Following heavy criticism of its decision to correct — instead of retract — a paper accused of plagiarism, Scientific Reports is adding an editor’s note to the paper and forming a committee to review the case.
More than a dozen members of the editorial board at Scientific Reports have resigned after the journal decided not to retract a 2016 paper that a researcher claims plagiarized his work.
As of this morning, 19 people — mostly researchers based at Johns Hopkins — had stepped down from the board, according to Hopkins researcher Steven Salzberg. Salzberg organized the response after learning of the issue from colleague Michael Beer, who has accused the 2016 paper of plagiarism.
Monday morning, Richard White, the editor of the journal (published by Springer Nature), sent an email to Salzberg and the researchers who had threatened to resign if the paper wasn’t retracted, saying:
Two journals have retracted five recent papers by a researcher in Saudi Arabia after discovering extensive overlap, which one journal called plagiarism.
In one retracted paper, all schemes and figures are copies from other publications; in another, more than half of the figures are lifted. The journal that retracted the other three papers did not provide details about the nature of the overlap.
All five retracted papers—originally published within the last 15 months—have the same corresponding author: Soliman Mahmoud Soliman Abdalla, a professor of physics at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
According to a spokesperson for Polymers, readers flagged two papers in July 2017; both were retracted in August.
The spokesperson for Polymers told us that the journal ran the papers through the plagiarism detection software, iThenticate, but found “no significant levels of copied text.” The journal says it missed the overlap because:
What Caught Our Attention: The paper was co-authored by Carmine Finelli, who in the past took responsibility for a dramatic transgression: Stealing material from an unpublished manuscript by one of its reviewers. After the paper that stole from the manuscript was retracted in 2016, Finelli earned a second retraction earlier this year — again, for plagiarism. (He’s also lost another paper from Oncotarget, which was removed without any information.) Now, a fourth retraction has popped up, for using material “published previously.” Unsure of the source of this material, we Googled some of the phrases from the retracted article. While we cannot say for sure, we offer these comparisons for you — the reader — to consider: Continue reading Caught Our Notice: 4th retraction for peer reviewer who stole manuscript
More than 20 faculty members at Johns Hopkins University have signed a letter to Scientific Reports saying they will resign from the editorial board if the journal doesn’t retract a 2016 paper.
The paper is problematic, they argue, because a biologist at Johns Hopkins claims it plagiarized his work. One of that biologist’s colleagues at Hopkins has already resigned from the journal’s editorial board over its decision to correct (and not retract) the paper; last week, another 21 people told the journal they’d do the same.
When several recent submissions raised a red flag, a pediatrics journal decided to investigate. The journal, Pediatrics in Review, discovered “citation and attribution errors” in three case studies, which the journal has now retracted.
Luann Zanzola, the managing editor of the journal, explained that the editors caught the errors when they scanned the three papers—one published in 2014 and two in 2015—using the plagiarism detection software, iThenticate. Zanzola told us that the three case studies “were flagged for high iThenticate scores,” and when the authors could not adequately explain the amount of text overlap, the editors retracted the papers.
A journal devoted to wrestling science — we’re not sure if it’s the only one — has given the old reverse frankensteiner to a 2016 article whose authors stole much of their text from a conference presentation one of them had reviewed for the meeting.
The article, “The Role of Goal Setting, Collectivism, and Task Orientation on Iranian Wrestling Teams Performance,” appeared in International Journal of Wrestling Science, a Taylor & Francis title. Its two authors were Hossein Abdolmaleki and Seyyed Bahador Zakizadeh, of the Islamic Azad University in Karaj, Iran.