Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘materials science’ Category

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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Researcher in Brazil earns 12th retraction for recycling text and figures

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Thermochimica ActaA scientist in Brazil has gained his twelfth retraction for reusing text and figures from previously published papers.

In 2011, Elsevier announced that it would retract 11 papers by Claudio Airoldi, a researcher at the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP) in Brazil. Subsequently, he was suspended for 45 days, and his co-author on the 11 previously pulled papers, Denis de Jesus Lima Guerra, lost his post at the Federal University of Mato Grosso (also in Brazil).

Now, a 12th retraction has appeared for Airoldi — this time in Thermochimica Acta.

Here’s the latest retraction notice, issued earlier this year: Read the rest of this entry »

Why did a chemistry journal fix fraud with a correction instead of a retraction?

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Chemical Communciations

Are some cases of research fraud fixable with a correction notice?

A chemistry journal thought so in 2014, when it issued a correction notice for a 2012 paper after the first author admitted to manipulating an image. After an investigation, the publisher agreed the manipulation was a “clear breach” of its ethical guidelines, but decided not to retract the paper since the overall conclusions remain valid.

The last author told us the first author had to repeat the experiments under supervision, and received a “serious warning.”

It’s an older notice, but one we thought interesting enough to cover now. Once you’ve read through the journal’s reasoning, tell us if you agree with the decision to correct (rather than retract) the paper in a poll at the bottom of this post.

Here’s the correction for “A novel route for preparing highly proton conductive membrane materials with metal-organic frameworks,” issued by Chemical Communications:

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Researcher faked emails for co-authors, submitted paper without consent

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A material science journal has retracted a paper after discovering that the first author faked email addresses for co-authors to submit the paper without their permission.

The journal, Materials, also discovered that the 2016 paper had plagiarized material from a 2013 paper previously published in Metallurgical and Materials Transactions A.

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

Author threatens to sue Elsevier if paper remains retracted

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Computational Materials Science

An author is prepared to sue Elsevier if it doesn’t un-retract his paper.

Computational Materials Science published two papers by the same author just eight months apart; nearly four years later, the journal pulled one for duplication. Author Masoud Panjepour, affiliated with Isfahan University of Technology in Iran, told us that he is working with a lawyer to negotiate a solution. However, if the publisher does not un-retract the paper, he does “not rule out filing a lawsuit.”

Here’s the retraction notice for “The effect of temperature on the grain growth of nanocrystalline metals and its simulation by molecular dynamics method,” which appeared last November:

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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 »

Physicists retract Nature paper on Earth’s core after findings aren’t reproducible

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cover_naturePhysicists have retracted a highly cited paper from Nature on the behavior of electrons at the center of the Earth after other researchers could not reproduce their findings.

The 2015 paper earned coverage in Science News and Live Science, where co-author Ronald Cohen explained:

There was a big problem in how you generate a magnetic field, and now, because of our results, that problem has basically gone away.

Here are more details about what the original paper claimed, courtesy of a press release from The Carnegie Institution for Science, where co-authors Peng Zhang and Cohen work: Read the rest of this entry »

Author didn’t want photodiode paper “for her academic career”

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A paper on the characteristics of a photodiode has been retracted corrected because one of the authors “does not want this article for her academic career.”

We don’t often see this kind of reasoning in retraction notices, since adding to one’s publication record is generally a good thing. But occasionally papers do get pulled when researchers are included against their wishes.

Here’s the entire retraction correction note for “Illumination response on the electrical characterizations *Cr/n-GaAs/In photodiode,” published in Optik – International Journal for Light and Electron Optics:

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