Two journals have retracted two papers by the same group within months of each other, after editors were independently tipped off that they contained duplicated figures representing different experiments.
The two papers were published by PLOS ONE and The Egyptian Journal of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (EJBMB) in 2015 and 2014, respectively. According to the PLOS ONE paper’s corresponding author, last author Saad A. Noeman from Tanta University in Egypt used the same Figure 1 in both papers, along with another 2013 paper in EJBMB.
Corresponding author Yasser S. El-Sayed, head of the Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology at Damanhour University in Egypt, told us he learned of this issue after a reader brought the figure manipulation and duplication concerns to PLOS ONE’s attention.
El-Sayed said that he tried to figure out what had happened.
Continue reading Author duplicated a figure in three papers; two get retracted
A food science journal has retracted a paper over “a breach of reviewer confidentiality,” after editors learned it contained text from an unpublished manuscript — which one of the authors appears to have reviewed for another journal.
The publisher and editors-in-chief of the Journal of Food Process Engineering became aware of the breach when the author of the unpublished manuscript lodged a complaint that his paper, under review at another journal, had been plagiarized by the now retracted paper.
We’re hazy on a few details in this case. Although the journal editor told us the “main author” of the retracted paper reviewed the original manuscript for another journal, the corresponding author of the retracted paper said he was not to blame. (More on that below.)
When looking into the matter, the publisher found that one of the co-authors of the published paper had acted as a reviewer of the unpublished manuscript. Alexandra Cury, an associate editor at Wiley, explained: Continue reading Nightmare scenario: Text stolen from manuscript during review
Journals have retracted two papers after they were flagged by a pseudonymous blogger, who suspected all had copied text from other sources.
What’s more, a third paper seems to have simply disappeared from the journal’s website, after the blogger, Neuroskeptic, alerted the journal to the text overlap.
Neuroskeptic became suspicious about the three unrelated papers – about food chemistry, heart disease, and the immune system and cancer – after scanning them with plagiarism software. After alerting the journals, two issued formal retractions for the papers – but neither specifies plagiarism as the reason.
The retractions were the result of a larger project, Neuroskeptic told us:
Continue reading Journals pull two papers after blogger shares plagiarism suspicions
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.
The researcher wasn’t the only one wary of the journal — it’s on Jeffrey Beall’s list of “potential, possible, or probable” predatory publishers. Appropriately, Beall recounts the story of her sting operation on his blog. Here’s how it all went down:
Continue reading Sting operation forces predatory publisher to pull paper
A researcher in Egypt is threatening to sue a mathematics journal if it doesn’t un-retract one of his papers.
The American Journal of Computational Mathematics in May retracted Mostafa M. A. Khater‘s 2015 paper, “The Modified Simple Equation Method and Its Applications in Mathematical Physics and Biology.” The retraction notice is sparse on the details, indicating only that the article was not up to snuff: Continue reading Author of retracted math paper defends against plagiarism charge, threatens to sue journal
As we’ve said before, with hundreds of retractions per year, there are simply too many for us to cover individually.
So from time to time we’ll compile a list of retractions that appeared relatively straightforward, just for record-keeping purposes.
Often, these seemingly straightforward retractions involve duplications, in which authors — accidentally or on purpose — republish their own work elsewhere.
Sometimes journals and authors blame this event on “poor communication,” our first example notes:
Continue reading You’ve been dupe’d: Nice data — let’s see them again
A rheumatology journal has retracted a paper about treating knee pain after an institutional investigation found a mistake in the statistical process.
Over several months, the authors proposed a series of corrections to the 2014 study. However, the journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases (ARD) decided that there were “unresolved concerns” about the reliability of the data, and decided to retract the paper entirely, despite the authors’ objections.
Here’s the retraction notice: Continue reading Against authors’ wishes, journal pulls study with errors, statistical mistake
A paper about using solar energy to make water potable has been flagged for citing God.
The shout-out isn’t subtle; in fact, it’s the first sentence of the Introduction in “Solar still with condenser – A detailed review:”
Water is a gift from God and it plays a key role in the development of an economy and in turn for the welfare of a nation.
The paper itself contains a few similarities to a 2010 paper on the same topic, “Active solar distillation—A detailed review,” which also appeared in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. But that paper phrases the first sentence of the introduction slightly differently: Continue reading Paper calls water “a gift from God”
A paper on a hybrid algorithm turned out to be a hybrid itself — some original data, plus some from a paper that the authors had published earlier.
According to the retraction note, the overlap was significant enough to pull it from the scientific record.
The retracted paper describes an algorithm that is the combination of a “genetic algorithm” and a “cultural algorithm”– which, as their names sort of suggest, focus on looking at a population of solutions, and the history of which kinds of solutions work, respectively. According to the abstract, results to optimization problems found with a hybrid algorithm are “more accurate and the fast convergence is obvious.”
The retraction note provides a few details about the nature of the duplication:
Continue reading Algorithm paper retracted for “significant overlap” with another
The Journal of Mosquito Research has retracted a paper because it contains a figure that “was obviously stolen” from another paper.
The retracted paper’s first author Emtithal M. Abd El-Samiee is now up to two retractions, by our count. Last month, we reported on her fruit fly paper, felled by a faulty gene sequence. On the paper, she is listed as an entomologist at Cairo University.
The note tells us where the figure was stolen from:
Continue reading “Obviously stolen” figure squashes mosquito paper in author’s second retraction