Retraction for water researchers who ripped off dissertation

JCAMcoverA pair of engineers at Hohai University in Nanjing, China, has lost their 2012 paper in the Journal of Computational and Applied Mathematics. The reason: The article, “Study of the New Leon model for concrete failure,” wasn’t theirs to publish.

According to the retraction notice (which is dated September 2013 but has already appeared in ScienceDirect):

This article has been retracted at the request of the Editor-in-Chief.

  • The first two authors (Xu Juncai and Shen Zhenzhong) submitted the article without informing the third author (Bernhard Valentini) and added his name as co-author without his permission.
  • The article contains several pages that were copied from the Ph.D. thesis entitled ‘A three-dimensional constitutive model for concrete and its application to large scale finite element analysis’ by Bernhard Valentini (Univ. Innsbruck, 2011), without making any reference to it.

We couldn’t find any evidence that Xu and Shen crossed academic paths with Valentini, whose email address at Innsbruck seems to be defunct. That suggests a few possibilities: That the two Chinese researchers stole from Valentini but gave him unwitting credit — either because they didn’t really intend to steal his intellectual property or because they felt that doing so would mean they weren’t really stealing after all.

By the way, have you read our new novel? It’s called Absalom, Absalom — Oh, Man, Absalom! Here’s the first part:

Holy cow was it hot. Like, how hot it gets when a decaying ancestral plantationhouse burns to the ground, but not quite at the end which is cooler than the moment at which the whole thing is consumed with its own iniquity but the part just before then, when it’s really quite a bit warmer than that.

From a little after two oclock until almost sundown of the long hot weary dead September afternoon they sat in what Miss Coldfield still called the office because her father had called it that—a dim hot airless room with the blinds all closed and fastened for forty-three summers because when she was a girl someone had believed that light and moving air carried heat and that dark was always cooler, and which (as the sun shone fuller and fuller on the side of the house) became latticed with yellow slashes full of dust motes which Quentin thought of as being flecks of the dead old dried paint itself blown inward from the scaling blinds as wind might have blown them.

(The authors would like to acknowledge W. Faulkner for his assistance in preparing this manuscript, and for other editorial help.)

0 thoughts on “Retraction for water researchers who ripped off dissertation”

  1. One can only wonder WHY the identical case of Michael Pyshnov is NOT treated identically, i.e. Why the plagiarised paper of Ellen Larsen is not retracted???

    The original paper: “Cell Patterns Associated with Normal and Mutant Morphogenesis
    in Silver Stained Drosophila Imaginal Discs” by Michael Pyshnov and Ellen Larsen, where the manuscript is submitted on 14 April 1987 in Trans. Am. Microsc. Soc. (MS #483-87, received April 14, 1987)

    The plagiarised paper: “Cell Patterns Associated with Normal and Mutant Morphogenesis in Silver-impregnated Imaginal Discs of Drosophila” by Ellen Larsen and Aaron Zorn, which is published in the same journal – Trans. Am. Microsc. Soc., 108(1): 51-57, 1989, but TWO years later!!!

    The very basic justice requires identical cases to be treated identically.

    And without justice society disintegrates – this has been pointed out by many philosophers for over two thousand years now.

  2. Actually, this raises interesting questions with regard to dissertations and later papers.
    Any opinions on (OK, gray zone, NOT OK)?

    1) Dissertation author later publishes a paper based closely on part of it, cites the dissertation.

    2) Author publishes a paper based closely on part of it, does not cite the dissertation.

    3) Author turns an original contribution part of dissertation into a review article, with no citation.

    4) Author and dissertation advisor(as coauthor) do paper that is mostly near-verbatim chunk of dissertation, with citation.

    5) Author and dissertation advisor(as coauthor) do paper that is mostly near-verbatim chunk of dissertation,, without citation.

    6) Author and dissertation advisor( do paper that is mostly near-verbatim chunk of dissertation,, without citation, but dissertation writer listed as coauthor, with advisor as lead author.

    7) Advisor uses chunks of their students’ dissertations, near-verbatim, with no acknowledgement, in Federal grant proposal.

    1. assuming “author” refers to “dissertation author” throughout:
      1. OK
      2. OK
      3. OK
      4. OK
      5. OK (though would expect that the dissertation origin of the paper would be apparent from the acknowledgements/funding sources: e.g. “this paper constitutes a part of the submission of XYZ for a PhD”….”XYZ was funded by a PhD studentship from XYZ”…)
      6. OK; there isn’t really a “lead author”. There is a “corresponding author” who has a specific role, and so it’s quite common that the dissertation supervisor
      takes this role, but not always…)
      7. definitely grey, tending to not OK. Difficult to understand why the dissertation origin of work from a lab in support of a grant application wouldn’t be cited.

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