A year ago today, Jennifer Powers, a co-author of a 2009 paper wrote to Springer Nature to alert the publisher to the fact that Tropical Dry Deciduous Forest: Research Trends and Emerging Features, a 2017 textbook by J. S. Singh and R.K. Chaturvedi, had plagiarized her work, and the work of others. A publisher representative responded six days later, saying they would look into the matter.
Then, for five months, crickets.
On January 23 of this year, Powers, of the University of Minnesota, sent another message asking for a progress report. Several days later, a Springer Nature staffer wrote to say they would provide an answer by mid-February.
Mid-February came and went, and the co-author sent another reminder, as did Jesse Lasky, of Penn State, another of the authors who said his work had been plagiarized. Back from Springer came this message:
Before we present this week’s Weekend Reads, a request: Our co-founder Ivan Oransky is celebrating a birthday this coming week, and he’d like nothing more than a gift to Retraction Watch to support our work. Here’s your chance.
Maybe you’re a researcher who likes keeping up with developments in scientific integrity. Maybe you’re a reporter who has found a story idea on the blog. Maybe you’re an ethics instructor who uses the site to find case studies. Or a publisher who uses our blog to screen authors who submit manuscripts — we know at least two who do.
Whether you fall into one of those categories or another, we need your help.
On February 23, 2018, Stephen Barrett — a physician in the United States perhaps best known for his work at Quackwatch — sent Dove Press this message:
I believe you have published 20 articles in 6 of your journals in which the lead author did not make a full conflict-of-interest disclosure. Please email me directly with the name and email address of an individual to whom I should report.
A materials scientist in Australia, by way of Iran, has recently had five papers retracted for duplicating his prior work, and the reader who brought the issue to publishers’ attention says it could affect some 100 articles.
Ali Nazari, now of Swinburne University of Technology in Australia, was at Islamic Azad University in Iran when he published the five papers in Energy and Buildings, an Elsevier title, in 2010 and 2011. The retractions came sometime after January of this year, when an anonymous reader contacted Elsevier about dozens of Nazari’s papers.