Student denied credit, math article retracted

inequalA math paper in the Journal of Inequalities and Applications has been retracted after it was discovered the authors had included a student’s work without acknowledging her.

One of the authors, however, told us it was an honest mistake, and that the editor pushed for retraction instead of correction “to protect this journal and its impact factor.”

Here’s the notice for “On the Kirchhoff matrix, a new Kirchhoff index and the Kirchhoff energy”:

This article has been retracted by Professor Ravi P Agarwal, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Inequalities and Applications.

After publication it became clear that the paper had been submitted without the consent, knowledge and acknowledgement of Betul Acar.

The authors Ayse Maden, Ahmet Cevik, Ismail Cangul and Kinkar C Das acknowledge that they failed to obtain agreement with Betul Acar or to acknowledge her work, resulting in an unfair representation of her ideas and thoughts. All those involved have agreed to this retraction.

Journal editor Ravi Agarwal, with whom we’ve spoken about retractions before, gave us more details:

One of the students (Betul Acar) of Ahmet Cevik wrote to us that the work published in the paper was done jointly with her also.
We made full inquiry and all the authors accepted and acknowledged that student’s name as an author must also have been added. As Editor-in-Chief of JIA I decided this paper must be retracted.

We also spoke with Cevik, who gave us a slightly different version:

In fact this was completely an innocent mistake made by me. During the submission period, I lost my dad and it was hard time for me. Honestly, I realized it after published by the journal. The first thing I did apply to Springer whether there is any chance to add that extra name. A guy in there (his name was Mr. Lovely Joy C) wrote it is possible. However Prof. Agarwal did not accept this. He pushed me to retract it. He mentioned me to protect this journal and its impact factor. Today until I saw the retraction page in this journal, I was respected his that idea. However in this retraction page, he mentioned that HE REALIZED THIS SİTUATİON (but it is not true because I applied to the journal and so they did learn the case), also he almost mentioned that we (me and other authors) stolen this extra authors ideas. It is also not true. Any way I am happy because I belive that we did correct thing to apply retract of this paper. This was a short story of this situation.

Hat tip: Rolf Degen

20 thoughts on “Student denied credit, math article retracted”

  1. A retraction that has some element of lie about it (implied about Agarwal’s addition of something untrue at another’s expense) is tantamount to a retraction for the wrong reason, i.e., not “getting it.” It’s not a retraction to curry favor (or avoid disfavor), it is a retraction to protect the journal and authors by honoring the TRUTH. Retracting while basing the retraction on a self-serving lie is a whole new form of dishonesty, hardly impressive. Not sure who the culprit is here, author or publisher, but all is not entirely well.

    1. IF’s are poorly reliable for math journals, because of the sharp two-years window used by Thomson Reuters. See for example:
      page 6:
      “Examining a collection of more than 3 million recent citations in mathematics journals (the Math Reviews Citation database) one sees that roughly 90% of citations to a journal fall outside this 2‐year window. Consequently, the impact factor is based on a mere 10% of the citation activity and misses the vast majority of citations”.

    2. Fun fact: A retraction counts as a citation towards the retracted article, but the retraction notice does not increase the article count for the impact factor calculation. So, if you want to boost your journal’s impact factor, you want to post as many retractions, corrections, expressions of concerns, news & views, etc. as possible.

      1. This is fabulous. I wonder what percent of biomed journal editors realize this?

        I imagine predatory and other low IF journals will now deliberately seed articles with typos just so they can later publish IF-boosting corrections.

        The impact should be neutral not positive!

  2. Is it quite interesting to google for the first sentence in the introduction: “It is well known that the resistance distance between two arbitrary vertices in an electrical network can be obtained in terms of the eigenvalues and eigenvectors”

    1. quite interesting to google for the first sentence in the introduction
      Oh my! Is that a tradition or something?

  3. Before we accept the honest mistake excuse I would like to hear from the student. The submitting author must also have forgotten to add the student’s name on the manuscript title page as well. First, how likely it
    Is that the student when she reviews and accepts the draft does not correct this omission. Yes, it seems that the submitting author also forgot to show the manuscript to his student. How likely it is that the professor even under distress forgots to send the manuscript to his student who did part of the work, forgots to add the name to the paper, forgets it at the submission web site, if any, and conveniently remembers everything when the paper has been perinted or published online. I woul like to give the beneit of doubt but somehow find it hard. Understandably, it would not have been correct then to add a name of an “author” who obviously had not written the paper, not reviewed its draft, and not accepted responsibility for the submitted and published version. I can understand the retraction on these grounds if this Indeed was the case.

    1. Good point! As the retraction notice also states, the problem is not just that Betul Acar’s name was omitted (in which case a correction might have been sufficient), but that she apparently was not aware of the manuscript being submitted and therefore cannot take responsibility as a co-author. However, I would think that a retraction would not be necessary when ms. Acar would give her “post hoc” consent to the publication (including a correction adding her name). It is not clear from the notice whether or not she refused to give such consent. If she didn’t explicitly refuse consent, I think the editor’s decision is questionable.

  4. Betul Acar
    msc thesis, 2011, Selcuk University, Mathematics,
    “Graflar üzerinde yeni Kirchhoff yapılarının tanıtılması” (in Turkish)
    (= Introducing the new Kirchhoff structures over graphs)

    supervisor : Ayse Dilek Maden Gungor
    jury : Ahmet Sinan Cevik, Ismail Naci Cangul

    Abstract : In this thesis it has been firstly defined and studied
    Kirchhoff matrix, a newKirchhoff index, Kirchhoff energy and Kirchhoff Estrada index
    for a simple connected graph. Moreover it has been also investigated and
    so obtained some new bound values depend on these new parameters.
    The geometric configuration of these bounds are presented in the Figures ….,
    and then some results did obtain related to them.

