A biologist at the University of Georgia has lost a paper after an investigation revealed she had tampered with three images.
In 2014, Azza El-Remessy notched three retractions for a series of image errors. Now, a fourth retraction notice, and an expression of concern, explain there has been an investigation into her work. The investigation — conducted by two Georgia institutions, along with the Charlie Norwood Veterans Affairs Medical Center, where El-Remessy has additional appointments — has found evidence of misconduct.
An author who claimed that he accidentally plagiarized material in a retracted paper has lost two more — again, for plagiarism.
Earlier this year, we shared a 900-word statement in which Christopher S. Collins at Azusa Pacific University explained he unintentionally plagiarized a paper by taking notes on it — including writing down whole sentences — and using them in his own paper, forgetting the original source. Did the same thing happen three times?
We’re asking ourselves that question after finding two more retractions for Collins for plagiarism. One lists five different sources that he incorporated without attribution.
A researcher in New Mexico has retracted three papers tainted by fraud.
Lead author Samuel Lee, who works at the New Mexico Veterans Affairs (VA) Healthcare System and the University of New Mexico (UNM), requested Eukaryotic Cell retract two papers after identifying multiple instances of fabricated or falsified data. He requested the retraction of a review article based on those papers as well.
In addition, the research is subject to an investigation, Ellie Ghatineh, a production editor at the journal, told us:
Does an article that discusses anonymized student projects about how to catalog data count as research on human subjects?
One of the students included in the paper thought so, and complained to the journal after learning that it had published the case study of the program without the approval required for studying people. The authors admitted they didn’t get consent from participants, because they didn’t realize the work required it. The mix-up has prompted both them and the journal to reconsider their policies regarding ethics approval of studies.
Consider this: Fragments of a PLOS ONE paper overlap with pieces of other publications. The authors used them without credit and without quotation marks.
This sounds an awful lot like plagiarism — using PLOS‘s own standards, even. But the journal isn’t calling it plagiarism. They’ve labeled this an instance of “text overlap,” a spokesperson told us, based on the amount of material that the paper shares with others.
The last author — Carlo Croce, who has two retractions under his belt — denies that he plagiarized, and says that his university has cleared him of a plagiarism charge from an anonymous whistleblower.
PLOS fixed this case last year with a correction notice — not the common course of action for a case of confirmed plagiarism. Take a look at the notice for yourself:
Note to self: If you’re going to duplicate your own work, don’t copy from papers that plagiarize others’ research.
Just such a mistake has cost a PhD candidate three papers — although his co-author argues that a company is in part to blame.
Hossein Jafarzadeh, who is studying mechanical engineering at the University of Tehran, apparently asked a company to complete photomicroscopy for his work. Instead of doing to the work, the company provided him with an image taken from another paper, according to Karen Abrinia, his co-author, who is based at the same institution.
That’s the explanation that Abrinia gave when we asked about three retractions that the pair share, at least.
What the notices tell us is a little more convoluted. Plagiarized material from two different papers ended up in two different papers by the pair. Then, the researchers copiedfrom their own papers in a third paper. (We’re unclear if Abrinia attributes every step of the mess to a company or not. Confused yet?)
Sometimes, the best way to expose a problem with the publishing process is to put it to a test — perhaps by performing a Sokal-style hoax, or submitting a paper with obvious flaws.
In 2014, that’s just what a researcher in Kosovo did. Suspicious that a journal wasn’t doing a thorough job of vetting submissions, she decided to send them an article of hers that had already appeared in another journal. Her thinking was that any journal with an honest and thorough peer review process would hesitate to publish the work. But this journal didn’t — at least at first. Though they retracted the paper this summer, it took a few twists and turns to get there.
Here’s a strange one: We discovered a paper about an antibiotic-resistant strain of bacteria that bore two retraction notices, and each provided a different reason for retraction. One alleged misconduct; that notice still appears now. The other — which has since disappeared — said the paper was submitted by mistake.
A cluster of papers by different authors has been retracted for sharing text, even though some papers were submitted at the same time.
How is that possible? A spokesperson for Springer told us that they have reason to believe a third-party company may have helped prepare the papers for publication, and in the process might have spread the material around to multiple manuscripts.
The details of the cluster are a bit perplexing, so bear with us. Two of the papers — that were published only months apart — have already been retracted, as we reported in April. Now, two other papers have been retracted from Molecular Biology Reports — and both notices cite the previously retracted papers. The new notices also say that there’s reason to believe that the peer-review process was compromised.
All papers conclude that a certain polymorphism could signal a risk for coronary artery disease among Chinese people.