In March 2017, Christopher Blanford received an email from an editor at the Journal of Crystal Growth. Blanford had been named as a suggested reviewer for a manuscript, and the editor, Arnab Bhattacharya, wanted to verify that the Gmail account the authors provided was legitimate.
It was not.
Blanford—a senior lecturer in biomaterials at the University of Manchester, UK—thought it was an “amusing coincidence” that he was chosen as a fake reviewer, given that he has written about malpractice in academic publishing. He confirmed the Gmail account was not his, and the other two suggested reviewers told Bhattacharya, a professor at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai, India, the same thing.
When Retraction Watch began in 2010, our co-founders Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus quickly realized they couldn’t keep up with the hundreds of retractions that appeared each year. And the problem has only gotten worse — although we’ve added staff, the number of retractions issued each year has increased dramatically. According to our growing database, more than 1,300 retractions were issued last year (and that doesn’t include expressions of concern and errata). So to get new notices in front of readers more quickly, we’ve started a new feature called “Caught our Notice,” where we highlight a recent notice that stood out from the others. If you have any information about what happened, feel free to contact us at email@example.com.
A journal devoted to wrestling science — we’re not sure if it’s the only one — has given the old reverse frankensteiner to a 2016 article whose authors stole much of their text from a conference presentation one of them had reviewed for the meeting.
The article, “The Role of Goal Setting, Collectivism, and Task Orientation on Iranian Wrestling Teams Performance,” appeared in International Journal of Wrestling Science, a Taylor & Francis title. Its two authors were Hossein Abdolmaleki and Seyyed Bahador Zakizadeh, of the Islamic Azad University in Karaj, Iran.
A journal has retracted a 2012 paper after determining that the authors had already published it elsewhere.
According to the retraction notice, the editors-in-chief of the Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology concluded that the article had been published in another journal—In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology – Animal—the previous month. The authors, however, did not agree to the retraction.
The research, led by Ali Khavanin, who is based at Tarbiat Modares University in Tehran, Iran and is corresponding author on both papers, evaluated whether the vibrations from industrial machinery can harm hearing in rabbits (1,2).
A journal has retracted a paper after the university notified the editors that the authors presented the gruesome details of a patient who they didn’t directly treat.
But the paper’s corresponding author disputes that claim, arguing that the first author — a radiologist, who has since passed away, provided a crucial diagnosis in this case. We’ve tried to track down the doctors who lodged a complaint about the paper, alleging they were “actually involved in the original patient treatment,” but have so far been unsuccessful.
The paper describes an unfortunate accident during which a man fell from his tractor and stabbed himself in the eye on part of the machine. Initially, doctors could not locate the eye and “believed it to have been completely destroyed,” and discharged the patient after seven days. One week later he was back, complaining of headaches — and doctors found the eye embedded deep inside the skull, intact.
Both retracted articles were co-authored by three researchers in the Department of Civil Engineering at Shahid Rajaee Teacher Training University in Tehran, Iran. The first author, Saeed Ghaffarpour Jahromi, serves as the University’s Dean of Faculty in the School of Civil Engineering.
Recently, the editors of a journal about management science received a submission from a prominent Dutch economist. But something didn’t feel right about it.
For one, the author submitted the paper using a Yahoo email address. So the editors contacted the author via his institutional email; immediately, the researcher denied having submitted the paper — and said it had happened before. And then things got really interesting.
The editors — Yves Crama, Michel Grabisch, and Silvano Martello — decided to run a “sting” operation, pretending to consider the paper, and even submitted their own fake reviews, posing as referees. They accepted the paper via the electronic submissions system, then lo and behold: