Anyone want to hire an economist who retracted 16 papers for fake peer reviews?

Khalid Zaman
Khalid Zaman

In December, we reported that economist Khalid Zaman was losing 16 papers over faked peer reviews.

Now, Retraction Watch has learned that he left his job at COMSATS Information Technology Center in Abbottabad, Pakistan on December 26, seven days after our post. He’s now looking for a new job, including at Beaconhouse National University in Lahore, Pakistan.

We’ve gotten ahold of his application, and it’s a real treat. Here’s an excerpt:

– I have 11 years experience including COMSATS…
– I have published 183 papers so far (and journey still begins), having cumulative impact factor of 104.258.
– I have decided to reach 200 impact factor till end of 2015 InshahAllah (if alive)

We’re not sure what a “cumulative impact factor” is, and we’re fairly sure that’s not how impact factor works. You can find his whole CV here.

We’ve reached out to Zaman asking why he left his job at COMSATS, and will update if we hear back.

Update 01/06/15, 12:30 p.m. EST: Zaman got back to us via email. He didn’t answer any of our questions, including why he left his job or whether he was intending to republish his data. He did, however, say he needed “moral support” from other researchers if he was going to increase his impact factor in 2015, and ask that we quit writing about him.

66 thoughts on “Anyone want to hire an economist who retracted 16 papers for fake peer reviews?”

    1. I don’t think this is personal or pointless. Tracking down what happens to people whose papers are retracted for ethical breaches is, I would argue, very relevant to the world of retractions (and hence this site) and useful to the scientific community–if for no other reason than to illustrate the consequences of engaging in fraud. This might deter other potential fraudsters.

  1. The CV is curious. I estimate only about 50 papers listed there. Why would someone not list the remaining missing ~130 papers, yet boast on an application form that he has 183? Let’s hope that Beaconhouse National University in Lahore has 360 degree vision to see what’s coming. The fact that he is tring to jump ships so quickly, and arrogantly so (“I have decided to reach 200 impact factor till end of 2015”), is of really great concern. That means that he has not repented, and could potentially use the same tactics to achieve this mega success until the end of 2015. Publishers beware! By cumulative IF, I think it is smply an additive score, so IF 1 of Journal A + IF 2 of Journal B = IF 1 + IF 2.

  2. “I have published 183 papers so far (and journey still begins), having cumulative impact factor of 104.258.”

    Oh my! An average impact factor of 0.57! Amazing!

  3. With due respect to the goal of retractionwatch, chasing down this man in this way seems over the line.

    1. …and how do you get ahold of his job application? Moreover, it seems over the line as well to publish excerpts from it.

  4. Besides being totally wrong with his “cumulative” assumptions, this guy is the perfect example what happens if you equal journal impact factors and research qualit. But this happens quite often in academia, especially when they staff chairs (e.g. in Germany). You incentivize scientific fraud.

  5. Columbia University has rescinded Phd thesis (chemistry) of Bengu Sezen and retracted her 7 SCI papers. Columbia University’s official report about her Phd thesis and lots of documents are available in internet.

    ORI punished Bengu Sezen for 5 years :


    Bengu Sezen has been an assistant professor at Gebze Institute of Technology for some time :



    More than a year ago, I reported her case to Higher Education Council (= Yuksek Ogretim Kurulu (in Turkish)) and Gebze Institute of Technology and request them to communicate especially with Columbia University to obtain official information about Bengu Sezen’ s rescinded PhD thesis. Traditionally they refuse to do this and to take any action against Bengu Sezen.

    They refuse to do. I object.
    They refuse to do. I object.

    I have written (in Turkish) this vicious circle.
    I will keep writing.
    I will also prepare a presentation in English when I find time.

    1. Dear Tansu, I am interested in this case because of its broader applicability to other cases involving PhD students who have been unethical but who have retained their PhDs. I have tried to find your contact details online but I am unable to identify your affiliation or contact details. Please provide a URL that can lead me to you. The web-, incidentally has ample pages covering your personal struggle to get Turkish authorities to notice this case, but I can see that they are all in vain. In your opinion, where does TUBITAK stand on similar issues?

