Journal bans authors following investigation confirming plagiarism

Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 4.46.43 PMA journal has banned three researchers after an investigation confirmed that a “significant portion” of the text of their paper on screening for urinary tract infections had been plagiarized.

The researchers Sreenivasan SrirangarajArunava Kali and MV Pravin Charles, who are all based in India, won’t be allowed to publish in Australasian Medical Journal in the future, according to the retraction note.  

The retraction note takes the form of a letter from the Editor in Chief of the journal:

Dear Readers,

In September 2015, we were alerted by the authors that a paper published in the July 2014 issue of the AMJ should be retracted. The article published was:

Srirangaraj S, Kali A, Charles MVP. Antibiotic screening of urine culture as a tool for internal quality audit. AMJ 2014;7(2):73– 77.

After conducting an investigation, it was determined that a significant portion of the text of the paper had been plagiarised. The Australasian Medical Journal took immediate action, including:

1) Retracting the paper on the AMJ website.

2) Banning the authors from publishing in the AMJ in the future.

3) Notifying the heads of the authors’ institution about the actions taken.

4) Emailed the authors of the original paper from which the text was plagiarised to inform them of the actions taken.

5) Retracting the paper on Pubmed and PMC.

We regret that authors on our site have submitted plagiarised material, and do not condone any infringement of the standards of the journal.

Sincerely,

Moyez Jiwa Editor-in-Chief

The article has been cited once, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Jiwa told us that the journal routinely screens for plagiarism:

Authors must declare that their work is original at the time of submission. Therefore anyone who submits plagiarised material to our journal is aware of the consequences of doing so. We check all papers for plagiarism routinely. However the ultimate responsibility rests with authors.

This is the first time the journal has blacklisted authors:

We have not blacklisted others as we reserve this as the ultimate penalty for serious misconduct.

Jiwa told us that this is the first time that plagiarized material made it into the journal:

This was the only case [of plagiarism] that got through our filters. We have received some papers where the original source was not fully acknowledged. In those cases papers were rejected or authors were advised to reference appropriately or remove sections.

The retraction note says “the authors” alerted the journal to the issue — we asked Jiwa to clarify whether it was the authors of the original or retracted paper:

We were contacted by our authors. To alert us that they had received the complaint from the original authors.

He told us that he didn’t have access to the name of the paper that was plagiarized from:

It was one of the papers cited by them. Sorry can’t get that info readily at the moment.

In October, DNA and Cell Biology instituted a three-year ban on any authors who submitted plagiarized work; earlier this year, another journal banned authors for five years who submitted a duplicated asthma paper.

We’ve emailed Srirangaraj, the corresponding author on the newly retracted paper, for more information. We will update this post with anything else we learn.

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