Authors of three retracted PLOS ONE papers to retract four more, with one researcher resigning

ChemosphereThe hits keep coming for a research group at the Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH) in Chandigarh, India.

Last week, we reported that PLoS ONE was retracting three papers by the research group because “there are no data available underlying this study and thus…the published results are fabricated.” Now, according to The Hindu, four more papers are being retracted:

IMTECH director Girish Sahni told the Hindu:

“It is very unfortunate. As a director [of IMTECH], I feel bad about it…These papers were retracted based on the findings of the enquiry committee that was formed in January to look into the circumstances. It found that the data accompanying the papers were not supported by raw data in the lab.”

According to the Hindu, first author Fazlurrahman Khan has resigned from IMTECH.

43 thoughts on “Authors of three retracted PLOS ONE papers to retract four more, with one researcher resigning”

  1. Though Dr. Fazlurrahman Khan may be the main culprit , but how can rest of the authors be on the safe side especially the corresponding author Dr. Swaranjit Singh Cameotra who was supposed to be responsible for whole data along with Dr. Khan. And What about other co-authors like Munesh Kumari, Bhawna Vyas, Deepika Pal, Surendra Vikram. Why only Dr. Khan had resigned. As for any research article, all the authors are equally responsible when it comes to research data.

    Dr. Swaranjit Singh Cameotra should explain whole matter, as he is the team leader and corresponding author. So no fraud data could have come by bypassing him.

    Moreover, PlosOne is an open access journal which seeks article processing charges which is actually not a small amount. So could retraction of three articles will be the only penalty which PlosOne editorial management should pay.

    1. Imtech do not know the meaning of data fabrication. According to the listed four paper one is review paper. I just gone through all 4 paper.
      We do not understand what kind of data has been fabricated in review paper.

      1. This data has nothing got to do with scientific misconduct. This paper describes the poor standards of the peer review practices in Open Access journals and how some journals have conned scientists monetarily. Unfortunately the origin of the ip address to these journals and some of the bank transactions made online have been associated with India. In the light of the fact that tracing an individual based on information provided by the web (city of origin etc) is difficult to trace an individual in a densely populated country like India. Thus this country has become an hub of such activities including terrorism. And there are several famous examples of that.
        Based in such information, it is unfair to call all science and scientific information from India as fraudulent.

        1. Let’s put things in context. Allow me to quote some sources related to corruption in India, which affects science:
          a) “Close to 150 MP’s who were elected to Parliament have serious corruption charges.”
          http://socialsciences.in/article/corruption-india
          b) “Despite being established with the directive to do translational research and create real technologies, CSIR has been accused of transforming into a ritualistic, overly-bureaucratic organisation that does little more than churn out papers.”
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corruption_in_India
          c) A corrupt judicial?
          http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/nandygram/government-probe-must-unmask-all-players-in-justice-katjus-allegations-of-corruption-and-venality-in-higher-judiciary/
          d) Defamation charges against a corruption critic.
          http://corruptionindrdo.com/2014/07/07/dna-exclusive-scientist-sues-drdo-chief-avinash-chander-for-defamation/
          e) “an illegal mining mafia that, over five years, had made profits of $2 billion or more shipping illegal iron ore to China”
          http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21598967-graft-india-damaging-economy-country-needs-get-serious-about-dealing-it
          f) Corruption in the Indian education system.
          http://www.crazylearner.org/corruption-in-indian-education-system/

          How can one expect to demand ethics from scientists with such a toxic environment in the system?

          1. Corruption is the Goddess of India. Every one pray for corruption. Now corruption in India became a secular religion. In India if you will not do corruption….u will have to face the consequences either death or transfer or something else.

          2. Please put the things is a context and use the contexts sensibly.

            Political corruptions in USA
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_federal_political_scandals_in_the_United_States
            http://economyincrisis.org/content/political-corruption-on-the-rise

            Political corruptions in UK
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_scandals_in_the_United_Kingdom

            Top scientific misconduct
            http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/33695/title/Top-Science-Scandals-of-2012/

            And we know the US-Japanese,and the korean stem cell frauds. Does that imply that whole of USA and japan and Korea are corrupted ? And these are mere examples.

            Corruption is prevalent in all walks of life and its there every where. no country is spared. It exists to more or a less extent. If one normalizes the corruption rates in a country by the population it harbors, the real figures will emerge. .

            “How can one expect to demand ethics from scientists with such a toxic environment in the system? ”

            If you claim that the environment in the other countries is a determinant of the ethical standards of individuals, there should have been no scientific or for that matter any sorts of misconducts in these countries. Let me get you correct: Soem of the largest scandals in science itself have come from these so called “politically stable” countries.

            Its unfair to judge the ethical standards of individuals in a country based on some random news paper media reports or political statuses.

          3. Please try and understand that India is a huge country and it has its fair share of sub standard research institutes. Take a look at the premier institutes or even the mid range ones and their work and then comment. Also research is mainly autonomous and corruption in Government has little impact.

          4. I think you have digressed from the debate on the extent of malpractice in Indian academic community to a general diatribe of all social ills in India.
            -Sameer

        2. Though I agree that scientific misconduct is wrong, I also agree with Deepak that a incorrect data being published is a failure of the peer-review system. If I have to invoke psychology here then honesty is not an expected behavior from the most of the existing humans. If the author has wronged the scientific community, then so has the journal. Why is PLoS not questioned?

          Moreover this has got nothing to do with India. Get the data fully and prove using mathematics that something is a “fact”.

  2. According to hindu the fabricated data is similar the work done at georgia tech USA by dr khan prir to joining to imtech chandigarh. I think that more investigation is needed in this case by georgia tech. I think the retraction watch should contact to the georgia boss to know the real and whole story

    1. Few scientist are doing unethical practices and blame comes over all the Scientific community of India who are doing hard work and sincere research….this is very unfair. Corruption is present in every country and why to point out India only.

  3. Dr. JATDS and rest all who had doubt in the scientific standards of articles from Indian Origin, I would like to remind you that the total population of India is over 1.2 billion which is many folds larger than any country of this world except China. Our single state in India have more people than your whole country, so I would like to request you to please consider this statistics before even pointing and blaming whole Indians. And if Indians and their research are not of standards, then why they are in majors in NASA and Microsoft. And there is not a single good pharmaceutical company who is not hiring Indians and thats true with even universities. As I am an Indian, so I may be biased with the statistics, but whatever I will explain now is what available at retraction watch.