    It is obvious that the retracted paper has been derived from Betul Acar’s msc thesis !

    Kinkar Chandra Das has no relation with this msc thesis !

    Authors of the retracted paper :
    Ayse Dilek Maden Gungor, Ahmet Sinan Cevik, Ismail Naci Cangul,
    Kinkar Chandra Das.

    Ahmet Sinan Cevik : corresponding author.

    Ahmet Sinan Cevik adds some other names as author :
    name of the supervisor of this msc thesis,
    name of the other jury member of this msc thesis,
    name of a foreign academic who has no relation with this thesis.
    But he forgets to add only name of the owner of the msc thesis.

    In his explanation he uses death of his father as an excuse.
    What a shame !
    What a death (!) which causes to forget only the name of the owner of the
    msc thesis.

  5. I applied to rescind 1 year ago 3 clonned mathematics phd theses
    (2 in Uludag University, 1 in Balikesir University)
    supervised (??) by Ismail Naci Cangul (dean for many years)
    which are 65% copied from each other
    (according to Turnitin reports copy-paste ratios are 50%).
    Process continues !…

    You can read their story here :
    Thesis Landscapes from the Dark Alleys of Turkish Academy


    A summary of it is here :The Dark Alleys of Turkish Academia (Sunday, March 3, 2013)


    Ismail Naci Cangul’s group has been famous with with lots of their conference – journal papers in famous academic …. website WASET of famous international academic …. Ardil family (…. Cemal Ardil, his daughter Ebru Ardil and his son Bora Ardil) of Turkey :


    A 100% plagiarized (from 1 source as block) mathematics phd thesis (2009, Ege University) which I reported has been rescinded (2012) and a symbolic disciplinary punishment has been given to the phd thesis supervisor (2014).
    Plagiarized thesis :
    Book which it has been plagiarized from :

    I wrote its story (in Turkish) in an anonymous blog which is the voice of Turkish academic activists
    and gave all necessary details :


    You can read some about thesis’ owner Ahmet Yildirim who was an assistant professor but has been fired then :

    odatv : an online Turkish newspaper.

    Ege Üniversitesi’nde bir sahtecilik hikayesi
    (= A Fraud Stroy in Ege Universiy)


    Prof. Dr. Suat Çağlayan
    (old minister , old faculty member of medicine – Ege University)

    Quotation – 1. “Bunun yanıtını öğrenmek için Rektör Candeğer Yılmaz’ı aradım.
    Şunları anlattı;”
    (= “I called Rector Candeger Yilmaz to learn its answer.
    She has told these ;”)

    Quotation – 2. “6- İntihal kabul edilen çalışmasını doktora tezinde de kullanmış olduğu ortaya çıkmış.
    Bu anlaşılınca doktorası da elinden alınmış.
    Yani özetin özeti olarak söylersek;
    Ahmet Yıldırım’ın önce 2012 yılında işine son verilmiş ve sonra da doktora derecesi iptal edilmiş. Mahkeme süreci ise sürüyormuş.”

    (= “6- It was revealed that he used his work, which was decided as plagiarized,
    also in his phd thesis. When this was understood his phd has been rescinded.
    That is, if we say as summary of summary :
    Ahmet Yildirim at first has been fired in 2012 and then his phd degree has been rescinded.”)

    (Üniversitemizden Ayrılmıştır = Left Our University ; Yardımcı Doçent = Assistant Professor)



    1. Tansu, you write: “Ismail Naci Cangul’s group has been famous with with lots of their conference – journal papers in famous academic …. website WASET of famous international academic” Please note that WASET is not of very reliable or credible academic repute:
      I notice many Turkish scientists on the editor boards of many “predatory” OA journals, and also publishing in many such jorunals of suspect academic quality. Why is that? Keep up the good work in the fight aganst academic corruption.

      1. “….” = “beep !”
        It is a common sound used in Turkish tv’s instead of some original words.

        Thesis Landscapes from the Dark Alleys of Turkish Academy :
        I mentioned this article before and gave its link.
        It includes quotations from an official investigation report
        about 1996-2007 period of Higher Education Council
        (= Yuksek Ogretim Kurulu (YOK) (in Turkish)) and universities
        prepared by Turkish Presidency (December 2009).
        Original of it (in Turkish) is avaiable online at Turkish Presidency’s website.
        That report summarizes ultra problematic situation of Turkish academy
        and causes of this.
        Read those quotations ; you will find answer of your question.

  6. This is Betul Acar.I am very upset because of this event. So far, I have chosen to be silent, beacuse I have already claimed them to Turkish Council of High Education’s Ethic Comity and my university Ethic Comity. At the same time of these applications, I informed Dr. Ayse Dilek Maden, and Dr. Ahmet Sinan Cevik, and also the journal editor. The editor of Journal, kindly, acknowledge me the process of this event.
    In fact, before all these process , really , many times, I talked my supervisor Dr. Ayse Dilek Maden, and also Dr. Ahmet Sinan Cevik as member of the group. Now, I have been waiting for my applications’ results. After all process finished, I can proof what I told all, by showing documents. Now it is not ethic, because of the current process.

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