        1. A very serious claim in the last sentence. For readers who might not know what TUBITAK is, it is The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey ( The two web-links you provide tell a great tale, one that deserves deeper exploration. This, together with the fact that we have seen a massive spike in open access publishers/journals emerging from Turkey in recent years, and have seen a massive number of Turkish scientists listed on the editor boards of “predatory” OA journals listed at Beall’s , indicates that Turkey is a key country that requires special analysis, given its desire to fuse to the EU (does the EU want to elevate or decrease its academic ethical stance?), and given the rise in economic status. Like Turkey, some countries need to be analyzed such as Brazil, Russia, India, and China because of their emergent economic status and thus influence in science and society. This is not profiling, it is a simple academic analysis of an ugly issue.

          1. It is common in some countries not to care about what university really must be ;
            but to use it as a diploma mill ,
            to use it as a way to get or deliver statue and economic gain ,
            to use it as an economic factor ,
            to use it as a social factor.

            If not separated , 1 rotten tomatoes in a basket causes its neighbors to rot ,
            but lots of healthy tomatoes can not make 1 rotten tomatoes healthy.

            Technology’s famous contradiction is that while it facilitates something ,
            it always creates much more and bigger problems.

            Especially internet has opened the way to the biggest scientific crisis of the history.
            A web site is enough to be a scientific publisher , to be a scientific conference organizer ,
            to run a university , to gain millions of dollars in a year.

    2. That’s an old story. Her Columbia PhD was retracted, but she went on to do another – this time valid – PhD at Heidelberg university, in biochemistry.
      My guess is that even though she faked results during her first PhD, a small university in Turkey might be more than happy to have someone of her qualifications, having studied at two leading foreign universities, in two fields of research. Actually, she needed to be quite clever in order to get through (at first) with her fakeries in leading chemistry journals, and then manage to do another PhD in biochemistry (where people obviously knew about her past).
      I do not know the laws in Turkey, but I am sure those hiring her were aware of her history. With that name and Google you cannot hide anything.
      So the point is: if it’s legally o.k. and the University is willing to hire her, what can or should you do?
      And to come back to the topic of this post:
      Yes, I also think it’s over the top. This is to pillory (publicly shame) somebody and I do not feel this should become the norm.
      Like in Sezen’s case, she has been punished, now she has a chance to do better. That is the basis of many good legal systems.
      The alternative is to have street justice and the like, but society does not benefit from that.

    3. Tansu,

      You do know that Sezen has another PhD from Heidelberg university in biochemistry? Even if the Columbia one is retracted for serious fraud, the one she got from Heidelberg after her time in Columbia has not been questioned. She completed it rather fast for biochemistry, and I’m not sure her advisor was aware of her former misconduct, but her research from Heidelberg has not been disputed.

      Now, she might not be the best choice for an assistant professor at a research university due to the case in Columiba, but at least she has the credentials (a PhD from Heidelberg).

  6. I respectfully, strongly disagree with all of the “he’s down, stop kicking him” comments.

    This guy faked peer reviews. The whole peer review system relies on trust and this guy directly subverted this trust. If other academics behaved as he did, the whole system would grind to a halt.

    In other words he is a fraudster of the worst kind.

    If he were to quit academia and apologize, then perhaps we could say “he’s learned his lesson” and let’s leave him alone – but no, that hasn’t happened. Instead he’s trying to take an academic job that ought to go to someone more honest.

    If he takes this job, an honest (most likely Pakistani) economist will be unemployed in his stead. That’s unfair.

    1. Continuing to follow what happens to people after their papers have been retracted, especially if they don’t leave academia is one thing. Publicly posting applications and CVs that were presumably submitted confidentially (or at least not publicly posted) is quite another. Especially when the goal does not seem to be to point out that someone hasn’t learned their lesson, but instead to have a good laugh at the chosen phrasing.