    1. Dr. Yueping Guo, USA article was retracted from Journal of Sound and Vibration. (http://retractionwatch.com/2014/07/21/boeing-engineer-has-two-papers-retracted-for-duplication/)
    2. Dr. Guangwen Tang and her team is from US and China who paper got retracted The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. (http://retractionwatch.com/2014/07/17/rice-researcher-in-ethics-scrape-threatens-journal-with-lawsuit-over-coming-retraction/)
    3. Dr. O. Panagiotopoulou and team is from University of London and Imperial College, United Kingdom whose article “‘What makes an accurate and reliable subject-specific finite element model? A case study of an elephant femur. J. R Soc. Interface 9, 351–361” is under concern. (http://retractionwatch.com/2014/07/17/authors-issue-their-own-expression-of-concern-about-elephant-femur-paper/)
    4. Dr. Mingli Liu and Group is from United states of America whose article was retracted from PlosOne. (http://retractionwatch.com/2014/07/17/plos-one-retracts-breast-cancer-genetics-paper-after-claim-of-misappropriated-data/)
    5. Dr. Pankaj and team is from Utrecht University, netherland whose paper got retracted from Nature. (http://retractionwatch.com/2014/07/16/second-nature-paper-by-researcher-found-to-have-violated-academic-integrity-retracted/)
    6. Dr. Hu Jian and coworkers are from China who plagiarized an article. (http://retractionwatch.com/2014/07/15/recursive-plagiarism-researchers-may-have-published-a-duplicate-of-a-study-retracted-for-plagiarism/)
    7. Dr. Samprasit W and coworkers are from Thailand whose paper retracted from AAPS Pharma SciTech (http://retractionwatch.com/2014/07/15/error-in-data-compilation-leaves-bitter-taste-for-paper-on-sweeter-tasting-pills/)
    8. Dr. Chiang Wei-ling who was Taiwan’s Education Minister. (http://retractionwatch.com/2014/07/14/taiwans-education-minister-resigns-in-wake-of-sage-peer-review-scandal/)
    9. Dr. Jindong Ji and coworkers are from China whose prostatectomy paper retracted from Journal of Surgical Research (http://retractionwatch.com/2014/07/14/misconduct-prompts-retraction-of-prostatectomy-paper/)
    10. Dr. DP Han was from Lowa State University, USA. (http://retractionwatch.com/2014/07/11/crack-down-on-scientific-fraudsters-our-op-ed-in-todays-new-york-times/)
    11. Dr. Ruixue Zhang and team is from China whose paper retracted from Journal of Thoracic Disease. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4014997/)
    12. Dr. Hongtao GUO and team was from USA whose paper retracted from Biochemical Journal. (http://www.biochemj.org/bj/461/4610347.pdf)
    13. Dr. Nina Wunderlich and team was from Germany and United Kingdom whose paper got retracted Cathet. Cardiovasc. Intervent. (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ccd.25402/full)
    14. Dr. WE Mahmoud and team was from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and USA whose paper got retracted from Langmuir. (http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/la502272t?journalCode=langd5)
    15. Dr. Silke Kern and team was from Sweden whose paper got retracted from Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0889159113005424)
    16. Dr. Benjamin Barré and team was from France whose 4 papers have been retracted though by themselves only. (http://retractionwatch.com/2014/07/01/geneticist-retracting-four-papers-for-significant-problems/)
    17. Dr.Johnathan N. Brantley and team was from USA whose paper got retracted from Science. (http://www.sciencemag.org/content/333/6049/1606.abstract?ijkey=78694254124d04721f76336b009504dfa511bb04&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha)

    and there are many more examples like this. So please stop blaming Indians from now onwards. After all this retraction, we never had pointed out that research in America, China, United Kingdom is bad, as we are no one to blame the whole country. This plagiarism is actually a disease caused by an anonymous virus which is spread through out world and we all have to be very careful and ethical, if we truely wish to combat this disease.

    1. Interesting, because Pankaj of your reference 5 above, is an Indian national, simply working abroad in the EU. As is/was Dipak Das: http://retractionwatch.com/2013/10/04/dipak-das-dies-at-67/
      I think it is important to stop listing all of the other countries that have problems (which of course we are aware of) and focus on cleaning up the fraud in India, academic and otherwise. This story at RW is about India, so the focus should be on India, of course (and on PLoS). And this has everything to do with the social ills and political corruption, and the stark poverty vs elitism divide. Other memorable stories at RW include (not exclusive):
      http://retractionwatch.com/2014/06/30/substantial-flaws-trip-up-big-toe-paper/
      http://retractionwatch.com/2014/06/24/physicists-with-retraction-for-a-pattern-that-was-unphysical-loses-another-for-manipulation/
      http://retractionwatch.com/2014/06/02/de-coli-plagiarism-leads-to-retraction-of-highly-cited-recombinant-protein-paper/
      http://retractionwatch.com/2014/05/06/did-article-on-doped-iodine-contain-a-doped-image/
      http://retractionwatch.com/2014/04/16/expression-of-concern-tarnishes-copper-oxide-paper/
      http://retractionwatch.com/2014/03/19/sk-sahoo-notches-sixth-retraction/

      An my personal favorite, not formally covered by RW:
      http://ptno.ogr.ar.krakow.pl/Wydawn/FoliaHorticulturae/Spisy/FH2006/PDF18012006/fh1801p08.pdf

  4. Those who blame or view India as a Corrupt country and corruption rampant. I would like to draw attention to another aspect. If cent percent people are corrupt / liars these cases would have never been exposed. Few good men do the jobs of many millions here. Regarding this article retraction, I really appreciate that CSIR had some elite, morally high acumen scientist who reviewed all the details and declared it was fabricated. It is CSIR who has conducted the inquiry and it is a government organization !! It takes guts to accept brunt of others misdeeds and take corrective measures.

