On February 23, 2018, Stephen Barrett — a physician in the United States perhaps best known for his work at Quackwatch — sent Dove Press this message:
I believe you have published 20 articles in 6 of your journals in which the lead author did not make a full conflict-of-interest disclosure. Please email me directly with the name and email address of an individual to whom I should report.
We’ve seen many cases of researchers creating fake email addresses to impersonate reviewers that usher their paper to publication.
But in the latest fake email incident, a journal is retracting a paper on liver cancer after the first author created a phony address for the last and corresponding author. Both are researchers at Zhengzhou University in China.
This isn’t the first time that an author has worked around the corresponding author: there’s a case from a few years ago in which the corresponding author didn’t know that the paper was being published at all. Recently, we also wrote about a doctor who was suspended in the UK after submitting papers without her co-authors’ knowledge, including creating a fake email for one of them.
A 2013 review article about tuberculosis is being retracted for “unacknowledged re-use of significant portions of text” from another article, which the first author said wasn’t intentional.
Sayantan Ray, based at Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata in India, told us that “most of the unchanged text” is present in sections written by junior co-authors. Since there doesn’t appear to be any attempt to cover it up, he argued anyone responsible for the plagiarism must not have realized it was wrong:
You can appreciate that this type of obvious similarity can only happen when the concerned person [does] not have any idea about [the] plagiarism issue.
According to the notice, published by Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management, most of the re-used text appears to have come from a 2012 paper in the Indian Journal of Medical Research. Here’s more from the notice: