Blatant plagiarism

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siddharth
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This was in the news here quite recently.


This is the abstract of the original article, published by a group of Swedish researchers in PNAS last year.

Optimization of ionic conductivity in doped ceria

Oxides with the cubic fluorite structure, e.g., ceria (CeO2), are known to be good solid electrolytes when they are doped with cations of lower valence than the host cations. The high ionic conductivity of doped ceria makes it an attractive electrolyte for solid oxide fuel cells, whose prospects as an environmentally friendly power source are very promising. In these electrolytes, the current is carried by oxygen ions that are transported by oxygen vacancies, present to compensate for the lower charge of the dopant cations. Ionic conductivity in ceria is closely related to oxygen-vacancy formation and migration properties...
(http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/103/10/3518)


And the this is the plagiarized article, by K. Muthukkumaran, Roshan Bokalawela, Tom Mathews and S. Selladurai, published last month in the Journal of Materials Science.

Determination of dopant of ceria system by density functional theory

Oxides with the cubic fluorite structure, e.g., ceria (CeO2), are known to be good solid electrolytes when they are doped with cations of lower valence than the host cations. The high ionic conductivity of doped ceria makes it an attractive electrolyte for solid oxide fuel cells, whose prospects as an environmentally friendly power source are very promising. In these electrolytes, the current is carried by oxygen ions that are transported by oxygen vacancies, present to compensate for the lower charge of the dopant cations. Ionic conductivity in ceria is closely related to oxygen-vacancy formation and migration properties...

(http://www.springerlink.com/content/k6p846386xq05722/)

It's mind boggling that the second group attempted a word-for-word copy, from a journal such as the PNAS. It's so bizzare, that a host of conspiracy theories have sprung up in discussion here, and people are waiting for a response from Anna University, where two of the authors are from.
 
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  • #2
ZapperZ
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Did you read the letter to the Editor in this week's Nature? One of the author from a Turkish university who had his and others manuscript removed from ArXiv for plagiarism "explained" why there were phrases identical to other papers. They were just borrowing good English!

It's inappropriate to single out my colleagues and myself on this issue. For those of us whose mother tongue is not English, using beautiful sentences from other studies on the same subject in our introductions is not unusual. I imagine that if all articles from specialist fields of research were checked, similarities with other texts and papers would easily be found. In my case, I aimed to cite all the references from which I had sourced information, although I may have missed some of them.

Borrowing sentences in the part of a paper that simply helps to better introduce the problem should not be seen as plagiarism. Even if our introductions are not entirely original, our results are — and these are the most important part of any scientific paper.

Zz.
 
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I don't know if you have heard/read the rumour, Siddharth, that it was actually a plot by a group of frustrated IITians against the faculty from the neighbouring instituion for failing them in a viva-voce. :biggrin: :rofl:

Check the third comment here. (By any chance, is that your blog?)
 
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Hey, that's a great idea. I'm gonna go to a bank and borrow some money without asking. Borrowing money in the part of my finances that helps introduce me to expensive things should not be seen as stealing. Even if the money isn't my own the stuff I buy with it is, and that's the important part of buying anything.
 
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siddharth
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ZapperZ said:
Did you read the letter to the Editor in this week's Nature? One of the author from a Turkish university who had his and others manuscript removed from ArXiv for plagiarism "explained" why there were phrases identical to other papers. They were just borrowing good English!

Sheesh :rolleyes: Atleast, it was only the bits with "good english", and not the entire article with all the tables/data/figures/results etc.

I don't know if you have heard/read the rumour, Siddharth, that it was actually a plot by a group of frustrated IITians against the faculty from the neighbouring instituion for failing them in a viva-voce. :biggrin: :rofl:

That's exactly the crazy conspiracy theory!

Check the third comment here. (By any chance, is that your blog?)

Nah, that isn't my blog. However, in the link above, there's an interesting observation that one of the authors has published other articles with the same email address, so it's unlikely that the rumor is true.

The article in the blog you linked is quite interesting. It says that 2 of the authors have "dissociated" themselves from the article. Huh? What does that mean? Unless the article was published without their knowledge, I don't see how this can happen.
 
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Kurdt
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Moonbear
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Did you read the letter to the Editor in this week's Nature? One of the author from a Turkish university who had his and others manuscript removed from ArXiv for plagiarism "explained" why there were phrases identical to other papers. They were just borrowing good English!



Zz.

I've reviewed papers with such blatant plagiarism, and indeed, it was easy to spot because there was a sudden shift from the most atrocious grammar I've ever seen to suddenly clear, complex grammatical phrases (of course, in one case, it was especially easy to spot because I had just read the paper they were plagiarizing a week before receiving the manuscript to review, and immediately noticed their phrases sounded extremely familiar). There is no excuse for it. If you want to publish in an English-language journal and are not fluent in English, there are plenty of English-speaking scientists who would be more than willing to assist with the English. Indeed, I work with someone from Slovakia who does this for his colleagues still in Slovakia on a regular basis. And if he's not quite sure how to phrase something, he'll ask one of our students to take a look. A number of scientific societies also provide such a service where they will help match people who need help with those who can provide the translations or proofreading, whichever is needed.

It's unfortunate that article went to press before this was caught. PNAS owns the copyright to articles it publishes, so would be the ones who could choose to pursue this. Beyond that, it's an issue of academic integrity, and if the institution the authors come from wishes to pursue it, plagiarism is a pretty serious charge. If they don't act on it, then they're saying they condone plagiarism, and will make everyone else publishing from that institution suspect for similar misconduct.

Edit: D'oh!! That second article has a US author on it! Absolutely NO excuse to blame it on poor English skills even, and it's not just an introduction, it's the entire abstract! I didn't download either article to see if the whole article is the same, or just the abstract.
 
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siddharth
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Edit: D'oh!! That second article has a US author on it! Absolutely NO excuse to blame it on poor English skills even, and it's not just an introduction, it's the entire abstract! I didn't download either article to see if the whole article is the same, or just the abstract.

Not just the abstract, but the entire article!
 
  • #10
Did you read the letter to the Editor in this week's Nature? One of the author from a Turkish university who had his and others manuscript removed from ArXiv for plagiarism "explained" why there were phrases identical to other papers. They were just borrowing good English!



Zz.

That's hilarious! One is reminded of an old addage, and I guess it's true... plagiarism really *is* the sincerest form of flattery :) I'd love to see this introduction that was considered so beautifully written that it *had* to be plagiarized.
 
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"Even if our introductions are not entirely original, our results are — and these are the most important part of any scientific paper. "

So what exactly are the so-called original result they obtained ?
 
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siddharth
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From one of the comments in the blog mentioned by neutrino and robphy, the letter sent by two of the authors, Tom Mathews and K. Muthukkumaran (grad student), was posted by an anonymous commenter. I can't verify the authenticity of the letters, but if they're true, they show some shocking negligence on the part of the grad student.

http://horadecubitus.blogspot.com/2007/10/thoughts-on-anna-university-case.html#c5779837839896904290 [Broken]
 
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