Fallout from fraud

Plagiarism rattles the paleontology world; researcher has suffered a fatal heart attack

Xavier Bosch(xbosch@teleline.es)
Oct 7, 2004

Mostafa Imam, a researcher recently accused of repeated plagiarism in micropaleontology articles, has reportedly died. A colleague of Imam informed the editor of Revista Española de Micropaleontología earlier this week that the Saudi Arabia-based researcher had suffered a fatal heart attack.

News that Imam had repeatedly used plagiarized photographs in articles he published in micropaleontology journals has sent ripples through the research community and raised questions about the quality of peer review in the field.

Last month, Julio Aguirre, from the University of Granada, alleged in the Spanish journal that for the past 20 years Imam had been publishing papers on various topics related to fossil algae repeatedly using the same plagiarized pictures.

For some, the revelations triggered memories of paleontology's most notorious case of scientific fraud, involving Indian scientist Vishwa Gupta, whose fraudulent enterprise was maintained over 25 years. In 1989, Australian paleontologist John Talent wrote an article in...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?