Saudi journal retracts paper on new chemicals for being, well, not new

JSaudChemIrony alert: If you’re going to publish a paper on purportedly new molecules, please try to make sure those substances are indeed novel. Here’s case were that wasn’t quite so.

The Journal of Saudi Chemical Society has retracted a 2011 paper by a researcher who lifted the entire article from a previously published paper by someone else.

The paper in question, “Synthesis and antimicrobial activity of some new quinazolin-4(3H)-one derivatives,” came from Adnan Kadi at Kind Saud University in Riyadh. But according to the retraction notice, only a few words in that title — “some” and “quinazolin” were accurate. “New,” certainly not. (We suppose “derivatives” hits the mark, but for the wrong reason.)

This article has been retracted at the request of the Editor-in-Chief because the author has plagiarized in its entirety an article that has already been published in 2008 by Ahmed M. Alafeefy [Pharmaceutical Biology, 2008 Vol. 46 Issue 10–11, pp. 751–756,]. The author was contacted through the Scientific Council of the King Saud University and Saudi Chemical Society and it was decided by the council to withdraw the article due to duplication of content.

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.

Peer review under responsibility of King Saud University.

As the listing for the Pharmaceutical Biology paper — titled “Synthesis and Antimicrobial Activity of Some New Quinazolin-4(3H)-one Derivatives,” shows, Alafeefy is the sole author. He happens to share a department with Kadi, as well as, evidently, research interests. The two men also show up on a 2008 article in Archiv der Pharmazie, with the title, wait for it: “Synthesis, Analgesic and Anti-Inflammatory Evaluation of Some New 3H-Quinazolin-4-one Derivatives.

You can be forgiven for being confused about all this. After all, we found this 2008 paper, “Synthesis of some new quinazolin-4-one derivatives and evaluation of their antimicrobial and antiinflammatory effects,” from a group in Egypt.

The now-retracted paper has been cited once, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

0 thoughts on “Saudi journal retracts paper on new chemicals for being, well, not new”

  1. I am curious. The web-site states: Copyright © 2013 King Saud University. Production and hosting by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. Peer Review under the responsibility of King Saud University.
    So, when authors who have published in this journal, and sign off their paper’s copyright, do they sign it off to Elsevier Ltd. or to Kng Saud University? Secondly, if Elsevier apparently ascribes to the COPE ethical guidelines, paying extraordinarily high annual fees for membership, but apparently washes its hands free of any ethical obligations when these cases take place in the journals that it simply “hosts”, then what ethical guidelines in fact does King Saud University follow? Who actually produced the retraction notice, Elsevier, or KSU?

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