      1. In this war on and in science, why should there be a need to pick at straws. Kindly observe the facts. This gentleman committed fraud. He has defrauded science, a publisher, his colleagues, economists and embarassed his country. So, please step aside and let the world take a few jabs at him. He deserves it. No need to be politically correct for a fraud… there are far too many hard-working – hoestly I might add – rivals who deserve greater attention. RW undoubtedly receives documents that are posted, leaked, copied and obtained in multiple ways. The fact that they exist and are open to the public is important. Science needs transparency, so let’s also put confidentiality aside: it inhibits transparency. Let the truths be known, I claim. In this case, the fact that this individual is seeking an academic job immediately after academic fraud is an excellent reason for this story to exist at RW. Those Westerners and non-Westerners who have come forward in defense of this “gentleman” with his IF hollering should think about how they would feel if their bank manager had defrauded them of their accounts, or if their church ministers had defrauded the congregation, or if the sales clerk stole money from the teller machine. Would you allow such individuals to work in a bank, church or supermarket again? Likely not. Either that, or seek a SLOW period of reform to be 100% sure that we were dealing with a truly reformed individual.

        The issue is not about kindness. It is about exposing all aspects related to this de facto academic fraud. Maybe we can elarn something that way.

    2. And, for all people complaining that he has already been punished enough by retractions, one shall add that no, he has not. For one simple reason: retractions were not a punishment for him. They never are a punishment for anyone. The sole and only role of any retraction is the correction of literature. Author’s penance, if any, happens outside of the retracting process.

  7. That CV obviously is an old one, likely from late 2010, perhaps early 2011.

    Anyways, I already noted an earlier retraction in Scientometrics on the previous thread

    Two more can be added to this list, making it at least 19 retractions for the poor man:

    Also, considering his history at Elsevier, maybe some other Publishers should check whether he abused their system in the same way.

  8. Faking reviewer reports is unethical. Publicly destroying people is unethical, too. Retractionwatch also needs some kind of ethics code.

  9. @Neuroskeptic is right, Khalid Zaman has not apparently accepted responsibility for his misconduct and, moreover, appears to have the ambition of continuing his career path, without providing the community that he has altered course in any way. So he is not down, though some of his papers are; he is not being kicked while down.
    @Eisa, this blog is read world-wide, so indeed it is a service to the community, at least in Pakistan, and one can only hope that Khalid Zaman’s new position is in due course given to someone worthy of it.
    It would be nice to see a map of the views of RW – I would assume it covers more nations than the UN?

  10. In my modest opinion, this post is quite disturbing, for several reasons. Is it so unethical – by your standards – to look for a job? Looking for a job is a right. (Even a convicted criminal has the right to find a job after serving their term in prison and, in principle, retractions are the served penalty here!) Also, I am sure that a competent employer would peruse the track record of the applicant and discover the very serious problems. Or are we assuming here that a prospective Pakistani employer would easily hire someone like Zeman???

  11. I think this is crossing the limits. He was forced to resign and rightfully so. But to hunt him down and track him till end is unethical. Pakistan is not a country where you readily get social support and stuff from the government. To feed you kids and family and pay monthly bills is like moving mountains. He did really wrong………..but in my humble opinion………..all that happened is enough……….and we should let him live now and we should hope he will mend his ways……

    1. So, you are advocating that someone else who didn’t fake peer reviews should have trouble feeding his or her family instead?

      1. Exactly. There are probably thousands of Pakistani economists, whose names we don’t know because they never did anything bad enough to get mentioned on Retraction Watch.

        But somehow we have sympathy for the one who did. We sympathize with him over the others just because we know his name and have seen his face?

  12. I’ve got to agree with the concerns above. I found this post quite disturbing and not in the spirit of community-building. I also hope Retraction Watch will sort out some code of ethics for how far the pursuit of offenders should go.

  13. As noted by Marco, the CV is not updated.
    I would like to make it sure that the CV we can see here is totally different from his application that RW has obtained but has not disclosed as a whole to us. Am I right?

