Plagiarism flushes sanitation paper

sci total envSometimes, the headlines just write themselves.

Two scientists in India have had a paper retracted after it became clear they had plagiarized a study by a Swedish researcher. Here’s the notice for “A conceptual model of people’s approach to sanitation,” from Science of the Total Environment:

This article has been retracted: please see Elsevier Policy on Article Withdrawal (

This article has been retracted at the request of the Editors.

The authors have plagiarized part of a paper that had already appeared in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, Volume 25 (2005), Pages 335–346. One of the conditions of submission of a paper for publication is that authors declare explicitly that their work is original and has not appeared in a publication elsewhere. Re-use of any data should be appropriately cited. As such this article represents a severe abuse of the scientific publishing system. The scientific community takes a very strong view on this matter and apologies are offered to readers of the journal that this was not detected during the submission process.

The paper has been cited seven times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. The paper the authors plagiarized, “A psychosocial analysis of the human-sanitation nexus,” from the Journal of Environmental Psychology, has been cited 10 times.

Hat tip: Alex Bond

3 thoughts on “Plagiarism flushes sanitation paper”

  1. What actually happens to the retracted paper? I mean, what happens post-mortem? I suspect the claims against Indian (and Indian sub-continent) scientists is going to EXPLODE after two recent posts on this blog. Mega fireworks ahead… Many papers I personally know written by Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi scientists are FULL of plagiarism, “apparently undetected” by the publishers. So, once again, publishers are RESPONSIBLE (to some extent).

  2. The original study was cited 10 times, the plagiarized version 7 times. So basically, 7 citations were abducted from the original author. Would it be appropriate to count citations as pertaining to the original paper? If so, one might demand that corrections to the 7 citing articles are published so that they don’t reference retracted work.

    1. And this is EXACTLY where Thomson Reuters has a part to play in responsibility. By having this gambling system, called the Impact Factor, based on the level of referencing, should the 10 or the 7 be excluded from “number of citations”? The fact that both 7 and 10 continue to be included, shows how the system is so gravely gamed. The IF will almost inevitably go up when fraud is factored into the equation… it should be adjusted to A/B = C – FRAUD! Someone needs to start asking tough questions to Thomson Reuters…

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