A whodunit: Journal retracts paper that copied from an unpublished manuscript

A journal has retracted a 2015 paper because it apparently plagiarized a manuscript submitted two years earlier — but we’re scratching our heads about how it all happened.

The paper, “Chattering-free variable structure controller design via fractional calculus approach and its application,” was published in Nonlinear Dynamics and has been cited 15 times, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science.

Here’s the notice:

The Editor-in-Chief has retracted this article [1] because it overlaps significantly with an unpublished manuscript by different authors which was previously submitted to Nonlinear Dynamics in 2013. All authors agree with this retraction.

So this is, of course, a kind of plagiarism. But how did the authors obtain an unpublished manuscript by other authors? Did they steal it during peer review? None of the authors is listed as members of the journal’s editorial board, although that might have changed after the episode, and not every peer reviewer would be listed. And why was the paper retracted now, five years after it was published?

We tried asking Walter Lacarbornara, the editor in chief of Nonlinear Dynamics, what happened, but he has not responded to requests for comment. Neither has Hua Deng, the corresponding author of the now-retracted paper.

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4 thoughts on “A whodunit: Journal retracts paper that copied from an unpublished manuscript”

  1. Spring official website shows, there unimaginable strange.. the ND receive the manuscrip but it was publicated for other authors .//and it shows it was retracted in 2.7,2020??..
    Editor-in-Chief has retracted this article because it overlaps significantly with an unpublished manuscript by different authors which was previously submitted to Nonlinear Dynamics in 2013Change history
    07 February 2020TheEditor-in-Chief has retracted this article [1] because it overlaps significantly with an
    References

  2. Simple. One of the reviewers of the original paper is the author of the retracted paper

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