Enthusiastic retraction and retracted correction mark loss of researcher’s fourth and fifth papers

IJMPBHere’s a physics retraction whose use of an exclamation point — the only one we’ve ever seen in a retraction notice! — makes the editors’ exasperation palpable.

It’s also the the fourth retraction for R. K. Singhal, of the University of Rajasthan, Jaipur, India. Behold the notice for “Magnetic behavior of functionally modified spinel Ni0.4Ca0.6Fe2O4 nanoferrite,” in the International Journal of Modern Physics B:

The editorial board discovered that the data points in several sections of the Moss-bauer spectra as given in Figs 3.(a) and 3(b) are exactly identical. This is impossible and nonphysical for the measurement of two different samples (or for that matter not even for the same sample!). The only conclusion we can draw from this figure is that some of the data is fabricated. As a result, the results and conclusions as described in the paper are unacceptable. This article is retracted from its publication in Int. J. Mod. Phys. B.

The paper has been cited once, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. We’ve reached out to both the editor and the author, and will report back anything we learn.

Singhal and colleagues have another retraction — or two, depending how you look at it — in the Journal of Applied Physics. The journal has retracted a 2010 study, “Study of defect-induced ferromagnetism in hydrogenated anatase TiO2:Co,” but first they had to retract a 2013 correction of that study:

AIP Publishing LLC retracts this erratum because it was submitted and published without the knowledge of all the co-authors. Upon further investigation, it was found that the article that this erratum addressed warranted a retraction. Please also see the Retraction 1 associated with the original article.

Here’s the original correction:

The paper has highlighted important findings of reversible room temperature ferromagnetism in TiO 2 system concluded to be induced mainly due to oxygen vacancies. 1

The concern presented here is regarding Fig. 5 presenting the Co XPS data and the concern is that the background features look somewhat identical despite a clear shift in one of the spectra. The following Erratum is submitted, with sincere apologies to the readers, to point out possible unnoticed mistake on our part.

The Co XPS signal (unlike the Ti 2p) was very poor due to low Co content (5%). After data correction and normalization, the smoothing (FFT) was performed, as usual, and the best fitted profiles were obtained. We should have shown just these profiles in the paper, but, unfortunately, to make the (yet) weak signal more visible we wrongfully subtracted the background spectrum (in the Co binding energy range) from the best fitted profiles of these spectra. Though it enhanced the signal but as a result the noise features now look somewhat similar in these spectra which were a mistake. We are very sorry for not mentioning this earlier in the paper which might have created confusions.

Further, to look in to this problem more thoroughly and precisely we would repeat the experiments at the soonest with fresh samples, since the samples prepared long back have lost their properties and the complete process of synthesis, characterization of materials, measurements, and the analysis of data may take several months, hence, this Erratum with sincere apologies to the esteemed readers.

And here’s the retraction of the study itself, which wasn’t available when the retraction to the correction appeared, but went online today:

Subsequent to publication of the above article, 1 it was discovered that the data involving the Co 2 XPS spectra shown in Figure 5 appeared to have been manipulated, and as a consequence, the results presented should not be relied upon and may be scientifically unsound.

AIP Publishing LLC therefore retracts this article.

The study has been cited 29 times, according to Thomson Scientific.

Hat tip: Rolf Degen

2 thoughts on “Enthusiastic retraction and retracted correction mark loss of researcher’s fourth and fifth papers”

  1. Prof. RK Singhal and one of his co-author on the retracted papers – Prof. SN Dolia – are both facing rather more serious charges of extortion of sexual favours by blackmail from a female PhD student. The charges made in 2011 reached court in October 2013 but hearings have yet to commence. Rajasthan University (ranked 41 in India) announced an investigation by two retired judges (but only after the police case was filed) but no results have been reported. (I don’t expect any report or any action since the University will merely slip-stream behind the slow moving legal proceedings).
    The University does not seem to be investigating the academic misconduct in the Physics Department.

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