Two papers retracted for plagiarizing a 50-year-old thesis

A math professor in Poland has lost two papers because she plagiarized a doctoral thesis written before the United States had put a man on the moon.

The articles by Daria Michalik, “The decomposition uniqueness for infinite Cartesian products” and “Some remarks on the uniqueness of decomposition into Cartesian product,” published in 2017 and 2016, respectively, were retracted this year from Topology and its Applications over concerns they closely resembled an unpublished 1968 dissertation from Polish topologist Zbigniew Furdzik: “On the properties of certain decompositions of topological spaces into Cartesian products.”

Michalik has associations with the Institute of Mathematics, the same institution with which Furdzik, now deceased, earned his PhD. As of August of 2023, she was a researcher at Jan Kochanowski University in Kielce, Poland. 

The retraction statements for both papers read:

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One small error for a physicist, one giant blunder for planetary science

For a decade, scientists have been scratching their heads when trying to put a date on primeval events like the crystallization of the magma ocean on the moon or the early formation of Earth’s continental crust. 

Their problem? A revised estimate of the half-life of a radioactive isotope called samarium-146 that is used to gauge the age of ancient rocks. 

The updated value, published in 2012 in Science, shortened samarium-146’s half-life by a whopping 35 million years, down to 68 million years from the standard estimate of 103. This reset the clock on the solar system’s early history and suggested the oldest rocks on Earth could have formed tens of millions of years earlier than previously thought.

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Exclusive: Australia space scientist made up data, probe finds

Joachim Schmidt

A space scientist formerly based at the University of Sydney made up data in an unpublished manuscript, an investigation by the institution has found. 

The researcher, Joachim Schmidt, “utilised Adobe Photoshop to make up results,” according to a letter dated Feb. 15, 2023, from Emma Johnston, deputy vice-chancellor of research at the University of Sydney, to scientists at the University of Michigan who reported complaints in late 2019 about work by Schmidt and his former professor Iver Cairns to the Australian institution. 

“Given the above, the Panel found there had been breaches of the Research Code on the part of Dr Schmidt. The breaches were viewed as serious, and the Panel considered them to be sufficiently serious to warrant a finding of research misconduct as defined in the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research,” the letter, obtained by Retraction Watch, stated. 

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Mathematician withdraws preprint – 24 years after initial submission

Twenty-four years after submitting a manuscript on quantum algebra to the preprint server arXiv, a mathematician has now withdrawn it. 

Boris Shoikhet, then of the Independent University of Moscow, posted “Lifting formulas, Moyal product, and Feigin spectral sequence,” to arXiv on Oct. 28, 1998, proposing new conjectures in the field of quantum algebra. 

Last month, he withdrew the article, with the comment, “The paper has been withdrawn due to a crucial mistake in the arguments.”

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Mathematician requests two retractions for “subtle inaccuracies” 

Janusz Czelakowski

A mathematician has requested the retraction of two recently published articles “claiming proofs of big results in number theory,” as one observer put it

After publication, the author said he “found some subtle inaccuracies” in the work. 

The editor-in-chief of the mathematics journal Studia Logica, where the papers were published, posted a notice to the publication’s website weeks ago stating that it had retracted the two articles. 

But the online versions of the papers still show no signs of having been retracted, as the editors wait on their publisher, Springer Nature, to process the retractions. 

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Can you explain what these 1,500 papers are doing in this journal?

James Heathers


The Internet of Things. Computer science. Botany. COVID-19.

All worthwhile subjects, to be sure. But what do they have to do with materials science?

That’s what James Heathers, who will be familiar to readers of Retraction Watch as a “data thug,” found himself wondering after he spent a weekend looking into articles published by Materials Today: Proceedings. He found at least 1,500 off-topic papers, many with abstracts containing “tortured phrases” that may have been written by translation or paraphrasing software, and a few with titles that had been previously advertised with author positions for sale online. 

He detailed his findings in a blog post today, and says that the journal – an Elsevier title – has published many articles that look like the work of a paper mill.  

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14 retractions for researchers who falsely claimed US physicist as co-author

Groups of researchers from around the world have racked up a total of 14 retractions for faked authorship. And one author seems to have been up to those and other shenanigans for a decade.

All of the 14 papers include David Ross, a physicist at the University of Texas at Austin. There was just one problem: Ross retired in 2003.

We first reported on two of the retractions in March 2021. At the time, we noted that two papers in journals published by Emerald also included Ross’ name somewhat improbably. Emerald apparently retracted those two articles in June of this year, along with four others. (Emerald does not date the retraction notices, nor does it give the notices their own DOIs. Both steps are considered best practice.)

All of the notices include this passage:

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Crystallography database flags nearly 1000 structures linked to a paper mill

A chemistry database of crystal structures has marked nearly 1000 entries with expressions of concern after finding they were linked to articles identified as products of a paper mill. 

The Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre (CCDC) added notes to 992 structures in its database, according to a notice posted to its website in May. And a crystallography researcher tells us the impact on the field could be significant.

The notes state: 

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Chemistry group at Hokkaido up to three retractions

Masaya Sawamura

A group of researchers in Japan who lost a paper earlier this spring in Science for misconduct have notched two more retractions, bringing their total to three. 

As we reported in April, Science pulled a 2020 article led by Masaya Sawamura, of Hokkaido University, in Sapporo, saying the authors discovered: 

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More than 300 at once: Publisher retracts entire conference proceedings

The tip came from the leadership of another scientific conference.

Did the Association for Computing Machinery know that they had published the proceedings of a conference with essentially the same name as that organization, IEEE, on the same dates, in the same venue, and with lots of overlapping authors?

The two versions of the meeting – the International Conference on Information Management and Technology (ICIMTech) – both allegedly happened in Jakarta, Indonesia from Aug. 19-20, 2021, the tipster told ACM.

When ACM dug deeper, Scott Delman, the organization’s director of publications, told us, they saw something that looked familiar because of an investigation that led to a mass retraction of conference proceedings months earlier: A company in China billing itself as a conference organizer had handled all of the peer review.

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