? They are

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plant_growth_regulationWe can’t keep up with the growing number of retraction notices, so we’ve compiled a list of recent duplications to update our records.

1. Authors don’t always intentionally duplicate their own work, of course. The first paper on our list was retracted after the authors included a figure from a previous paper by accident, according to the publisher: Read the rest of this entry »

Engineering journal pulls two papers for “compromised” peer review

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The Open Mechanical Engineering Journal

An engineering journal has retracted two papers for faked or rigged peer review, but authors of one of the papers are objecting to the retraction. 

The first author of that paper told us he and his co-authors “absolutely disagree” with the retraction, and are prepared to use “legal means” to safeguard their “rights and interests.” He added: 

…my paper was published by normal ways, I don’t know why the peer review process was compromised and what the journal found in its investigation.

Here’s the retraction notice, which is similar for both papers: Read the rest of this entry »

Dairy journal retracts paper lacking co-authors’ consent

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Dairy science and technologyA journal about dairy science has retracted a paper after learning that it was published without the consent of all its authors.

An independent inquiry found no evidence of research misconduct, but nevertheless recommended that the institution — Curtin University in Perth, Australia — request to retract the paper.

Here’s the retraction notice, published in Dairy Science and Technology: Read the rest of this entry »

Oops — journal published same paper three times

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surface interface analysisOn November 25, 2014, a journal published an article on mass spectrometry. Then on December 18th they published it again — twice.

Yes: “Mass analysis by Ar-GCIB-dynamic SIMS for organic materials” was mistakenly published a total of three times.

Over a year later, the journal pulled the two redundant publications. Here’s the retraction notice for one of them:

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Authors suspended as duplications sink papers on ship building

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Computational Materials Science

A pair of researchers affiliated with the University of Galati in Romania were suspended after duplicating work in their papers on materials used to build ships, earning them four retractions last year, and one the year before.

According to Romanian newspaper Impact Est, in December an ethics committee found that co-authors Ionel Chirica and Elena-Felicia Beznea committed “a number of breaches of ethics,” including self-plagiarism. Both received two-year suspensions from holding certain research positions.

These aren’t the only problems Chirica has faced: In 2013, he resigned from his position as the director of the Doctoral School of Engineering, according to Impact Estfor reasons that are unclear. In 2012, he also lost two additional papers on which he is the sole author.

Last fall, Computational Materials Science retracted four papers by Chirica and Beznea, publishing almost identical notices. We’ll start with the one for “Response of ship hull laminated plates to close proximity blast loads:”

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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 »