  14. I have no option but to support the statements and stance made by Neuroskeptic. We need honest and hard-working scientists (or economists, or any other field), not cheats, or frauds. Once a cheat, always a cheat, and there is little doubt that he may use similar, or worse, tactics to achieve his 200 IF score objective in 2015. By giving him a job in a relatively unknown research institute will give him a perfect platform to launch his new wave of shenanigans. One or two papers is a mistake, but 16 abuses of a publisher and a system that exists on the basis of trust is, and must always be, 100% unacceptable. No need to be teary-eyed for the fella who cheated and got booted for his fraud.

    Those who say that the community must be forgiving, understanding and let his seek a job, indeed you are right. Allow him to seek a job as an ice-cream vendor, but most certainly keep him out of academics for a while. He can feed his family – as OK alludes – by getting a job in the food sector, or cleaning sector. But those who are encouraging Mr. Zaman to get a job in an academic institute immediately after being fired for fraud are either being naïve, or blind about the seriousness of the impact that Mr. Zaman has had on the integrity of science publishing. There is absolutely no need to be diplomatically defensive of an academic fraud. We can set these “human rights” aspects to the side.

    This blog post, like many, are sometimes difficult to swallow, because this is the plain and ugly truth about retractions, science and science publishing. Mistakes are tolerable, but cheating the system must never be tolerated. In that sense, we must side with Elsevier, even though they, and their editors, failed miserably in detecting the fraud (for reasons which still remain unclear). The responsible thing for Pakistan to do, and to serve as the model case in Pakistan, would be for the HEC to institute a ban of 3-5 years on participation in academia. The message by the Pakistani authorities must be strong, as equally as the message by Elsevier was decisive. There must be no doubt about the short-, mid- and long-term consequences.

    One is not a fraud for several years and then quickly recovers. No, recovery is a long-term, slow and painful process, and one which Mr. Zaman clearly has not embraced yet. Instead, he seeks to reach greater heights, at the potential expense of the scientific community. Let’s not forget that by tricking the system, he tricked many scientists who read those papers. He tricked his own Pakistani education system (which I am sure does not support, or endorse, fraud), and he disappointed his fellow Pakistani colleagues.

    So, yes, let’s forgive him after he admits publically that he did wrong. And yes, let’s give him a second chance at academics, when he has taken a few years to appreciate that reform takes time, and that it’s not about rushing to reach an IF score of 200 within one year. Incidentally, Mr. Zaman, is that IF score of 104.258 including or excluding the IF scores of your soon-to-be 16 retracted papers?

    The survival of scientists has become treacherous, make no doubt. Retractions exist for multiple reasons, and in this case Elsevier is fully validated in retracting 16 papers by a fraud. The message must be strong, decisive and swift. So, Elsevier and these journals must not delay for too long. I would say that 5 or 10 years ago, the risks of retractions were weak, or intangible. Now they are not. They form an integral part of the publishing landscape, and are here to stay. It is scary, for all of us, to see the effects of retractions, but this is life.

    Of course, I do support Mr. Zaman taking those 16 papers, and passing them through 16 valid peer reviews in journals that conduct true peer review (a slight jab at the three Elsevier journals, is also deserved). Or perhaps, you may be interested in fusing your knowledge in the increasingly widening pool of academically unsound open access journals that Mr. Jeffrey Beall has so aptly documented at The community will no doubt be looking very carefully, and with good reason, at your new papers, and should, also with good reason, examine ALL papers that you have published elsewhere. In those cases, the editors should be contacted and the peer reviewer reports should be carefully examined, one by one, to assess whether true or fake peer review was conducted. It is a painful, but essential process.

    Of course, there can be critique of, or support of, Mr. Zaman, but surely the best way to get a frank discussion is by having him respond publically here at RW? Mr. Zaman, please come forward to address the angry critics and academics, give some personal guarantees, and show some remorse for what you have done.

  15. “We’re not sure what a “cumulative impact factor” is”.
    An active profile of a researcher on ResearchGate shows details like ’28 publications’, 627 downloads, 90 citations and 31.96 impact points’.
    So ResearchGate simply adds up the impact factor of all papers with an inpact factor and presents this total as ‘31.96 impact points’.

