Unusual: Author uses a reference list to accuse a paper of plagiarism

Here’s an unusual way to allege plagiarism: Do it in the reference list.

That’s what Brian Levine, a professor in the College of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, did when he came across a paper he wanted to cite but suspected of plagiarism. When Levine published his 2017 paper, he cited the paper in question as:  

R.Rajan, “ Feasibility, Effectiveness, Performance and Potential Solutions on Distributed Content Sharing System [plagiarized],” Intl. J. Engineering and Computer Science, 5(1):15638–15649, Jan 2016 http://www.ijecs.in/ issue/v5- i1/30%20ijecs.pdf.

Levine’s paper, which explores a way of identifying perpetrators of online child pornography, provides no further details about the nature of the plagiarism or from what source the paper allegedly plagiarized. Continue reading Unusual: Author uses a reference list to accuse a paper of plagiarism

21 faculty at Johns Hopkins threaten to resign from board if journal doesn’t retract paper

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.

The letter to the journal also includes a side-by-side comparison between the 2016 paper and the work it allegedly plagiarized. The board members note:

Continue reading 21 faculty at Johns Hopkins threaten to resign from board if journal doesn’t retract paper

“We would now catch” this conflict of interest: Hindawi journal retracts two papers

A computer science journal has retracted two papers, after discovering “a conflict of interest between the handling editor and one of the authors.”

Matt Hodgkinson, head of research integrity at Hindawi Limited, which publishes the journal Scientific World Journal, told us that the conflict of interest stemmed from the fact that Zheng Xu, an author on both papers, and Xiangfeng Luo, the handling editor on the papers, were “frequent collaborators.”

Xu—who is based at The Third Research Institute of Ministry of Public Security in Shanghai—and Luo—a professor in the School of Computer Engineering and Science at Shanghai University—have co-authored dozens of papers together, including several that were cited in the now-retracted articles. Luo also told us that Xu was his former PhD student.

When Hindawi approached Xu about the conflict of interest, Xu told us he “fully agreed” to retract the articles but claimed there was another reason for the retraction involving a special issue in the journal. More on that in a moment. Continue reading “We would now catch” this conflict of interest: Hindawi journal retracts two papers

Curious: A paper’s acknowledgments harshly criticized Spanish gov’t funding. Now two authors object.

In 2014, researchers condemned the Spanish Government for “destroying the R&D horizon of Spain and the future of a complete generation” in the acknowledgment section of a paper about wireless networks.

Three years later, the two last authors of the paper are protesting that protest, issuing a correction to alert readers that they did not approve the language. Here’s the text of the corrigendum notice, which mentions Juan M. Górriz and Javier Ramírez, both based at University of Granada: Continue reading Curious: A paper’s acknowledgments harshly criticized Spanish gov’t funding. Now two authors object.

Authors retract much-debated blockchain paper from F1000

The authors of a popular — and heavily debated — F1000Research paper proposing a method to prevent scientific misconduct have decided to retract it.

The paper was initially criticized for allegedly plagiarizing from a graduate student’s blog — and revised to try to “rectify the overlap.” But according to F1000, it is now being retracted after an additional expert identified problems with the methodology.

Today, F1000 added this editorial note to the paper:

Continue reading Authors retract much-debated blockchain paper from F1000

Author surprised when publisher pulls three of her papers

A researcher is strongly objecting to a publisher’s decision to retract three of her papers from two computing journals without informing her first.

The reason: Self-plagiarism, which the author said stemmed from her PhD student using similar descriptions for the background sections of the papers. She argued that if the reviewers had flagged the duplication, she would have been happy to revise the papers before publication. A representative of the publisher, Springer, told us the overlap was extensive enough for the journal to determine the papers should be retracted.

We spoke with Sameem Abdul Kareem from the Department Of Artificial Intelligence at the University of Malaya in Malaysia, last author on all three papers, which she co-authored with her former PhD student Haitham Badi (also referred to as Haitham Hasan in several papers). She explained how the duplication occurred:

Continue reading Author surprised when publisher pulls three of her papers

Computer scientist loses at least three papers, two for faked reviews

A computer scientist in Malaysia has lost two papers for faked peer reviews, and another for duplication. A fourth paper on which he is a co-author appears to have simply disappeared.

One retraction lays the blame for the fake reviewer on corresponding author Shahaboddin Shamshirband at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. According to the journal, Shamshirband — who has co-authored more than 200 papers and book chapters, despite receiving his PhD in 2014, according to his biography on Vitae — supplied a fake email for the reviewer during the submission process.

Here’s the retraction notice for that paper, issued by the journal Measurement:

Continue reading Computer scientist loses at least three papers, two for faked reviews

Author objects to retraction of paper suggesting fingerprints can predict facial features

A journal has pulled a paper about predicting people’s faces from their fingerprints due to “significant overlap” with a previous paper by the same authors.   

According to the retraction notice in Intelligent Automation & Soft Computing, the authors didn’t cite or acknowledge the other study in the Turkish Journal of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science.

First author of both papers, Şeref Sağıroğlu, who is based at Gazi University in Ankara, Turkey told Retraction Watch that he doesn’t believe the two papers have significant overlap. Still, the research is related, so when he learned the retracted paper didn’t reference the previous one:

Continue reading Author objects to retraction of paper suggesting fingerprints can predict facial features

U.S. gov’t physicist sentenced to 18 months in prison for fraud

A physicist formerly based at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in California has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for faking data. 

According to the United States Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of California, after receiving millions in government funding between 2008 and 2012, Sean Darin Kinion submitted faked data and reports to make it seem like he’d performed quantum computing work. Kinion pled guilty in June, 2016 to “a scheme to defraud the government out of money intended to fund research.” He has also been ordered to pay back $3,317,893 to the government.

As readers may know, scientists who commit misconduct are rarely sentenced to prison, although there are some exceptions — most notably, Dong-Pyou Han, who last year was sentenced to nearly five years in prison (and pay back $7 million) after spiking rabbit blood samples to make a HIV vaccine look more effective.

Lynda Seaver, director of public affairs at the LLNL, told us Kinion was dismissed in February 2013, following an investigation that found “some discrepancies in his work.”

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office: Continue reading U.S. gov’t physicist sentenced to 18 months in prison for fraud

Danish university revokes PhD of anti-terrorism researcher

Nasrullah Memon
Nasrullah Memon

Anti-terrorism researcher Nasrullah Memon has lost his PhD after a committee in Denmark found he had plagiarized his doctoral thesis.

He’s also recently been let go by his latest employer, the University of Southern Denmark in Odense; a spokesperson for the university told us the decision stemmed from budgetary cutbacks, and was unrelated to the loss of his PhD.

We previously reported on 15 retractions for papers co-authored by Memon; in 2014, the Danish Committee on Scientific Dishonesty (DCSD) ruled that Memon’s thesis had been plagiarized.

In May this year, an official from Aalborg University (AAU) in Denmark — where Memon earned his PhD — told us the university was considering whether to revoke Memon’s PhD. They ultimately decided to do so, Inger Askehave, AAU’s pro-rector, told Retraction Watch: Continue reading Danish university revokes PhD of anti-terrorism researcher