Ripping off someone else’s thesis sinks paper on chicken temperatures

ISB_IJBProof that people will plagiarize anything they think they can get away with: a Brazilian scientist plagiarized a masters’ student’s thesis on the surface temperature of chickens.

We spoke with International Journal of Biometeorology editor-in-chief Scott Sheridan about the case:

It was a case of plagiarism – the lead author plagiarized some text in Portuguese in his thesis, and then part of that text ended up getting translated into the manuscript that was published and now retracted.

It was reported to me by the student whose work was plagiarized, and we then confirmed everything through the university at which the student that committed the plagiarism attended.

Plagiarized author Sheila Tavares Nascimento told us how she discovered the theft (lightly edited from the original instant message session for easier reading):

I did my masters’ from 2008 to 2010. One day I was doing a search in Google and I wrote some keywords from my masters’ dissertation, and then I found someone who worked with something similar to my work. When I clicked in the file, I saw that many pages were copies from mine.

She then emailed Sheridan, who initiated the retraction.

Here’s the notice for “Regional differences in the surface temperature of Naked Neck laying hens in a semi-arid environment:”

This article published in Volume 57, Issue 3, DOI 10.1007/s00484-012-0561-7 has been retracted at the request of the Editor-in-Chief and co-Editors, as it contains portions of other authors’ writings on the same topic without sufficient attribution to these earlier works being given. The principal author of the paper acknowledged that text from background sources was used without proper reference to the original source, specifically several pages from the Master’s Dissertation entitled, ‘Determinação do balanço de calor em frangos de corte por meio das temperaturas corporais’ authored by Sheila Tavares Nascimento, São Paulo State University, Brazil.

In case you’re curious, environmental temperatures affect the surface temperature of naked neck hens’ legs and feathered areas, but not their faces or necks.

We’ve reached out to the lead author, and will update with any details.

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