PLOS ONE has issued an expression of concern (EOC) for a 2014 math paper after readers raised concerns with its algorithm.
According to the first author of the paper — Hafsa Athar Jafree from the University of Karachi in Pakistan — none of the authors agreed to the EOC notice. She told us the paper contains a few typos, which may have made it unclear to some readers, but said the authors had provided all of the necessary information to “justify the presented algorithms.”
A PLOS ONE spokesperson told us the journal decided to issue an EOC after consulting the editorial board, which raised significant concerns about the study.
In 2014, the journal issued a correction to the study to fix several equations in the original article.
One of the more recently discovered retractions is for fake peer review, attributed to Zaman; one is for plagiarism, and two other papers were withdrawn while in press, for reasons that are unclear. (Note bene: These retractions are all at least one year old.)
The American Journal of Plant Sciences has retracted a duplicate publication — and is considerately describing what happened in a checklist that accompanies the retraction note.
The checklist is similar to one that friend of Retraction Watch Hervé Maisonneuve has proposed to the Committee on Publication Ethics.
The retracted paper shares one author with the paper that it duplicated from: Irfan Talib, whose affiliation is listed on the retracted paper as the University of Agriculture in Pakistan.
Here are the relevant fields on the checklist for “Study of Genetic Diversity in Germplasm of Upland Cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) in Pakistan” (a PDF on this page includes the checklist and the original paper):
An environmental journal has pulled a 2011 paper following an investigation, which revealed it contained “extensive similarities” with another paper published two years earlier by some of the same authors.
Two of the authors of the newly retracted paper — Zulfiqar Ahmad from Quaid-i-Azam University and Arshad Ashraf of the National Agricultural Research Center, both in Islamabad, Pakistan — were the sole authors of a 2008 paper about modeling groundwater flow in Indus Basin, Pakistan. The 2011 paper — posted online in 2010 — focused on the same topic, but included two additional authors, one of whom told us he was unaware of the previous paper and agrees with the journal’s decision. Ahmad, however, has defended the 2011 paper and asked that the journal remove the retraction note.
Now, Retraction Watch has learned that he left his job at COMSATS Information Technology Center in Abbottabad, Pakistan on December 26, seven days after our post. He’s now looking for a new job, including at Beaconhouse National University in Lahore, Pakistan.
Sixteen papers are being retracted across three Elsevier journals after the publisher discovered that one of the authors, Khalid Zaman, orchestrated fake peer reviews by submitting false contact information for his suggested reviewers.
This particular kind of scam has been haunting online peer review for a few years now, as loyal Retraction Watch readers know. This one is a classic of the genre: According to Elsevier’s director of publishing services, Catriona Fennell, an editor first became suspicious after noticing that Zaman’s suggested reviewers, all with non-institutional addresses, were unusually kind to the economist’s work.
Elsevier has actually hired a full-time staff member with a PhD in physics and history as a managing editor to do the grunt work on cases like this. Flags were first raised in August, at which point the ethics watchdog went to town digging through all of Zaman’s other publications looking for suspicious reviews coming from non-institutional addresses provided by the scientist, an economist at COMSATS Information Technology Center in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
The article was titled “Educational reforms and internationalization of universities: evidence from major regions of the world,” and was written by a group from China and Pakistan.It has been cited just once, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge, by another paper in Scientometrics.
Nutrition & Metabolism has retracted a 2008 article by a dwindling group of researchers from Pakistan. We’d say it’s the equivalent of punting on first down, expect that’s what the editors probably should have done in the beginning.
As it happens, the journal seems to be guilty of delay of game in this case. As this blog post by Jeffrey Beall notes, allegations that the now-retracted paper was a verbatim copy of another article arose in 2010.