Plant Science retracts paper for reused data, forged authorship

Moez Smiri, a graduate student in a Tunisian-French laboratory collaboration, clearly needed publications on his CV. But we wouldn’t recommend his solution to the problem.

Smiri used cut-and-paste data (his own, to be fair) to write a flurry of manuscripts that he sent around to a variety of journals, most of them deeply obscure. And, for a little gravitas, he also added the names of several co-authors — without their knowledge.

The result, from Plant Science:

RETRACTED: Redox regulation of the glutathione reductase/iso-glutaredoxin system in germinating pea seed exposed to cadmium.

Smiri M, Chaoui A, Rouhier N, Gelhaye E, Jacquot JP, El Ferjani E.


Bio-Physiologie Cellulaires, Faculté des Sciences de Bizerte, 7021 Zarzouna, Tunisia; Unité Mixte de Recherches, 1136 Interaction arbres-microorganismes INRA-Université Henri-Poincaré, IFR110, Faculté des Sciences, BP 239, 54506 Vandoeuvre cedex, France.


This article has been retracted: please see Elsevier Policy on Article Withdrawal ( The editors would like to confirm the retraction of this paper at the request of the co-authors who had no prior knowledge on the actions of the lead author. This article contains data that was duplicated in: Smiri M, Chaoui A, Rouhier N, Gelhaye E, Jacquot JP, El Ferjani E. Cadmium Affects the Glutathione/Glutaredoxin System in Germinating Pea Seeds. Biol. Trace Elem. Res., 142 (2010) 93-105, doi:10.1007/s12011-010-8749-3; Smiri M, Chaoui A, Rouhier N, Gelhaye E, Jacquot JP, El Ferjani E. Effect of cadmium on resumption of respiration in cotyledons of germinating pea seeds. Ecotox. Environ. Safe., 73 (2010) 1246-1254, doi:10.1016/j.ecoenv.2010.05.015; Smiri M, Chaoui A, Rouhier N, Gelhaye E, Jacquot JP, El Ferjani E. NAD pattern and NADH oxidase activity in pea (Pisum sativum L.) under cadmium toxicity. Physiol. Mol. Biol. Plants, 16 (2010) 305-315, doi:10.1007/s12298-010-0033-7; Smiri M, Chaoui A, Rouhier N, Gelhaye E, Jacquot JP, El Ferjani E. Oxidative damage and redox change in pea seeds treated with cadmium. C. R. Biol., 333 (2010) 801-807, doi:10.1016/j.crvi.2010.09.002; Smiri M, Chaoui A, Rouhier N, Kamel C, Gelhaye E, Jacquot JP, El Ferjani E. Cadmium induced mitochondrial redox changes in germinating pea seed. BioMetals, 23 (2010) 973-984, doi:10.1007/s10534-010-9344-y. The co-authors apologize for this unfortunate incident.

The paper has been cited once, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. The retraction notice, which recently popped up on Medline, provides a lot of detail, which is good. But it’s not quite as clear as it ought to be. The major hole is what “the actions of the lead author” entail.

According to Thomas Okita, an editor of Plant Science, the problems surfaced when one of Smiri’s advisers contacted the journal.

He did not have the consent of the co-authors [to publish]. None of the co-authors had knowledge about these papers.

Okita said officials at Elsevier, which publishes Plant Science, would be working to arrange the retractions of the other publications. We have reached out to the company to find out the status of the case and will update this post when we learn more.

Smiri and the senior author, El Ferjani, have not returned emails seeking comment.

Ironically, Okita added

 the papers are pretty good. He was very aggressive in terms of publishing.

0 thoughts on “Plant Science retracts paper for reused data, forged authorship”

  1. What is aggressive in terms of publishing? Is there room to negotiate how to get your paper published? I have just signed whatever the journal gives me…

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