    Please motivate these miniscule of people in doing their jobs genuinely and avoid making generalized opinions. There are thousands of papers being contributed by India not all are fabricated. With all the “Toxic Environment” people here keep calm and work tirelessly to bring about a change. A change, Once accomplished will change the status of India on global map and the way other nations perceive us.

    M.C.B.L.

  5. Retractions are common to many many countries…India is no exception. The important thing is scientific research has a self correcting. mechanism which ensures even articles published in the most reputed journals can be retracted if its data is not reproducible… latest example is that of STAP paper retraction by Nature. Its important to look at papers from all countries through same glass and not malign any country.

  6. Fraud in science has been prevalent for many years. It is the responsibility of the reviewers to thoroughly scrutinise manuscripts before publication. That’s why we have peer review. However despite peer reviews, such papers do get published. We have to understand that even reviewers are human and human error occurs. Even journals like Nature and Science have retraction. Example is the recent Nature paper on embryonic stem cells from a Japanese scientist. So why is so much emphasis given to a few selected Indian scientist who have lost their scientific ethics.

    India is a large countries which produces thousands of scientists every year. And most of them are doing fantastic research. It is like insulting these researchers by comparing them with such fraudulent ones. Few researchers donot represent whole of India. It’s good to let others know of such retractions but saying all are the same is not fair.

    The pressure to publish every year is probably the culprit that causes people to resort to such fraudulent practices. Instead of blaming each other, we need to work at eliminating the cause, that is erasing the pressure to publish despite inadequate data in order to survive as a researcher.

  7. Retractions are very much prevalent in many other countries and in well reputed universities. None of us here support such scientists who have lost their scientific ethics but naming an entire nation as a hub for such activities is absolutely unfair and demeaning. This is a very important issue these days and we need to have stringent review process, so that such data does not get published. We work extremely hard all through are careers as scientist and know how difficult it is publishing in peer reviewed journals and NO we don’t create fraudulent data just to get published. So STOP blaming a country and focus on resolving the issue.

  8. Indian researchers are paid very little. Less than $1k a month in most cases. Apart from subsidized housing in campuses, the only attractions for them are “foreign junkets”, “visiting professorships” which are available only to those who publish. So, the need to publish.

    The Chandigarh papers are a small example. Let us take some of the doyens of Indian Science. CNR Rao, recipient of India’s highest award, The Bharat Ratna is known to have plagiarized papers and to have edited his Wikipedia entry to conceal this fact. The rot begins right at the top, at CNR Rao’s institute, the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, a research hub in India.

    Also unique to India, scientists know that in order to get grants, establish new schools, they have to attract the attention of bureaucrats and ministers in Delhi, who are attached to Hindu philosophy. Enter characters like APJ Abdul Kalam, who was India’s President for 5 years. He started with India’s Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO) and pretty much ran it to the ground. So much so that the vaunted Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) has been going on for 30 years and only a prototype has been produced so far. But he was very good at running around, claiming credit whenever anything good was done in the country. ISRO launches a rocket, Kalam rushes there, names the rocket after an ancient Hindu God, recites something from Hindu scriptures and is lauded as its creator. Missiles are conveniently named after Hindu gods, so they get funding. Whether the rockets succeed, fail, it doesnt matter. The funding is guaranteed. As India’s top science man for decades, the result is there for everyone to see. Government promotes research? No longer after Kalam.

    Another example is Vijay Bhatkar. Recipient of another of India’s awards – the Padma Shri. He set out to create India’s first supercomputer, cleverly giving it a Hindu name – PARAM and a network, also cleverly named GARUD, apparently so they could get funding. In the end, the meteorological department decided to buy their own supercomputer rather than it. But even this science entrepreneur talks a good game and has never lacked funding.

