Here’s something we haven’t seen before: A journal based in Serbia recently began listing all the articles it has retracted, all due to plagiarism.
Although preventing plagiarism is hardly a new goal for journals, creating a web page dedicated to retractions is certainly a novel attempt. (Even the home page has a link to the page, called “Retracted Articles.”)
Recently, the editors of a journal about management science received a submission from a prominent Dutch economist. But something didn’t feel right about it.
For one, the author submitted the paper using a Yahoo email address. So the editors contacted the author via his institutional email; immediately, the researcher denied having submitted the paper — and said it had happened before. And then things got really interesting.
The editors — Yves Crama, Michel Grabisch, and Silvano Martello — decided to run a “sting” operation, pretending to consider the paper, and even submitted their own fake reviews, posing as referees. They accepted the paper via the electronic submissions system, then lo and behold:
A journal is pulling additional papers authored by twin brothers for peer review issues.
After retracting three papers by Cheng-Wu Chen earlier this year for “compromised” peer review, Human Factors and Ergonomics in Manufacturing & Service Industries is now pulling four more by Chen for the same reason — and four others by his twin brother, Chen-Yuan Chen, who was a the center of a peer review ring that SAGE busted in 2014.
Cheng-Wu Chen lost 21 papers during that episode. He’s now up to 28; Chen-Yuan Chen, who also goes by Peter Chen, is now up to 43. Both are present on our leaderboard.
The notes, which appear in the March/April issue of the journal, are all identical, and also cite issues with citations:
Fred Walumbwa, a management researcher with eight seven retractions, has received three expressions of concern from two journals after he failed to provide raw data following an investigation into potential errors.
In the past, Walumbwa has said he only keeps data until his papers are published, but a lack of raw data has become a common theme in his notices, which now also include four corrections, and one other EOC (making a new total of four). There are no standard rules about how long to store raw data, but one journal that issued two of the new EOCs has since updated its submission policy to require that authors keep data for at least five years.
Former accounting professor James Hunton has added a 33rd retraction to his total, solidifying his position at #10 on our leaderboard.
Hunton’s official total is 33.5, since one journal retracted only one section of a paper, making it a “partial” retraction. Most of those retractions came last year, the fallout from an investigation at Bentley University which concluded that the accounting researcher had committed misconduct. Hunton resigned from the university in 2012 after his first retraction, citing family matters.
A journal is retracting three papers — including one that is highly cited — after learning the reviewers that recommended publication had conflicts of interest.
This is a case of family values gone awry: The author common to all papers is Cheng-Wu Chen at the National Kaohsiung Marine University in Taiwan, the twin brother of one Peter Chen, who was a the center of a peer review ring that SAGE busted in 2014 (and holder of the number #3 spot on our leaderboard). Cheng-Wu Chen apparently wasn’t an innocent bystander in that episode: Of the 60 retracted papers by SAGE, Cheng-Wu Chen was a co-author on 21.