This offense is the second we know of for the corresponding author, Uttam Chand Banerjee, in the same journal, Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. Last year, Banerjee—who works at National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) in Mohali, Punjab, India—had a 14-year-old review retracted in Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology after an investigation revealed the authors had plagiarized from numerous sources and failed to reference them. At the time, Banerjee told us that he and his co-authors took a few lines from other reviews and that omitting the references was “simply unintentional.” According to The Indian Express, Banerjee also faced plagiarism allegations in 2005, and was denied a prestigious fellowship in 2011 as a result.
When we asked Banerjee about the recent erratum, he again explained that the two references mentioned “were inadvertently left out.” He also noted that one of the omitted references is “our own paper.”
In the original version of our paper entitled “Enhancing the catalytic potential of nitrilase from Pseudomonas putida for stereoselective nitrile hydrolysis” published in “Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology” (2006) 72: 77–87, some references to already published articles were inadvertently left out.
- Figure 1 has previously been published in the paper by Renu Singh, Anirban Banerjee, Praveen Kaul, Brajesh Barse, U. C. Banerjee, “Release of an enantioselective nitrilase from Alcaligenes faecalis MTCC 126: a comparative study”, Bioprocess and Biosystems Engineering, October 2005, Volume 27, Issue 6, pp: 415–424.
- In the paragraph on “Kinetic Model in the immobilized cell systems” on page 83-84 Sections (1) and (2) describing the equation for mass transfer model have been taken from a paper by Chung, Tsuey-Ping, Hsiu-Ya Tseng, and Ruey-Shin Juang. “Mass transfer effect and intermediate detection for phenol degradation in immobilized Pseudomonas putida systems”. Process Biochemistry 38.10 (2003): 1497–1507.” License for the same has been acquired [License Number 4114020240483] but the reference was missing.
The final list of missing references is as follows:
Chung, Tsuey-Ping, Hsiu-Ya Tseng, and Ruey-Shin Juang. “Mass transfer effect and intermediate detection for phenol degradation in immobilized Pseudomonas putida systems.” Process Biochemistry 38.10 (2003): 1497-1507.
Singh, Renu, et al. “Release of an enantioselective nitrilase from Alcaligenes faecalis MTCC 126: a comparative study.” Bioprocess and Biosystems Engineering 27.6 (2005): 415-424.
The paper has been cited 38 times, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science, including once by the erratum.
A spokesperson for the journal told us that a whistleblower alerted the editors to the issue.
As far as Figure 1 is concerned, it contains chemical reactions, schematics and the Kinetic Model in the immobilized cell system describing the equations for mass transfer model which is not only present in the currently cited reference but also in other references cited earlier in the article. No text has been copied from any article.
Banerjee’s reasoning for omitting a reference is similar to what one author argued in a recent post, which explored whether failing to cite a paper constitutes plagiarism.
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