  9. Scientific, fraud, misconduct and data manipulation is a growing phenomenon in the world. This is due to publish or perish pressure which is true for most nations. In India, publish or perish is not an aggressive policy. A position is any institute except few is permanent whether you publish or not. People defending Indian science should understand one general thing. In west, corresponding author and other authors are held responsible. It will be a huge problem in institute, funding bodies and amongst peers. In India you will seldom hear a Professor got fired for such practice or held responsible. Even in this case corresponding author is given a benefit of doubt. Same is the case with medical practice. Malpractice occurs everywhere but in west, such physicians will loose their license and privileges to practice, but in the last 65 + years of independence not even a single physician is held responsible in India. Does that mean physicians in India are much better than anywhere else in the world?

    At the same time it is wrong to blame all Indian scientists. I have come across some of the very hard working sincere scientists from the sub continent. Their integrity is on par with anyone else in the world. Sir CV Raman, Bose and Ramanujam are just few names from old days. Today we have Vijayraghvan, Balram, Mayor, Surolia, Sikdar, Bhalla, Udgaonkar aand many more. We just hope they will recruit future scientists with good practices, ethics, science and not just big papers in XYZ journals.

    Unfortunate incidents like this should be better dealt by a fraud committee of India which at present has no tooth or nails. In Pune case they were helpless. However, hope India will keep producing Ramans and progress towards becoming a better nation in every aspect.

    1. Indian Flowwhat about, the NAAS ratings (NAAS = The National Academy of Agricultural Sciences):
      http://naasindia.org/rating.html Is that an accurate reflection of scientific impact?

      Disclaimer: I have excellent Indian colleagues and collaborators and there are excellent Indian plant scientists, but there is also a pool of serious academically fraudulent scientists, too, that appear to operate freely and publish without restraint.

      1. PS: NAAS bases its ratings primarily on the impact factor. Scientists are rewarded (salaries, grants and positions) based on these ratings. So, every publisher that emerges from India now wants desperately to achieve an impact factor, and that is why the Bohannon map is so important. Because it’s a vicious cycle. The latest NAAS-approved journals are here:
        http://naasindia.org/documents/journal2013.pdf
        Drop the reliance on the impact factor, and your will, I honestly believe, remove the spark for alot of academic fraud. In fact, as others have pointed out, this principle also applies to any country, but India has, most likely one of the highest turn-outs of scientists per year, which is why we should take careful note of all cases that emerge from India. This is because the sheer numbers have the ability of drowning out any competition from scientists from smaller, less populated countries, so if there is abuse of the system that overall could favor one nation (as appears to be clear from the NAAS rating system), then indeed, greater focus and scrutiny is required.

        1. So your your information JATdS, not the whole of India runs on NAAS guidelines and ratings. Neither CSIR nor ICMR nor DBT nor DST (which are apex bodies funding scientific research in India) have such stringent calculations. Neither our promotions nor our grants are based on such fancy calculations. Each Institute have devised their own ways to judge the quality of papers and project their work. I don’t think any Indian scientist are under any pressure of publishing (mainly high impact journals). Yes our incentives and rapid promotions are marginally dependent on that, we do not have the intense competition like the way you describe.
          While I agree with you that impact factor business perhaps is the root cause of such problems, unfortunately at present we do not have good objective measures to evaluate performance of a scientist. Thus until a new system is devised and tested (and shown to be fool proof), the world will tend to continue this practice and in my opinion India is no exception. The whole Idea of rating based on impact factors have come from the elite nations and the whole world is expected to follow it in some form or other. Be it populous like India and China or less populated nations.
          Finally, its a request to not to make generalization without proper information and the way in which Indian science runs and the scientist evaluated.

          1. Deepak, please clarify exactly the systems employed by CSIR, ICMR, DBT and DST and how they factor in the impact factor. Please include web-sites and explain how scientists are rewarded financially based on these systems. Educate the RW readership about India, from within, then. As you write: “While I agree with you that impact factor business perhaps is the root cause of such problems.” As I say, since this is a story about India, explain, in your opinion, where dishonesty might originate from. I don’t believe I am pointing fingers, only pointing out published facts. Let’s discuss how such problems might be emerging and how these could be overcome.

