Going cold turkey: Infectious disease-poultry researcher up to 14 retractions

via Flickr

Nine strikes in a row in bowling is called a “golden turkey.” So what do you call 10 papers on poultry pulled at once for plagiarism? 

We first wrote about Sajid Umar in July 2018, when he’d lost a 2016 article in Scientifica for plagiarism and other sins, and then again earlier this summer when he notched two more retractions from Poultry Science for “grave mistakes.” 

Now, the World’s Poultry Science Journal, a Taylor & Francis title, has pulled 10 more of Umar’s articles — bringing his total to 14, by our count. According to the retraction notice for the 2017 paper “Mycoplasmosis in poultry: update on diagnosis and preventive measures”:

We, the Editor and Publisher of World’s Poultry Science Journal, have retracted the following article: S. Umar, M.T. Munir, Z. Ur-Rehman, S. Subhan, T. Azam & M.A.A. Shah, ‘Mycoplasmosis in poultry: update on diagnosis and preventive measures’ (2017) 73:1, 17-28 https://doi.org/10.1017/S0043933916000830. The above article has been retracted as, subsequent to publication, significant duplication has been found in content throughout the article, particularly in the ‘Abstract,’ ‘Introduction,’ ‘Medication,’ ‘Vaccination,’ ‘Diagnosis’ and ‘Conclusion’ with the following published works; Kleven, S.H. ‘Control of Avian Mycoplasma Infections in Commercial Poultry’ Avian Diseases (2008) 52(3), 367-374 DOI 10.1637/8323-041808-Review.1 Nascimento, ER; Pereira, VLA; Nascimento, MGF; and Barreto, ML. Avian mycoplasmosis update. Brazilian Journal of Poultry Science (2005), 7:1 DOI 10.1590/S1516-635X2005000100001

Chris Morrow, a vaccine researcher in Australia, has been looking into papers from Umar and his colleagues since discovering that the group had published a paper reporting on a poultry vaccine Morrow had developed. In a 2019 letter to the journal Poultry Science, which had published the now-retracted 2017 article, Morrow pointed out instances of plagiarism as well as the fact that Umar’s group almost certainly did not have access to the vaccine, which his company had never shipped to Pakistan. 

Morrow has compiled a list of at least 22 papers, including the 14 already retracted, by Umar and his colleagues that he claims contain evidence of plagiarism and other problems, including “fantastic results with impossible statistics” and implausible numbers of turkeys in one study. 

Here are the other now-retracted articles: 

subsequent to publication, significant duplication has been found in content throughout the article with the following degree project report: Clara Atterby. 2012. ‘A Minor Field Study on Avian Metapneumovirus’ Degree project within the Veterinary Medicine Program. Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. https://stud.epsilon.slu.se/3991/1/atterby_c_120320.pdf 

The above article has been retracted as, subsequent to publication, significant duplication has been found in content in the ‘Introduction,’ ‘Emergence and evolution of LPAI H9N2,’ ‘Future prospects in AI vaccination,’ and ‘Conclusion’ sections with the following earlier published works: Karthik Shanmuganatham, Mohammed M Feeroz, Lisa Jones-Engel, David Walker, SMRabiul Alam, MKamrul Hasan, Pamela McKenzie, Scott Krauss, Richard J Webby & Robert G Webster ‘Genesis of avian influenza H9N2 in Bangladesh’ Emerging Microbes & Infections (2014) 3:1, 1-17 DOI 10.1038/emi.2014.84 Umar, S. ‘Emergence of new sub-genotypes of Newcastle disease virus in Pakistan’, World’s Poultry Science Journal (2017) 73:3, 567-580 DOI 10.1017/S0043933917000411 Lee, Dong-Hun and Song, Chang-Seon ‘H9N2 avian influenza virus in Korea: evolution and vaccination’ Clinical and Experimental Vaccine Research (2013) 2:1, 26-33 DOI 10.7774/cevr.2013.2.1.26

significant duplication has been found in content in the form of continuous sentences and paragraphs in almost all sections with the following earlier published work: Balamurugan, V. & Kataria, J.M. ‘Economically Important Non-oncogenic Immunosuppressive Viral Diseases of Chicken-Current Status’ Veterinary Research Communications (2006) 30, 541-566 DOI 10.1007/s11259-006-3278-4

We emailed Umar for comment but have yet to hear back.

Like Retraction Watch? You can make a tax-deductible contribution to support our work, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, add us to your RSS reader, or subscribe to our daily digest. If you find a retraction that’s not in our database, you can let us know here. For comments or feedback, email us at team@retractionwatch.com.

One thought on “Going cold turkey: Infectious disease-poultry researcher up to 14 retractions”

  1. I must commend Lucy Waldon (Editor of the WPSJ) and the WPSJ publishers for this result. They were the major victim of this outbreak – largely because they publish reviews. A lot of other journals were not so enthusiastic as they only had one article and the problem was slightly different.
    Plagiarism is an easy target. You can use “Turn it in” etc from your desk (if you know how to make the programme to keep going and report finding more than the article you are searching with). Scientific fraud was my main initial complaint and this is a lot harder to attack. Short of the editor hopping on a plane and flying to Pakistan, arriving without warning and asking the university to show the work books this is a lot harder to prove and a lot more harmful to a field. You can look at the raw data and statistics and draw conclusions about the probability of the observations recorded. You can try and repeat the experiment but really most of the time we must rely on trust.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.