Menu

Retractions Often Due to Plagiarism: Study

The number of plagiarism-based retractions has grown since the advent of detection software, according to a BioMed Central analysis.

Jun 2, 2015
Kerry Grens

PIXABAY, VICTORFLISCORNOPlagiarism is the most common cause of retractions in BioMed Central journals, accounting for a quarter of cases documented, according to a poster presentation at the World Conference on Research Integrity being held in Rio de Janeiro this week. The authors found that the increase in plagiarism-related retractions rose after 2009, when plagiarism-detection software became more widely used.

“It was a bit unexpected because I don’t think this is the number-one reason that comes up in other studies,” said study coauthor Maria Kowalczuk, the biology editor in the Research Integrity Group at BioMed Central.

For instance, a 2012 PNAS study that analyzed more than 2,000 PubMed-indexed retractions found that fraud was responsible for 43 percent of retractions and plagiarism for 10 percent.

Plagiarism “has become easier to detect,” Kowalczuk told The Scientist. “Before 2009, it was mostly problems with duplicate publications and coauthors not being aware that the article was being published.”

Kowalczuk and Elizabeth Moylan, the senior editor of the Research Integrity Group, surveyed nearly 163,000 articles published between 2000 and 2014 by BioMed Central, which puts out 281 open-access journals. Among them, 77 papers had been retracted. (The authors excluded 43 papers that were pulled this year due to fraudulent peer review because, Kowalczuk said, “they would seriously skew the results.”)

Thirteen of the 77 papers were pulled because of “honest error;” 14 because of research misconduct, including data fabrication or an absence of ethical approval; another 14 because of unknown reasons; and 36 due to publishing misconduct, including plagiarism and image duplication.

Kowalczuk said editors and reviewers will use plagiarism-detection services when they are suspicious that there may be duplicate language, but it would be impractical to apply these to every paper reviewed because of time constraints.

In another presentation at the World Conference on Research Integrity, Chris Graf, the new business director for the professional innovations group of Wiley, offered a snapshot of the 82 retractions in Wiley journals in 2014. Nearly half (40) were due to “serious problems,” such as fabrication or experimental flaws, while 21 were pulled because of plagiarism.

February 2019

Big Storms Brewing

Can forests weather more major hurricanes?

Marketplace

Sponsored Product Updates

Bio-Rad Showcases New Automation Features of its ZE5 Cell Analyzer at SLAS 2019
Bio-Rad Showcases New Automation Features of its ZE5 Cell Analyzer at SLAS 2019
Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: BIO and BIOb) today showcases new automation features of its ZE5 Cell Analyzer during the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening 2019 International Conference and Exhibition (SLAS) in Washington, D.C., February 2–6. These capabilities enable the ZE5 to be used for high-throughput flow cytometry in biomarker discovery and phenotypic screening.
Andrew Alliance and Sartorius Collaborate to Provide Software-Connected Pipettes for Life Science Research
Andrew Alliance and Sartorius Collaborate to Provide Software-Connected Pipettes for Life Science Research
Researchers to benefit from an innovative software-connected pipetting system, bringing improved reproducibility and traceability of experiments to life-science laboratories.
Corning Life Sciences to Feature 3D Cell Culture Technologies at SLAS 2019
Corning Life Sciences to Feature 3D Cell Culture Technologies at SLAS 2019
Corning Incorporated (NYSE: GLW) will showcase advanced 3D cell culture technologies and workflow solutions for spheroids, organoids, tissue models, and applications including ADME/toxicology at the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening (SLAS) conference, Feb. 2-6 in Washington, D.C.
Corning Introduces New 1536-well Spheroid Microplate
Corning Introduces New 1536-well Spheroid Microplate
High-throughput spheroid microplate benefits cancer research, drug screening