The first rule of Fight Club is … you do not republish Fight Club

Another Brad Pitt boxing

A pair of therapists has lost a paper in Sage Open because they’d previously published the article in another journal (more on that in a bit). 

The article, “Bridging the gap between theory and practice with film: How to use Fight Club to teach existential counseling theory and techniques,” appeared in 2013. The authors were Katarzyna Peoples, a counselor at Walden University, and Stephanie Helsel, a therapist whose LinkedIn page lists her as an adjunct professor at Waynesburg University in Pennsylvania. The two appear to have connected at Duquesne University, where each received her doctoral degrees. 

Here’s the gist of the article

Continue reading The first rule of Fight Club is … you do not republish Fight Club

Even potential participants of a research integrity conference commit plagiarism, organizers learn

One would hope that researchers submitting abstracts for a meeting on research integrity would be less likely to commit research misconduct. But if the experience of the 6th World Conference on Research Integrity is any indication, that may not be the case. Here, the co-organizers of the conference — Lex Bouter, Daniel Barr, and Mai Har Sham — explain.

Recently the 430 abstracts submitted for the 6th World Conference on Research Integrity (WCRI) were peer reviewed. After an alarming report of apparent plagiarism from one of the 30 reviewers, text similarity checking was conducted on all the abstracts received using Turnitin. This identified 12 suspected cases of plagiarism and 18 suspected cases of self-plagiarism. Abstracts with a Turnitin Similarity Index above 30% (ranging from 37% to 94%) were further assessed and labelled as potential self-plagiarism if overlapping texts had at least one author in common. Continue reading Even potential participants of a research integrity conference commit plagiarism, organizers learn

Energy researcher up to 18 retractions

A researcher in Malaysia is up to 18 retractions, for faked peer review and a host of other sins.

We first wrote about Shahaboddin Shamshirband, of the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, in early 2017, because Elsevier had pulled, or planned to pull, nine of his papers. Jeffrey Beall, known for his list of possible predatory publishers, had raised questions about duplication by Shamshirband in 2016 on his now-defunct blog, ScholarlyOA.

The most recent retraction for Shamshirband was for “Soft computing methodologies for estimation of energy consumption in buildings with different envelope parameters,” a 2016 paper in Energy Efficiency. Here’s the notice: Continue reading Energy researcher up to 18 retractions

Prominent psychologist at Cornell notches second retraction

Robert Sternberg

Robert Sternberg, a psychology professor at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, whose work has been cited more than 140,000 times, has had a second paper retracted because he duplicated his previous work.

Sternberg’s work came under scrutiny earlier this year when colleagues said he was citing himself at a high rate, and not doing enough to encourage diversity in psychology research. He resigned as editor of Perspectives on Psychological Science, and around the same time, Brendan O’Connor, at the University of Leicester in the UK posted allegations on Twitter that Sternberg had been recycling his work, after O’Connor analyzed the material with Nick Brown.

Sternberg’s first retraction appeared in June in School Psychology International. Here’s the new one, in Theory Into Practice: Continue reading Prominent psychologist at Cornell notches second retraction

Authors try to duplicate bad data, fail miserably

Cangaroojack via Flickr

We’ve seen plagiarizers plagiarizing plagiarizers, but here’s what seems to be a first: A journal has retracted an article that duplicated text…from a paper that had been retracted for containing dubious data.

The Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science published the recycled paper, titled “Development and in vitro-in vivo characterization of chronomodulated multi-particulate drug delivery system of terbutaline sulphate for treatment of nocturnal asthma by box–Behnken statistical design.” The authors were from several institutions in India.

As the retraction notice explains: Continue reading Authors try to duplicate bad data, fail miserably

Dental researcher in Spain up to 18 retractions

Jose Luis Calvo-Guirado

A researcher in Spain who studies dental implants has had another six papers retracted, for a total of 18.

José Luis Calvo-Guirado‘s latest retraction, which along with the other 17 appeared in Clinical Oral Implants Research, a Wiley title, was for “image discrepancies resulting in unreliable data.” Three appeared in June, and two in July, also for image issues. The researcher also has at least two corrections; one  in Annals of Anatomy — Anatomischer Anzeiger and one in Materials. Continue reading Dental researcher in Spain up to 18 retractions

Caveat scriptor: How a journal editor unraveled the mystery of the overlapping bad data

John Loadsman

Caveat scriptor—writer beware.

That’s the moral of a recent editorial in the Saudi Journal of Anesthesia, prompted by the retraction in that journal of a 2014 paper with bum data.

The editorial was written by John Loadsman, an anesthesiologist in Sydney, Australia, and editor of the journal Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, who played a role in the retraction. Here’s how.

According to Loadsman, he was considering an article for his journal — a meta-analysis of previously published findings. On inspection, he he noticed that some of the studies cited in the meta-analysis were potentially problematic, including Continue reading Caveat scriptor: How a journal editor unraveled the mystery of the overlapping bad data

When it comes to authorship, how prolific is too prolific?

John Ioannidis

One of the suggestions we get regularly here at Retraction Watch is something along the lines of “This researcher publishes too much. You should look into that.” But how much is too much?

The phenomenon was the subject of a 2015 paper. It’s also the subject of a new article in Nature by John Ioannidis, of Stanford, and researchers at SciTech Strategies. The new article is unlikely to answer the question of how much is too much. But it provides some fascinating figures on just how often some authors publish, and even more so how they respond when asked just how they manage to publish so much, in the process raising questions about whether measuring productivity and quality in science should involve a ruler for stacked papers. Continue reading When it comes to authorship, how prolific is too prolific?

Japanese university revokes PhD following a retraction

Tokyo Women’s Medical University has stripped a researcher of her PhD, following the retraction of a paper — for data duplication — that was based on her thesis.

The August 30th announcement notes that a degree was revoked on July 20. The announcement does not name the researcher, but refers to degree number 2881, which corresponds to Rika Nakayama’s PhD. The university describes carelessness and errors, but not misconduct.

Here’s a rough Google translation of the announcement: Continue reading Japanese university revokes PhD following a retraction

Medical ethicist: “I now understand that I should not have been re-using material”

Ezio Di Nucci

A researcher in medical ethics has retracted two papers within the last two years after admitting to reusing material from previous publications.

Ezio Di Nucci, based at the University of Copenhagen, claims he “had misunderstood the relevant practices.”

The first retraction, issued in 2017 by the Journal of Value Inquiry, notes the paper “constituted the third verbatim publication of the same text.” The paper “Strategic Bombing, Causal Beliefs, and Double Effect” has only been cited once since it was published in 2016, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science.

After that retraction, Di Nucci told us he requested the retraction of a second 2016 article, published by Minds and Machines. The retraction notice for “Habits, Priming and the Explanation of Mindless Action” — which has not yet been indexed — states that “the author misunderstood the practice of re-using one’s own material and apologizes for any inconvenience caused.”

Di Nucci told us:

Continue reading Medical ethicist: “I now understand that I should not have been re-using material”