          2. I also feel that impact factor is still not a primary consideration in India (all references will henceforth be for India), nor is citations. People are still evaluated by the absolute number of publications as far as I can see. I am not sure how dishonesty originates in group leaders; for students it is understandable. We suffer lack of research planning and I can say it with much certainty. This affects students who in order to finish up fast may engage in data forging. With PIs it is perhaps because of lack of planning and exhaustion of funds, which make them cook up some data to get their publication out. I can be very certain on this; experienced people may correct me.

          3. “People are still evaluated by the absolute number of publications as far as I can see.” Exactly, that explains why so much bad science (there is simply no other way to describe it) by Indian scientists is published in so many journals listed on Beall’s “predatory” publishers, many of which are publishers owned by or run by Indians. Let me ask you, does the Government of India provide any incentives, financing or funding to start-up companies that are involved with publishing? Let me give you three simple examples of really bad science papers by Indian plant scientists in orchid research (I could gve you of course, hundreds of exmaples, but I will save RW readers this agony!):
            1) http://journalijar.com/current-issue/?mn=4&yr=2013 (paper 2, review by Gattoo and Ahmad from Sher e Kashmir University of agricultural sciences and technology of Kashmir): apart from the extremely shallow nature of this apper, the most recent reference in Table 1 is from 1997. The review was submitted, accepted and published within one month in 2013). How could the “peers” not see this 15-year gap in the literature? lease observe the names on the editor board: http://journalijar.com/editorial-board/ (the editor-in-chief is Morse Florse. Is that a real name?).
            2) International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications. http://www.ijsrp.org/research-paper-1212/ijsrp-p12112.pdf (Vishal Sharma, Post Graduate Govt.College for Girls-11, Chandigarh, India). I have tried, but I can’t find a single positive thing to day about this paper (grammar, accuracy, experimental design, analyses, literature coverage, results and discussion). Not to mention the royal mess that this publisher has made of the paper’s visual layout. Yet, this rubbish journal commands an impact factor of 0.69, it claims (http://www.ijsrp.org/; true, or not, Ihave no idea, because Thomson Reuter’s data-base is not open to the public for verification). This is an Indian operation (http://www.ijsrp.org/aboutus.html).
            3) Ditto, same journal: Pushpendra Singh et al. (Departments of pharmacy and biotechnology, Cytogene research & development, Lucknow, India) (http://www.ijsrp.org/research-paper-0413/ijsrp-p1616.pdf). Simply astonishingly bad paper. Speechless, in fact.

            This is what post-publication is essentially all about. Identifying the detailed errors and publically criticizing the authors. Ultimately, with the objective of getting the literature rid of this “noise” which can in o way be even remotely considered to be academic or scholarly.

          4. JATdS – There are two separate issues 1. Bad/fraudulent science and 2. Predatory publishers. Of course the two do come together and that is what you have cited above. I have not looked at those links you provided but even without doing so, I can readily believe your descriptions of those “papers”.

            Not all the institutions are the same in India. Just as in the US, not every institution is a Harvard or a Caltech. In the Indian scene, some of the better institutions are the Ind Inst Technology (originally established in Delhi, Bombay, Madras, Kanpur and Kharagpur), Ind Inst Sc (Bangalore), Inst of Chem Tech (Bombay), Tata Inst Fundamental Res, Center for Cell Mol Biol (Hyderabad), National Center for Cell Sc (Pune), Natl Chem Lab (Pune), to name a few, In such institutions, it very competitive to get in as a student and the faculty tend to be trained as students/postdocs in the West. Environment is generally conducive to intellectual activity. You don’t find publications from such institutions in the type of predatory journals that you allude to. Not to say these are perfect but overall the science tends to be good. In case of the retractions from IMTECH, I would think that’s how a good institution would deal with fraudulent science – investigate thoroughly and retract papers if that’s the case. Of course better systems need to be in place to minimize the chance of fraudulent science being perpetrated in the first place.

            To be honest, I haven’t heard of the institutions/links you have cited above in your post. There are bad institutions disseminating bad science in India and that’s unfortunate. Those in the know would not club these with the better institutions I cited in the preceding para. Education/research system is not monolithic and there are several types – good, bad and ugly.

          5. If there are bad insitutes, then are are they still running? Why are they churning out scientists that conduct and publish bad science? Why are these papers allowed to be processed and publshed? Who oversees the scientific evaluations of projects in these institutes? Are they officially part of government univesities or institutes of terciary education, or are they private? Do they pay the sometimes exhorbitant open access fees, and if so, whose money is it in reality, the Indian Government’s, or private funds? In other words, how much money is being wasted paying predatory fake scholarly publishers to publish bad science? What do the rectors of these universities think? Your comparison is valid. I guess that one could say that top level US universities in the US might have a lower risk of such issues than lower level universties. But once, again, let’s stick to India in this discussion. There are other stories at RW where we can focus on other countries. Can you understand why these literally hundreds of thousands of scientifically suspect papers in the open access journals listed in Jeffrey Beall’s journals are dangerous to the integrity of science and to the image of India? Let me be clear, once again, to those who may be misinterpreting my severe criticisms of the Indian system: I am not anti-Indian. I am anti-fraud. I am anti-dishonesty. And I really can’t stand reading these crap science papers that are getting churned out by the hundreds (possibly even thousands) each week.

          6. Just like the physical (homes, banks, offices) and virtual (internet banks, sensitive data) realms need to be secure, so does the peer review system. Just like thieves thrive when there are corrupt or incompetent policemen, so do those committing scientific fraud when the reviewers are sleeping on the job. Just like you cannot put every Indian in jail because some are printing counterfeit currency, you cannot call all of Indian science corrupt because some are resorting to fraud.
            -Sameer

          7. Mr JATdS I have issues with two of your statements
            1) India as being the world’s biggest hub of academic misconduct related to open access publishing and
            2) How can one expect to demand ethics from scientists with such a toxic environment in the system?

            Statement no 2) is uncalled and unwarranted.

            Statement no 1 is based on a data provided in a paper which by itself has been heavily criticized for its study design. While you do not believe in the so called Bohannon’s “sting” operation, you yet choose to selectively pickup a country specific data and target a nation.

            In every post you have made a generalized country specific remark without a solid background study.

          8. JATds – Pl. see below this retracted paper dealing with crystal based on Aloe Vera. The retraction is from an Elsevier journal.
            http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1386142513014029
            The point is there are several terrible papers in so called standard journals (published by reputed names like Elsevier) in addition to the scores of trash papers in the open access journals for example International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, as correctly pointed out by you.

          9. A. Amadeus. I fully agree with you and I have never claimed otherwise. But, let’s give Elsevier some credit. Relative to most of the journals on Beall’s list, most of Elsevier’s journals probably conduct stricter peer review. So, the risks of errors is probably lower, but not zero. That is why we are seeing an increase in the number of retractions from Elsevier journals. So, if we consider that the peer review system currently in place is imperfect and porous, then we can safely assume that many more of the >12 million papers published at Scopus/sciencedirect will undoubteldy be retracted sooner or later. Same applies to Springer S&BM’s >8 million papers. The only reason this is taking time is because there is fierce resistance to retractions and corrections of the literature by editors and marketing managers of journals, all of whom are too afraid to lose face and see their egos bruised, all whilst sacrificing the integrity of the scientific literature. So, yes, I do agree that not only the “predatory” OA journals pose problems, but so, too do the traditional big-shot (high IF) journals. This indicates that the literature is deeply corrupted and it is starting to be difficult to distinguish rotten from good. What we have to figure out now is WHO is going to help identify those problems, and who exactly is going to take the responsibilty fo cleaning up this mega mess? We know the problem is world-wide, this is an obvious fact. Who better to analyze the Indian literature or the literature written by Indian scientists other than those inside the system?

          10. I don’t think this is a place to discuss the systems utilized by these governmental agencies. The evaluations are multidimensional involving a 3-5 year performance assessments at various strata and not heavily biased towards publications and impact factors. Just because a scientist got a paper in an A list journal or has X numbers of papers will never qualify him/her for a promotion. I hope you get this clear, and this is not a reason for the so called “fraud” in India.
            There are growing concerns within India over such fraud journals and the authenticity of the data coming in such publications which surprisingly come with a tag of big publication houses. How will we deal with such issues and curb such practices is under debate.

