Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Plagiarism in the journal Proteomics

The Korea Times reported:

John H. McDonald, biological sciences professor at University of Delaware in the U.S., is claiming via his blog that Han Jin, medical professor of Inje University has "stolen" some paragraphs from at least six recent biology papers.

Prof. Han of the university, located in South Gyeongsang Province, and Mohamad Warda of Cairo University in Egypt co-published a paper entitled ``Mitochondria, the missing link between body and soul’’ in Proteomics, an international journal on Jan 23.

The case is the latest in a series of plagiarisms by Korean medical professors. Last year, one Seoul National University professor and another at University of Seoul were implicated in such cases.

The Harvard Crimson discussed the matter in the following way:

In addition to supporting the idea of creationism with little evidence, the authors are under fire for plagiarizing.

According to John H. McDonald, a biological sciences professor at the University of Delaware, they may have stolen sentences from at least six recent biology papers.

These were originally identified online in the science blog Pharyngula and further instances were found using Turnitin.com, a Web site devoted to plagiarism prevention.

He expressed disbelief as to how the article could have been published into a respected, peer-reviewed journal.

“Proteomics is a decent, mid-level journal; not the place you would send your very best work, but not someplace you would be embarrassed to publish in, either,” McDonald said.

LaBaer said that it was surprising that the journal did not discover the plagiarism.

“Usually you would think with peer reviews the people who reviewed would have picked up on this,” LaBaer said. “Plagiarism can be very subtle.”

When asked whether the paper would be retracted, Michael J. Dunn, the editor of Proteomics and a professor at the University College Dublin Conway Institute of Biomolecular & Biomedical Research, wrote in an e-mail that he is looking into the matter with the publishing house, but refused to make any further comments.

Of cite checkers for journals, recall text from a post on IPFrontline -->

First, Jaffe and Lerner did not talk about U.S. 6,574,645 on page 144 of Innovation and Its Discontents. That illustrates that neither the authors of "Peer to Peer Meets the World of Legal Information: Encountering a New Paradigm" nor the editors/cite checkers at the Law Library Journal were checking the citation.

Then, of course, recall that the folks at the Stanford Law Review let slip by an assertion that Gary Boone invented the
integrated circuit. See for example


The people who "reviewed" journals don't pick up on a lot. As IPBiz has noted, publishing WRONG things is far worse for the
public than not properly crediting the source of right things (tho both are bad).

The topic of citations to blogs has gotten some recent play. TheRaceToTheBottom noted:

There has been considerable traffic in recent weeks about law blogs and the frequency of law review citations. The topic came up first on a post by Orin Kerr at The Volokh Conspiracy. Jack Balkin picked up the cudgel onBalkinization, with the thread spreading to Concurring Opinions, The Law Librarian, and The Conglomerate, most of them providing tallies for their own blog. The topic providedBrian Leiter with another opportunity to disparage blogs as a scholarly endeavor. Much of the discussion concerned the perceived increase in the number of citations over the last three or four years. This post will look at the issue from a different perspective.

In comment to the post, Jim Maule wrote: Should articles (or judicial opinions) that criticize what's in a blog be counted differently? In a broad sense the author or judge was "influenced" ... by looking at the blog ... but surely not persuaded. In fact, the author or judge was resistant to being influenced in the narrow sense. Perhaps the folks who run the professional citators can bring their interesting tagging to the job?

The Maule comment reminds IPBiz of a certain science article on electronic conductivity going as T squared, with the (improper) explanation therefore causing the paper to be cited repeatedly. Further, IPBiz suspects that "citation for bad reasons" is more likely to be a factor in the science area than in the law area. Certainly, judges are not apt to cite blogs for stupid ideas.

A different issue in the law review area is that authors will frequently look for text that supports the author's position, and might cast a blind eye on what else might be in the cited text.

As an example, LBE was cited in footnote 25 of YESTERDAY’S TECHNOLOGY, TOMORROW: HOW THE GOVERNMENT’S

Lawrence B. Ebert, On Patent Quality and Reform, 88 J. PAT. & TRADEMARK OFF. SOC’Y 1068, 1072–74 (stating the
importance of having a technological advantage over adversaries in war). “On the third day of the
Gettysburg battle, two units of Federal cavalry . . . armed with Spencer rifles, pushed back a
superior force by virtue of having the technological superiority of repeating rifles against single shot
weapons.” Id.

But, the author omitted LBE's main point that the Army dropped repeating rifles as the standard weapon shortly before
Custer (who was in command of those troops at Gettysburg on 3 July 1863) faced Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, et al. at Little Big Horn in 1876. Thirteen years after the "technological advantage" of repeating was demonstrated (by Custer), Custer's men, with single shot Springfields, faced Native Americans who indeed did have repeating rifles.

[As a small footnote to the battle at East Cavalry Field on 3 July 1863, the fight with the Spencers was a part of a larger engagement. That the Union troops stopped J.E.B. Stuart's men was, overall, better viewed as "who wants to win more," as in the Super Bowl between the Patriots and the Giants. The hand-to-hand (and horse-to-horse) fighting reported on
East Cavalry Field is far more gruesome than what was going on in the (concurrent) Pickett's Charge.]


Blogger Gunther Eysenbach MD MPH said...

Here is another recent plagiarism report:


5:28 AM  

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