Aeronautic dentistry seems like a fairly unique field, but a review article about keeping teeth healthy in outer space has been retracted from the International Journal of Stomatology & Occlusion Medicine for not being quite unique enough.
“Aeronautic dentistry: an upcoming branch,” a review article, appears to have lifted pieces of other works “verbatim and without citation,” according to a representative from the journal’s publisher.
According to the first author, any plagiarism was purely accidental:
The amount of material which seems to be plagiarised was not done intentionally.
The retraction note is a single line:
This article has been withdrawn by Professional Media Department, Springer-Verlag Wien due to proven plagiarism.
According to the abstract of the paper, the “newly recognized” specialty requires dentists to understand how low gravity affects the mouth:
Various orofacial structures are affected in an outer space. An aeronautic dentist has to be prepared to screen and select only those astronauts with optimal oral health. Also, an aeronautic dentist has to be prepared to face any emergencies that may arise due to exposure to microgravity.
We contacted a communications manager at Springer to inquire what the paper plagiarized from, and were forwarded to Levente Istvan Koltai, who handles editorial rights at the publisher. Here are the key details of what went wrong, according to Koltai:
The story is quickly told. After publication, it has been found that the mentioned article contains plagiarism, as it includes large parts of uncited material from at least two other articles, both by Dr. Balwant Rai.
The articles in question, according to Koltai, include a pair of 2011 papers, a study from the International Journal of Dentistry titled “Evaluation by an aeronautic dentist on the adverse effects of a six-week period of microgravity on the oral cavity,” and a review article in the Journal of Oral Science, “The history and importance of aeronautic dentistry.”
The rest of Koltai’s short note explains that there was no question about what was taken:
Although B. Rai is cited at certain spots in the article, major parts of the work are taken over verbatim and without citation. It is pretty obvious, what happened and we did not get any useful reply by the authors concerning the allegations.
We contacted first author Kanwaldeep Singh Soodan at M.M. College of Dental Science and Research in India, who responded:
The amount of material which seems to be plagiarised was not done intentionally. As it was as a review article, so some of material was taken from old articles as review article always involves inclusion of review of old articles.
First this article was published online and that time they did not find any problem in that. They gave me volume number and serial number. later on when it was to be published in print form then they told me about its plagiarism. If they had any such problem then they should have told me before publishing and all such problem should have not been faced by me.
We contacted Balwant Rai, an Associate Professor at the Kepler Space institute and an author on the two papers that were plagiarized. We’ve also contacted Grace Baynes, the Head of Science & Scholarly Communications at Springer Nature, who is conferring with the editors of the journal to see if they can provide further comment. We’ll update with their response if they do.
Hat tip: Rolf Degen
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