  16. MHEven a convicted criminal has the right to find a job after serving their term in prison and, in principle, retractions are the served penalty here!

    Yes, in the US, technically a convicted person could try to find a job. But in practice no employer will hire a convict. Once a convict, always a convict, and few people see to find this problematic.

    On the other side of the coin: should a known fraudster be allowed to continue an academic career? Should Diederik Stapel be allowed to teach students at a school? Should Jens Förster be allowed to conduct research without close supervision? On the balance, I think not.

  17. chasing down this man in this way seems over the line.
    I can’t see how this post would bring Zaman’s exploits to the attention of anyone who was not already aware of them from reading the previous Zaman posts, so it’s not a case of “chasing him down”, and more reporting on how other people (at the Beaconhouse National University, for instance) react to his job applications.
    A mash-up, as it were, of Retractionwatch and “The Running Man”.

  18. Ok, lots of wrongdoings in his papers and retractions that followed. Lost his job, and had his name associated with poor practices. But what else RetractionWatch now wants? RW needs some code of conduct, no doubt. Please, limit yourselves to discuss the science (or the lack of it) in retracted papers and stop humiliating authors publicly.

  19. This is so Kafkian… someone above implied that an eventual job he may find should instead go to someone else who didn’t fake peer reviews. Surely it appears to be more fair, but the person who wrote this is now crossing limits too — taking over the place of HR who would assess his application. Maybe his evil deeds in peer reviews aren’t relevant for some position in the industry, and maybe regardless of what he did, he may possess skills to perform some task he might given. Have you guys ever read anything about due process? The same principles should hold here.

    1. Maybe Mr. Zaman should have thought about “due process” BEFORE he abused the online submission system. Stop trying to create cheap fodder for hungry lawyers. They have no say in this issue. Let Zaman step up to the plate and address his critcs publically, so that they may look each other in the eye.

    2. He isn’t applying for an industry position but for a faculty position at a university. Stating that someone who commited fraud on that scale should not hold such a position (at least not for the forseeable future) is not overstepping any boundaries but rather outlining minimum ethical requirements for such a job.

  20. Retractionwatchwatch
    Faking reviewer reports is unethical. Publicly destroying people is unethical, too. Retractionwatch also needs some kind of ethics code.

    No, it is not. A scientist who publishes something, also allows for public criticism. If i work at an employer in the research department and behave dishounourly when writing a report not for publication, it could be over the line to make the misconduct public. If i myself refer to publications in my CV, it is not a small problem.

    It is highly ethical to blame these people in public. When i read about the scientific misconduct here, i have to say that, if carried out wisely, i firmly assume that it off in terms of “average” career perspective.

  21. MH
    In my modest opinion, this post is quite disturbing, for several reasons. Is it so unethical – by your standards – to look for a job? Looking for a job is a right. (Even a convicted criminal has the right to find a job after serving their term in prison and, in principle, retractions are the served penalty here!) Also, I am sure that a competent employer would peruse the track record of the applicant and discover the very serious problems. Or are we assuming here that a prospective Pakistani employer would easily hire someone like Zeman???

    Not sure about the latter part. There is no public database on retractions (yet), and there is no database on people who conducted misconduct, there is normally no criminal charge, so that it is not totally trivial to make sure about this…….

    And such people should never ever work again in scientific research or teach future scientists. If he works somewhere else, no problem. If you steal from a bank you work for, i am pretty sure that no other bank will hire you.

  22. A couple of readers have quoted my comment (MH, Jan 5, 7:58PM).

    To be clear, I am not defending Zaman or condoning his damaging and unethical behaviour. I personally feel that he should not be employed in a University or other institution with research and/or educational goals. And I am confident that prospective employers will find out about the misconduct and many retractions (also thanks to the original RW post). But I consider the subject (and tone) of this post inappropriate (I perceived sarcasm) and not very professional (by stating “we’re fairly sure that’s not how impact factor works” while blatantly ignoring the meaning of a “cumulative impact factor”, which is a broadly used metrics, see, e.g., ResearchGate).

  23. I want to focus on ResearchGate/ And, since the subject of discussion is Zaman, here is Zaman’s ResearchGate profile:

    As one example, look at the third paper on his RG web-page, a 2014 paper published in the Arab Economics and Business Journal, with copyright of Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (see bottom of page 1 of the PDF), even though hosted by Elsevier. So, is public display of this file and others on his profile a breach of copyright?

    Would anybody care to comment on whether it is appropriate, or even legal, for scientists to be posting PDF files of published papers that are copyrighted. I have seen an increasing number of PDF files of papers published in Springer and Elsevier journals, and also of other publishers that hold the copyright. Surely, such scientists are in breach of their contract with publishers? If so, should they also be punished, the same way that Zaman was punished? If yes, explain your logic, if no, explain why not.

    My logic is that a publishing and/or copyright protocol/contract was breached. So what makes one evil a lesser evil? Just curious. I hope this sparks wider debate because I am increasingly concerned about and ResearchGate as potential havens for infringement of copyrighted papers, promulgated by millions of scientists…

  24. I think the problem with this post is neither the sarcasm nor the posting of “confidential” information, but how uninformative it is. So, Zaman was fired or resigned from his position – hardly a surprise after faking 16 peer reviews. So, he is looking for a new job (and not as an ice-cream vendor!) – also hardly surprising, after all, he has done an academic career so far (with fraud, but still) and will attempt at all costs to cling to that. If a potential employer wants to do a background check via Internet, he’ll surely find the older RW posts about his fraud very informative. Will this new post add anything new? Not really, it says that Zaman is still trying to get a job, but for an employer who just received his application, that’s obviously known already.

    This post is slightly self-congratulatory – it’s not to provide any new, relevant info on Zaman, but to show the consequences of him being revealed as a fraudster. I agree that it might be good as a deterrent for future fraudsters. However let’s not jump to conclusions: we don’t even know if he’ll fail to get the job he’s after!

    1. I suspect the main motivation behind this post is to create some public pressure on the university not to hire him. This pressure is the only thing that we have to bust the old boys’ networks that only care about their buddies and not about ethics or merits, so I see this post as a service to the scientific community. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a real possibility of him getting the job. After all, there must be a reason why an insider forwarded his application to RW.

      1. I understand that. But if this blog will begin to be used to “punish” fraudsters and/or prevent them from getting new jobs, one must tread *very* carefully. I see nothing wrong with this post (besides the lack of content) but going in this direction is dangerous and requires a lot of skill, which I hope the writers here have. Otherwise the original mission of the blog might be affected by this, which would be a pity.

  25. Not sympathetic to the man, but it is unprofessional and bullying to do this, even if he deserves it.

    Make a separate humor site if you want to do this but please keep this one clean and to the issues.

    1. I agree. RW states that its scope is to track journals and retractions; this post makes fun of someone’s apparent misunderstanding of impact factors.

      1. RW states that its scope is to track journals and retractions; this post makes fun of someone’s apparent misunderstanding of impact factors.

        Stated or not, it seems clear (to me) that the scope of Retraction Watch—as far as many of those commenting are concerned—includes paying attention to scientific fraud, at least to the extent that such fraud (or the appearance of such fraud) is a factor in retractions. It is generous of you to assume “apparent misunderstanding”, rather than conscious attempt to deceive, on the part of Zaman. Perhaps the general run of commenters at Retraction Watch (and its proprietors) would be better people if they were equally generous—but I don’t think that they are going beyond its (actual) scope by commenting adversely on Zaman’s (mis)use of “impact factors”.

  26. After taking attention to the post by “lhac” (January 6, 2015 at 4:25 pm) , guess why ,
    I will answer “blatnoi” (January 7, 2015 at 4:43 pm) and hence some other similar posts.

    No one could see Bengu Sezen’s PhD thesis at Heidelberg , it is not available in Germany’s academic theses archieve.

    Let me ask some questions :
    – what is expected from university : only diploma or being a reference for true knowledge ?
    – what is expected from scientist : having a PhD diploma or being a reference for true knowledge ?

    Assume driving licence of a bus driver has been cancelled for lifetime in a country for violating main rules.
    S/he got driving licence in another country.
    S/he became bus driver again in a 3rd country with that licence.
    Bus company did not warn passengers about driver’s licence history.
    So no chance is given to passengers to change driver.
    Will it be surprising if driver keep violating main rules ?
    Harms that passangers and others in same traffic may be faced are open ended.

    Why does bus company prefer such a driver instead of a good driver ?

    If passengers have right to tolarate harms easily from company ,
    can company dare to prefer such a driver ?

    Assume similar examples for a bank director , for a stockbroker , for an accountant ,
    for a medical doctor , for a pharmacist , for a nanny , etc.

    Accreditation of a medical doctor diploma got from another country may require to pass
    some exams and take years in some countries.
    Accreditation of a medical specialization diploma may take some more years.
    1 time violation of main rules may cause cancellation of right to work as a medical doctor and
    may cause a big personal economic crisis.

    When met an academic work having serious violations , is it possible not to suspect
    that other works of its owner(s) have high probability of also having serious violations ?

    1. “No one could see Bengu Sezen’s PhD thesis at Heidelberg , it is not available in Germany’s academic theses archieve.”

      You have to blame U Heidelberg for not submitting the thesis to the DNB archive. But I think this work is existent and readable. You can request it at the library in Heidelberg or in the library network SWB seemingly. Furthermore, a quick GS search found several works citing the Heidelberg PhD thesis. So the statement that this thesis is unavailable seems to be incorrect.

    2. Thanks for your answer Tansu. I do care about this particular case, as when I was a graduate student, we had a couple of group meetings where Sezen and Sames’ papers were discussed in a very positive way, and it was a shock to find out about the scandal later. And it kept getting more shocking with the release of the ORI report during my postdoc, and when I met the person who set up the experiments that were spiked during the night by Sezen and proved that she was lying.

      With regards to your example of a bus driver. Well, that person passed another driving course and at least in the second country they didn’t do anything wrong. Plus, the third country passed up their chance of doing due diligence by not checking this person’s record. If they don’t have anything in their contract about prior ‘accidents’ then it’s not so easy to fire the bus driver as they do have a legitimate license from a respected country, and you just have to cross your fingers and hope they don’t drive a bus off a cliff again. Probably there was no provision that you have to mention that you already lost a license once, before getting a second one. This might be a good lesson for the third country to change their hiring practices and contract wording in the future.

      I personally would not hire Sezen to my workplace if I was the head of a university, even if she did complete a legitimate PhD later. But I’m not. The part of the ORI report about how she stuck pieces of NMR spectra together is shocking. Back in 2008 I thought she made most complexes as there were X-Rays and NMR, and only made up the catalysis, but to find out in 2011 that it was all 10 times worse and that she probably didn’t even measure most of her NMR spectra, it’s something that’s difficult to wrap your head around. That’s an unbelievable dedication to falsification and for me it does make a difference. Even after 2008, I wouldn’t hire her, but in 2011 for sure. But I don’t know what that university can do now. Technically they hired a person with valid credentials.

    3. @Prollo (January 9, 2015 at 5:25 am) :
      Not me but German activists are who say this , and an academic activist who attempted to get a copy of that :

      “After leaving Columbia, Sezen went on to receive another Ph.D. in molecular biology at Germany’s Heidelberg University.
      I have, however, been unable to locate any reference in the German National Library of a dissertation accepted at Heidelberg by someone of this name, and all doctorates granted in Germany must be listed here.”

      Comment :
      A. Murat Eren , September 17, 2012
      I sent an e-mail to Dr. Elmar Schiebel (on Sep 10, 2012), Dr. Sezen’s Ph.D adviser in Heidelberg, to ask whether he knows anything about the dissertation, and I got no response (as of Sep 17, 2012).

      @blatnoi January (9, 2015 at 4:53 pm) :
      It may be useful to read the sub-chapter titled
      “Regulations that Retrograte, and the Ignored Report of the “State Auditing Board” ”
      in this article :
      Thesis Landscapes from the Dark Alleys of Turkish Academy


      The key is the answers of the 2 questions I asked :
      – what is expected … ?

