When is asparagus not asparagus? Why, when it’s ginger, of course!

Asparagus and ginger (and other ingredients) living happily together (via Beck/Flickr)

Allow us to explain that headline.

Food Science & Nutrition has retracted a 2018 article by a group of researchers in China and Pakistan for plagiarism. The article was titled “Experimentally investigated the asparagus (Asparagus officinalis L.) drying with flat-plate collector under the natural convection indirect solar dryer.”  

Per the retraction notice: Continue reading When is asparagus not asparagus? Why, when it’s ginger, of course!

UPDATED: Elsevier retracts a paper on solar cells that appears to plagiarize a Nature journal. But the reason is…odd.

The similarities between recent papers in two different journals about energy were striking — so striking that a number of people have taken to Twitter and Facebook to let the world know about them.

[1415 UTC, August 29, 2018: See update at the end of this post.]

One paper, “Systematic investigation of the impact of operation conditions on the degradation behaviour of perovskite solar cells,” was authored by a group of researchers in Lausanne, Switzerland and appeared on January 1, 2018 in Nature Energy. Its abstract reads: Continue reading UPDATED: Elsevier retracts a paper on solar cells that appears to plagiarize a Nature journal. But the reason is…odd.

PLOS ONE flags math paper over algorithm concerns

PLOS OnePLOS 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. 

Here’s the EOC, posted July 25: Continue reading PLOS ONE flags math paper over algorithm concerns

Peer review scam leader now up to 20 retractions

Khalid Zaman
Khalid Zaman

We’ve unearthed four more retractions for Khalid Zaman, an economist who lost 16 papers in 2014 for orchestrating fake peer review.

That brings Zaman’s total to 20, and ties him at the #18 spot on our leaderboard.

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.)

First, the retraction notice for peer review issues, published in April 2015 for “Environmental Indicators and Energy Outcomes: Evidence from World Bank’s Classification Countries:”

Continue reading Peer review scam leader now up to 20 retractions

Environmental journal pulls two papers for “compromised” peer review

EGAHEnvironmental Geochemistry and Health has retracted two papers after an investigation suggested that the peer-review process had been compromised.

In case you’re counting, we’ve now logged approximately 300 retractions stemming from likely faked or rigged peer review.

The retraction note — which is the same for both papers — explains a bit more about the situation: Continue reading Environmental journal pulls two papers for “compromised” peer review

Duplicate publication uprooted from plant journal

AJPS2015012714522401The 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):

Continue reading Duplicate publication uprooted from plant journal

Editors weren’t “unable to verify reviewer identities” — reviewers just weren’t qualified

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We can’t resist flagging some misleading language in a retraction note for a 2015 paper on the inner workings of an amoeba pathogen.

The note for “The Charms of the CHRM Receptors: Apoptotic and Amoebicidal effects of Dicyclomine on Acanthamoeba castellanii” is short, so we’re going to give it to you up front:

This accepted manuscript has been retracted because the journal is unable to verify reviewer identities.

Sounds like another case of faked emails to generate fake peer reviews, right? But that’s not what happened to this paper, according to the editor in chief of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, Louis B. Rice, a professor at Brown University:

Continue reading Editors weren’t “unable to verify reviewer identities” — reviewers just weren’t qualified

Authors object to duplication verdict by environmental journal

10661An 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.

Here’s the note, published in April by Environmental Monitoring and Assessment: Continue reading Authors object to duplication verdict by environmental journal

Anyone want to hire an economist who retracted 16 papers for fake peer reviews?

Khalid Zaman
Khalid Zaman

In December, we reported that economist Khalid Zaman was losing 16 papers over faked peer reviews.

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.

We’ve gotten ahold of his application, and it’s a real treat. Here’s an excerpt: Continue reading Anyone want to hire an economist who retracted 16 papers for fake peer reviews?

Elsevier retracting 16 papers for faked peer review

zaman
Khalid Zaman

Fake peer reviews: They’re all the rage.

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.

Here’s the main notice: Continue reading Elsevier retracting 16 papers for faked peer review