          11. Deepak. I couldn’t disagree with you more. This is the perfect place to discuss these issues. The Government of India runs the scientific agencies under all those umbrella titles you indicate. Even if there are private institutes using independent norms, let the flaws be known publically here at RW as these are related to science and possibly some reasons for retractions. The claim on this blog appears to be that the rot is starting from the bottom. The illogical excuse that is given is that fraud is global. My claim is that the rot that underlies a scientist has much to do with that person’s education system, society that surrounds him/her, economic status, and leadership (school, university and government). If we take all of these aspects into consideration, it is quite obvious that the incentive to commit fraud, or to try and beat the competition using unfair or dishonest methods, is high in India. Simply because you have a high ratio of graduates to available positions. In fact, quite a similar situation in neighbouring Bangladesh and Pakistan. And in those institutes where positions are available, most often, the salary is measly. So, the spark for committing academic misconduct is there: it just needs the individuals to take the next step. Just this last week, I received three applications for post-doc positions from Indian PhDs, all of which were in SPAM format, i.e, Dear Professor (with most likely dozens of “professors'” emails in the BCC section). I could go on and on, but I think the onus of showing the problems, exposing the fraud and/or scientific misconduct and poor science, and then reporting all these cases publically lies exclusively in the hands of one set of individuals: Indian scientists. My underlying conclusion is: take responsibility and stop shifting it.

  10. Dear JATdS,

    I partially agree with you but not fully. To improve the quality of the research in India, corrupt system should be exposed internationally and scientists which are involved in this kind of corruption including fraud as well as dirty politics should be banned internationally. This may be applicable all over the world .

    Indian researchers have inborn talent and Indians students especially Post Docs and Young Scientist easily got job or funding in abroad (including funding from NIH also), but unable to get job and prestigious Fellowship in India because of corruption. There is no fair criteria to select the faculty.

  11. The main currency in the world of science is authorship. Authorships enable scientists to accumulate citations, which seem to be established as the ‘true’ measure of successful and important science.
    ROLE OF FIRST AUTHOR:
    THE FIRST AUTHOR: The first author is usually the Lead Author or a person who has performed the central experiments of the project. Often, this individual is also the person who has prepared the first draft of the manuscript. The lead author (first author) is ultimately responsible for ensuring that all other authors meet the requirements for authorship as well as ensuring the integrity of the work itself.
    I think that one who puts the most intellectual energy and is responsible for the research and paper production should be the first author.
    The first author is the one responsible for the whole manuscript without any doubt in life sciences. He is also responsible for preparing the manuscript and analyzing the data.
    ROLE OF CORRESPONDING AUTHOR:
    The Corresponding Author roll handles all correspondence regarding the paper from submission to decision and/or publication.
    “The corresponding author does not have sole responsibility”..
    The role of the corresponding author includes acting as a conduit between the publisher and co-authors. This involves distributing any comments or peer-reviews from the publisher to the authors, collating their feedback for return to the publisher; distributing galley-proofs (now usually sent as PDFs) to the co-authors and collating their feedback for return to the publisher; circulating copyright release and permission forms to the co-authors and collating these for return to the publisher as a package; and, after publication, distributing e-prints in response to requests.

    My thought / view must say that the FIRST AUTHOR IS THE LEAD AUTHOR & He/She is the only & totally responisble for his/her research publication without any doubt/s in the Scientific Community.

  12. I dont know why we indian researchers are too much attracted towards foreign journals? Don’t you have your own country”s journal? WHY DON’T We submit our research article in an Indian Journal? we should bypass foreign journal and also neglect them. We an Indian should raise our indian journals impact factor rather than taking a prestigious thought that i have published my article in Nature or any other high impact factor journal. Personally, i feel that We should raise our Indian Journals. I hope each and every Indian Scientist will think on it.

    best regards,

    Dr.Maulin P Shah
    Chief Scientist & Head
    Industrial Waste Water Research Laboratory
    Division of Applied & Environmental Microbiology Lab
    Ankleshwar, Gujarat, India

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