      Not sure if anyone didn’t do anything wrong in the second country.

      Another key is if passengers have right to tolarate harms easily.
      In some countries passengers have no such a right.
      Guess which countries.
      If employer must pay for mistakes , it cares about employee’s risk factors.

      Everything are not written in hiring contract.
      There are some other related official texts which both sides must obey.

      In some countries state officers have been untoucable for very long time.
      Academics are state officers and they are untouchable.
      This makes academy an unreliable block box.
      Guess which countries.

      But I don’t know what that university can do now.
      Technically they hired a person with valid credentials.

  27. Marco
    That CV obviously is an old one, likely from late 2010, perhaps early 2011.

    Yes, the properties of the PDF show it was created and modified on 2/08/2010.

  28. Is this gentleman being chased down, or is he being carefully observed? I am not a journalist, but I imagine that the only way to make news is either to look for it actively, or, as appears to be in this case, if it happens to drop into your inbox as a document (anonymously, or not). I can indicate that I tend to copy most of my conflictual e-mails and documents to RW, because by piblic exposure, there is the chance that a lesson be learnt, not for me, but for others (I don’t mind being the guinea pig any longer). I can appreciate, as one who has exposed publically and who who has been exposed publically (he says with ears blushing), that we are really in a new chapter of science publishing. And not a particularly nice one either, nor one of which we should be proud. When I started out in science and even in my first almost 20 years, I never imagined that I or science would be where we are, in such a state of chaos.

    Could you imagine 10 or 20 years ago learning that a scentist had fraudulently abused an online submission system to fake his own peer reports? So, those who are being overly dramatic or sensitive about the tone of the RW wording, I urge you tor look at the basic facts that got this story posted: this gentleman (?) fraudulently cheated Elsevier. 16 times.

    So, this is the age of whistle-blowing, the age of instant messaging, tweeting and exposing the truth. On one hand, we will have the liberals who are invoking greater transparency, agressive if necessary, and on the other, the conservatives, always in defense of the victims (and their respect of human rights arguments). But I say, is the victim here not science and other economists? So, surely this gentleman deserves to be carefully examined? The age of privacy is most likely already dead, so let’s not be naive, and being exposed publicly (for one reason or another) is really an uncomfortable feeling and a horrible sensation (trust me, I know). But surely this blog post is not that excessive, is it, given the nature of the academic fraud that was committed by this individual?

  29. Perhaps RW could add a “Who’s Who” section that is separate from the main page, featuring individuals who in the past/present were/are directly involved, in some way, with retractions/fraud/misconduct? Posts such as this one could easily reside in such a corner of the site. It could also list academics, journal editors, et alia who, if not fraudsters themselves, have made contributions – positively or negatively – to the broad field of Scientific Fraud, for which retractions are only one symptom.

    Would that arrangement assuage those readers concerned about RW reporting on the current whereabouts of known fraudsters? I for one would like to know – and I think it is perfectly appropriate for RW to be a source of such information – if Anil Potti was practicing medicine within 100,000 miles of me, or if Ariel/Weishi/Laura/Doug/Haydee Fernandez/Meng/Tobias/Blinkee was still raving about the unfairness of freedom of speech, or if Khalid Zaman was trying to crawl back into academia, or or or …

    1. Posting about the whereabouts / career developments of fraudsters is not at all the same as making fun of someone based on a non-public document.
      If the tone of this post was: ‘despite his previous fraud, this person is seeking to gain a job at a new university’ I would be fine with it. But instead the tone here is: ‘lets all have a good laugh at what is written in this non-public document we have “acquired”. ‘
      By making such a post RetractionWatch crosses the line from reporting of facts to meting out of punishment, which in my view should not be the role of a journalistic entity.

  30. The language of that termination letter is brutal: “on account of his involvement in fraudulent Publications.” I wonder if the capital P was intentional. Shahid Khan, you have done a great service by making that document public.

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