The shout-out isn’t subtle; in fact, it’s the first sentence of the Introduction in “Solar still with condenser – A detailed review:”
Water is a gift from God and it plays a key role in the development of an economy and in turn for the welfare of a nation.
The paper itself contains a few similarities to a 2010 paper on the same topic, “Active solar distillation—A detailed review,” which also appeared in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. But that paper phrases the first sentence of the introduction slightly differently:
Water is a nature’s gift and it plays a key role in the development of an economy and in turn for the welfare of a nation.
Earlier this month, PLOS ONE retracted a paper that cited “the Creator;” in that case, however, an author claimed the wording stemmed from a translation mistake.
There are some other similarities between the 2010 and 2016 papers. For instance, take a look at excerpts of the two abstracts — here’s the first, from 2010:
All over the world, access to potable water to the people are narrowing down day by day. Most of the human diseases are due to polluted or non-purified water resources. Even today, under developed countries and developing countries face a huge water scarcity because of unplanned mechanism and pollution created by manmade activities. Water purification without affecting the ecosystem is the need of the hour.
And the 2016 version:
Access to potable water to the people is narrowing down day after day all over the world. Most of the human diseases are caused by polluted or non-purified water resources. Water purification without affecting the ecosystem is the necessity of the hour.
To be fair, the 2016 paper cites the 2010 version in the list of references — although that reference appears at the end of the introduction, not where the textual similarities first appear.
The 2010 paper has been cited 70 times, according to Thomson Reuters Web of Science; the 2016 paper has not yet been indexed.
The language of the 2016 earned a strong reaction on Twitter:
It takes some chutzpah to plagiarize a paper — in the very same journal — and also throw in a reference to God! pic.twitter.com/qmVOpv2VkR
— Neuroskeptic (@Neuro_Skeptic) March 21, 2016
We contacted a representative of Elsevier, which publishes the journal, who told us:
There is only one reference to ‘God’ in the first sentence of the Introduction where it says “Water is a gift from God “ – this seems a broad reference, perhaps similar to the reference “water is a nature’s gift” in the first line of the Introduction of the 2010 paper. So we don’t think the 2016 paper is a creationist paper, as the rest of this paper is about the science of solar distillation, etc. We are also looking into the 2016 paper further for duplication, but this is a different matter.
Earlier this month, we reported on another Elsevier journal — Desalination — that published a paper that plagiarized from another in the same journal. In that case, however, the journal made a formal determination that plagiarism had occurred, which has not happened in the 2016 paper in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews.
We’ve contacted first author of the 2016 paper, A.E. Kabeel, based at Tanta University in Egypt.
Hat tip: Neuroskeptic
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