Too much skin in the game: Derm journal calls out author for duplication

We often praise authors for doing the right thing by retracting with transparency. Here’s a journal that deserves recognition for its handling of a case of duplicate publication.

Acta Dermatovenerologica Alpina, Pannonica et Adriatica (ADAPA), a European derm publication, has retracted a 2018 article in smack-down fashion, calling out a co-author for deceit. The paper was a case study titled “Inflamed bilateral linear atrophoderma of Moulin in an adult woman: a case report.” According to ADAPA, a reader noticed that a virtually identical article — with the same title — had appeared in a Turkish dermatology publication in late 2017.

In an lengthy editorial, Jovan Miljković, the editor-in-chief of the journal, explained what happened after a review of the two papers found them to be “virtually identical”: Continue reading Too much skin in the game: Derm journal calls out author for duplication

Caught stealing a manuscript, author blames a dead colleague

William Faulkner

As William Faulkner wrote in Requiem for a Nun, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” Farzad Kiani learned that lesson the hard way.

Kiani, of Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University, was the “author” of a 2018 review article in Wireless Communications and Mobile Computing titled “A survey on management frameworks and open challenges in IoT.” According to the abstract: Continue reading Caught stealing a manuscript, author blames a dead colleague

A “clandestine retraction” as a paper disappears from a management journal without a trace

Daniel Jung

First it was there. Now it’s gone.

In March 2018, three researchers at Atatürk University in Turkey published“Investigation Of The Critical Factors Affecting E-Government Acceptance: A Systematic Review And A Conceptual Model” at the Innovative Journal of Business and Management, where it was freely available during 2018. It has no DOI, and no citations (that I know of).

Now it is gone; the link is redirected to the journal’s general search engine. A search for the title or authors there yields no hits; neither do the Google references to the article nor resources around it. The March 2018 issue has now an unexplained hole from pages 77–84. The Google Scholar index for this article disappeared in March 2019.

What happened? Continue reading A “clandestine retraction” as a paper disappears from a management journal without a trace

Plagiarism costs author five papers in five different journals

An engineering researcher has written about models tackling a range of complex issues — security problems in Iraq, poverty in Europe, and emergency responses to humanitarian crises. But there may be some limits to his expertise: Between 2016 and 2017, five journals have retracted five of his papers, citing plagiarism.

Some of the notices describe the plagiarism as “extensive,” “significant,” and “substantial.” One journal editor, who retracted one of Kubilay Kaptan’s papers last year, told us the paper “was simply a direct copy from an existing one.”

The editor noted that Kaptan — who lists his affiliation as the Civil Engineering Department at Beykent University in Istanbul — claimed to be “the victim of a personal smear campaign, which involved submitting plagiarised manuscripts in his name.” We reached out to Kaptan several times by phone and email to verify this claim, but did not hear back.

Here’s the most recent retraction, for a 2016 paper published in Journal of Refugee Studies  Continue reading Plagiarism costs author five papers in five different journals

Group whose findings support video game-violence link loses another paper

Last July, Joseph Hilgard, a postdoctoral fellow at the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, saw an article in Gifted Child Quarterly that made him do a double take. Hilgard, who is studying the effects of violent media on aggressive behavior, said the results of the 2016 paper “caused me some alarm.”

The research—led by corresponding author Brad J. Bushman, a professor of communication and psychology at The Ohio State University (OSU)—showed that gifted and non-gifted children’s verbal skills dropped substantially after watching 12 minutes of a violent cartoon. The violent program had a greater impact on the gifted children, temporarily eliminating the pre-video verbal edge they displayed over their non-gifted peers.

To Hilgard, the results suggested that violent media can actually impair learning and performance. But the effect size was huge — so big, Hilgard thought it had to be a mistake. This, plus other questions, prompted Hilgard to contact the authors and the journal. Unfortunately, once he got a look at the data — collected by a co-author in Turkey who became unreachable after the recent coup attempt — the questions didn’t go away. So the journal decided to retract the paper.

Bushman’s body of work has continually supported the idea that violent media increases aggressive behavior, including a controversial 2012 study “Boom, Headshot!” that was retracted earlier this year.

What first struck Hilgard as odd about the 2016 paper was how large the effect of the violent cartoon was: Continue reading Group whose findings support video game-violence link loses another paper

Author objects to retraction of paper suggesting fingerprints can predict facial features

A journal has pulled a paper about predicting people’s faces from their fingerprints due to “significant overlap” with a previous paper by the same authors.   

According to the retraction notice in Intelligent Automation & Soft Computing, the authors didn’t cite or acknowledge the other study in the Turkish Journal of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science.

First author of both papers, Şeref Sağıroğlu, who is based at Gazi University in Ankara, Turkey told Retraction Watch that he doesn’t believe the two papers have significant overlap. Still, the research is related, so when he learned the retracted paper didn’t reference the previous one:

Continue reading Author objects to retraction of paper suggesting fingerprints can predict facial features

Peer review manipulation fells another study

Spectrochimica ActaA spectroscopy journal has retracted a 2016 study after concluding that its editors had been misled by a fake review.

According to the retraction notice, the journal — Spectrochimica Acta Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy — accepted the paper due to positive feedback from someone assuming the identity of an expert reviewer, using an email address provided by the author of the study.

An official from the author’s institution in Turkey informed us that it will conduct an investigation. 

Here’s the retraction notice for “Diagnosis of cervical cancer cell taken from scanning electron and atomic force microscope images of the same patients using discrete wavelet entropy energy and Jensen Shannon, Hellinger, Triangle Measure classifier:” Continue reading Peer review manipulation fells another study

Sting operation forces predatory publisher to pull paper

Medical Archives

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

You’ve been dupe’d: Results so nice, journals published them twice

With so many retraction notices pouring in, from time to time we compile a handful of straight-forward retractions.

Once again, this list focuses on duplications — but unlike other duplications, these authors were not at fault. Rather, these retractions occurred because the publishers mistakenly published the same paper twice — the result of a transfer between publishers, for instance, or accidentally publishing the unedited version of the paper. We’re forced to wonder, as we have before, whether saddling researchers’ CVs with a retraction is really the most fair way to handle these cases.

So without further ado, here’s five cases where the journal mistakenly duplicated a paper, and had to retract one version: Continue reading You’ve been dupe’d: Results so nice, journals published them twice

Ever been asked to review your own paper? This economist was

Serdar Sayan
Serdar Sayan

“Eerily familiar”: That’s how Serdar Sayan of TOBB University of Economics and Technology in Turkey says it felt to read a submission to the Scandinavian Journal of Economics, after the journal asked him to review the manuscript. It turns out, it was Sayan’s paper, word for word, equation for equation, down to the last punctuation mark. But this wasn’t a case of authors faking email addresses for reviewers to rubber stamp their own work – instead, the author had plagiarized from a paper Sayan had published a few years earlier. Sayan describes the surreal experience in the Review of Social Economy (vol. 74, no. 1, 2016), in a paper titled: “Serving as a referee for your own paper: A dream come true or…?

“I have been asked by a journal to serve as a referee for my own paper. Obviously, this sounds just as unlikely, and probably almost as intriguing, as saying ‘I have attended my own funeral.’” — Serdar Sayan, Review of Social Economy (vol. 74, no. 1, 2016)

Retraction Watch: When you looked at the paper, how long did it take you to figure out what had happened? Continue reading Ever been asked to review your own paper? This economist was