Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘physics retractions’ Category

Data irregularities force author to retract three solar cell papers

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An engineer has retracted three papers on a method for making nanoscale materials that are useful in solar cells.

The papers, all published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, contain irregularities in data, and one includes images “which have been published elsewhere and identified with different samples,” according to the note.

The first author on all three papers is Khalid Mahmood, who — according to the bio from a talk he gave last year on efficient solar cells — is currently a postdoc at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia. He did the work in the retracted papers while a student at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, where, according to the bio, he completed his PhD in two years.

Here’s the retraction note for the first paper (which also contains a typo in the title — “electrospay”)

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Former UCSD prof’s company admits to grant fraud

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court caseA company headed by a former astrophysicist at the University of California, San Diego, has agreed to forfeit $180,000 after admitting to defrauding the government.

If SciberQuest, Inc. is unable to pay back the money — the result of fraudulently obtaining government grants and contracts — then its CEO Homayoun Karimabadi will be personally liable, the lawyer for SciberQuest and Karimabadi told Retraction Watch.

We asked if the company was going to be able to repay the $180,000; in response, Robert Rose of firm Sheppard Mullin told us: Read the rest of this entry »

Satellite paper grounded for plagiarizing — from the same journal

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1-s2.0-S0094576515X00129-cov150hPlagiarism happens; we see it a lot. But some cases stand out from the crowd.

For instance, we just came across an example where authors plagiarized from a paper in the same journal. Specifically, a 2015 paper on satellite orbits was found to have “extensive overlap” with another paper published in Acta Astronautica four years earlier. The last authors of the papers have connections, too — they used to work together at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in India, and in 2006, they co-authored a paper together.

M. Xavier James Raj is author on the retracted paper. He was a PhD student under R.K. Sharma, author of the paper he borrowed from. Sharma currently works at Karunya University in India.

Here’s the retraction note for “Analytical orbit predictions for low and high eccentricity orbits using uniformly regular KS canonical elements in an oblate atmosphere:”

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Written by Shannon Palus

January 18th, 2016 at 2:00 pm

Robot for stroke patients paper copied 3 pages of equations

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A 2014 paper on a robotic system for patients who have had a stroke contains three pages of equations that are not original.

According to the retraction note, “Cascade controller design and stability analysis in FES-aided upper arm stroke rehabilitation robotic system” copied the equations from a paper that other researchers presented at a conference in 2012. The papers both describe a system that delivers a boost of electricity to stroke patients’ arms to help them perform a task.

Here’s the note, from Nonlinear Dynamics:

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Science retracts physics paper after magnetic field wasn’t what it seemed

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F1.mediumScience has retracted an August paper on an interesting electric current researchers observed in a kind of material called a topological insulator. Well, a current the researchers — based at Stanford and MIT — thought they had observed.

A magnetic field with particular attributes reported in the paper seemed to provide evidence of the current. But the researchers soon discovered that the field might have been, in part, an artifact of the very device they used to detect it. The authors, along with a few other researchers, have published that subsequent finding on the physics preprint server, arXiv.

Here’s the retraction note:
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In more faked peer review news…10 papers pulled by Hindawi

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Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 9.57.36 AMGuess what? We’ve got more cases of fraudulent peer review to report — our second post of the day on the subject, in fact. In the latest news, Hindawi Publishing Corporation has retracted 10 papers for “fraudulent review reports,” after an investigation of more than 30 papers that had been flagged this summer.

The investigation found that author Jason Jung, a computer engineer at Yeungnam University in Korea, “was involved in submitting the fraudulent review reports” for four of the retracted papers, according to the publisher’s CEO. In the case of the other six, the authors didn’t appear to be involved.

Hindawi Publishing Corporation, which publishes over 400 journals, doesn’t ask authors for potential review suggestions — making a common route to fake peer review more difficult.  In July, when Hindawi announced it was investigating the papers, it posted a statement saying that they suspected the editors had created fake reviewer accounts.

The retraction note on Jung’s papers — identical except for the title at the beginning — explains that each paper has

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Astrophysicists issue two detailed corrections

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1.coverA group of astrophysicists has notched a pair of corrections for papers on galaxy clusters, thanks to an error that affected several figures in the papers, but not the overall conclusions.

The errors came in the catalog of “mock” galaxies that first author Fabio Zandanel, a postdoc at the University of Amsterdam, created to model features that are found in clusters of galaxies. Two mistakes canceled each other out “almost perfectly,” says Zandanel, making the changes that resulted from them subtle.

Zandanel explained the errors to us:

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Investigation into CT scan paper reveals plagiarism

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Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 10.02.20 AMA paper on the quality of computed tomography (CT) images of the human body didn’t stand up to a close examination. It’s been retracted after an investigation found that it plagiarized work from two publications and a poster by another researcher.

The text in the Journal of the Korean Physical Society paper was taken from work by Kenneth Weiss, a radiologist at the University of Miami, and Jane Weiss, CFO of the couple’s medical imaging company. According to emails that Jane Weiss forwarded to us, Kenneth Weiss brought the plagiarism to light after a PhD student pointed out the similarities between the JKPS paper and one of Weiss’s in the American Journal of Roentgenology. Weiss notified the AJR in January. They started an investigation into the matter, and alerted the JKPS.

The retraction note for “Measurement of image quality in CT images reconstructed with different kernels” provides more details about the investigation:

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Journal repels a paper on a magnetic material after authorship, funding issues

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A paper on the properties of a magnetic material is being retracted after including an author without his permission, and omitting a funding source.

According to the note, the work was done in Miao Yu‘s lab at Chongqing University in China; the authors then added Yu’s name to the paper without his authorization, and neglected to list a relevant funding source.

Here’s the retraction note for “Temperature-dependent dynamic mechanical properties of magnetorheological elastomers under magnetic field,” published in the Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials:

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Black hole paper by teenaged prodigy retracted for duplication

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Screen Shot 2015-11-25 at 8.39.44 AMAn astrophysics journal is retracting a paper on black holes whose first author is a teenager about to earn his PhD, after learning the paper “draws extensively” from a book chapter by the last author.

Many papers are pulled for duplication, but few get a news release from the publisher about it. In a move that we approve of, the editors of The Astrophysical Journal announced the forthcoming retraction on the American Astronomical Society (AAS) website.

The paper‘s first author Song Yoo-Geun who turns 18 this month, and is on track to earn his doctorate next year from the University of Science and Technology in South Korea. According to the news release, the paper borrows heavily from a book chapter published in 2002 by his adviser and co-author, Seok Jae Park at the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute.

AAS is handling this very quickly. The paper was published in October, someone alerted the journal to the duplication on November 14, and the announcement of the retraction went up on the AAS website just ten days later.

The retraction note for “Axisymmetric nonstationary black hole magnetospheres: revisited” will be published in the next issue of ApJ. In the meantime, the news release explains what happened:

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