Busted: Researcher used fake contact info for co-authors

In February, Lusine Abrahamyan, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto, was contacted by ResearchGate. Her name was listed on a 2016 paper in a heart journal, the site told her — was Abrahamyan indeed a co-author?

Um, no, she was not. In fact, before that moment, she didn’t know such a paper existed.

It turns out, Abrahamyan had supervised the thesis of the first author — who, she soon learned, had also published an identical paper in another heart journal. Both have since been retracted.

How did this happen?

International Cardiovascular Forum Journal editor Andrew Coats told us more about the actions of first author Joshua Chadwick Jayaraj:

The first author submitted a [pa]per saying it had been approved by all authors and submitted slightly altered emails for his two co-auth[or]s (hence they never received our messages about the paper’s progress through peer-review etc.[)] When published they wrote that they have never approved the paper or knew about it, so the first author had not fulfilled our submission requirements so we retracted it.

Abrahamyan, who was Jayaraj’s thesis supervisor while he was a student at the American University of Armenia from 2014 to 2015, soon found out about an identical paper published in another heart journal. The second paper, which appeared in the Indian Heart Journal and was also retracted, lists Jayaraj as first author and Abrahamyanis as second author.

When we contacted Jayaraj, he initially said he would answer our queries, but has not responded to several follow-up emails.

Here’s the retraction notice for “Comparative Effectiveness of Complete Revascularization versus Infarct Related Artery-only Percutaneous Coronary Revascularization for Multivessel Disease after ST-Segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction,” published in the International Cardiovascular Forum Journal:

… has been retracted at the request of the second and third authors who deny ever have given permisison for this article. The first author had submitted false email addresses for the second and third author and lied during the submission process about their approval.

And here’s the second retraction, for “Clinical outcomes of complete versus lesion only primary percutaneous coronary revascularization for multivessel disease and ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction,” published in the Indian Heart Journal:

The Publisher regrets that this article is an accidental duplication of an article that has already been published, http://dx.doi.org/10.17987/icfj.v8i0.256. The duplicate article has therefore been withdrawn.

We reached out to the journal to ask how the duplication occurred and why they called it “accidental,” and will update the post if we hear back.

This is hardly the first time we’ve seen problems with fake authorship. We recently wrote about a particularly complex case involving an editorial “sting operation,” in which an author submitted a paper under a fake email, pretending to be a prominent researcher.

Update 14:57 UTC 10/20/17: We’ve heard from Jayaraj, who told us he didn’t name Abrahamyan as an author because she didn’t help him prepare the manuscript:

I did everything to publish, but she retracted it because she didn’t want me to publish since I did it quickly without her help. I included her name and my second advisor to honor them.  She said I should wait for one year.

Hat tip: Rolf Degen for the ICFJ retraction

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2 thoughts on “Busted: Researcher used fake contact info for co-authors”

  1. I notice that RetractionWatch is yet another one of those that are enamored with the term “reached out.” It certainly is a term that must be at the top of the list of the silliest word/phrases that are trendy and “progressive” to use. I always like to ask people when they say they “reached out” … Do you mean phoned? emailed? contacted? If so then try using those words.

  2. It is always good to hear both sides of the story. Here, on one side you have two established, senior co-authors who never approved a version of an article that appeared to be submitted and published in two journals at the same time, and published with several errors in reporting the results and their interpretation that were not supported by the original study.

    On the other side, you have the person who submitted fake email addresses to these journals to get the articles published. After several months of a silence he responds that “I did everything to publish, but she retracted it because she didn’t want me to publish since I did it quickly without her help. I included her name and my second advisor to honor them. She said I should wait for one year.”

    I hope the readers of this comment will read through the lines and question statements such as ‘I did everything to publish…’ (hence the fake email addresses and not notifying co-authors) and ‘I did it quickly without her help…’ (two publications at the same time is a record we still need to beat). Apparently there is a ‘one year’ wait period to publish because all we want in academia is to publish study results later but not earlier!

    No supervisor wants to be honored in this way by a student.

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