Imagine learning you’re an author on a paper after it’s retracted for plagiarism – Retraction Watch
An educationalist whose colleague unknowingly added his name to a paper he did not contribute to is now faced with a different problem: the paper was retracted for plagiarism.
And now he’s suing the publisher – not for revocation, but for allowing the forgery of authorship.
Dragan Lambić, from the University of Novi Sad in Serbia, only learned that his name was on the article in question, published in a Serbian educational journal in 2020, when he received an email this January informing him that the paper would be withdrawn.
A colleague, Aleksandar Janković, had submitted the manuscript “The impact of project-based teaching on creativity and performance of students studying social content in the subject of nature and society). Sinteze – casopis za pedagoške nauke, književnost i kulturu (English translation, here and for all later instances, via Google: Sinteze – Journal of Educational Sciences, Literature and Culture), in 2020. It was published later that year with Janković as the sole author.
Shortly after publication, Janković emailed the journal’s editor saying that the names of two other authors had been accidentally omitted and asked for them to be added, emails from Retraction Watch reveal.
The editor, Katarina Tomić, agreed to add the co-authors without contacting them as it appeared that Janković accidentally deleted their names from the electronic publication form even though they were listed in the submission. (Neither Janković nor Tomić responded to our request for comment.)
The following correction (translated into English) was published in the next issue of the journal:
In the Impact of Project Teaching on the Creativity and Achievements of Students in Mastering Social Contents in the Subject Nature and Society article published in volume 17, doi: 10.5937/sinteze9-25402, the co-authors were not named due to a drafting error. We take this opportunity to apologize to the authors and readers. We must emphasize that the work was submitted to the author for examination and review prior to publication, but the remark was made after the work was published.
Then, in January of this year, Tomić received an email from the Center for Evaluation in Education and Science (CEON), the Serbian academic publisher that indexes Sinteze. The message said the publisher had received a whistleblower report stating that the Janković et al. was plagiarized from a doctoral thesis and advised her to withdraw it.
Apparently, the dissertation was not initially available for review by the iThenticate plagiarism detection software when it was submitted, which is not unusual. The paper quoted and quoted in places from the dissertation, but CEON’s email noted large chunks of text taken verbatim from the dissertation without quotation marks, according to a copy from Retraction Watch.
Tomić emailed the authors, including Lambić, about the finding. Janković responded first, saying that a working version of the paper must have been submitted instead of the final version, and agreeing to withdraw the paper on behalf of all authors. In the same email, Janković noted that Lambić was not involved in writing the work but had given advice on how to conduct the research.
The English version of the cancellation notice published in July sums it up:
Scientific article entitled “INFLUENCE OF PROJECT TEACHING ON CREATIVITY AND SUCCESSES OF STUDENTS IN STUDYING SOCIAL CONTENT WITHIN NATURE AND SOCIETY Subject”, written by Aleksandar P. Janković, Andrijana Lj. Davidović and Dragan M. Lambić, published in issue 17 of the journal Sinteze – Journal for Educational Sciences, Literature and Culture, from December 10th, 2020, doi:10.5937/sinteze9-25402 and corrections doi:10.5937/sinteze9-30998, is withdrawn due to plagiarism.
We reached out to all authors about the odd situation with the correction of adding authors before revoking. Lambić wrote back:
What is most concerning in this case is that the Sinteze journal did not even contact me before the problem with the paper was identified, so I was not notified by the journal that my name was added to this paper in the mentioned correction . In this way, the editor-in-chief of Sinteze journal Katarina Tomić acted contrary to the procedure recommended by COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics), which clearly requires the approval of all authors (including those added) before adding an author to the previously published article. I must reiterate that I did not consent to Sinteze journal adding my name to this work, nor was I notified of this work by the journal before the problem with the work was discovered.
Upon learning that my name was in that article, in accordance with COPE’s procedure for removing an author from a published article, I asked the journal to remove my name from that article by publishing a new proof. Although other authors have agreed to remove my name from the paper (as per COPE recommendation), the Editor-in-Chief refused to do so and so again acted against the COPE recommendation. …
Due to this situation, I submitted the complaint to CEON, an organization that indexes Sinteze Journal in Serbia, monitors their articles, hosts all their articles on their website and is a member of COPE, but to my disbelief, they refused to do anything about it to do location. I then filed a lawsuit against Sinteze magazine, the editor-in-chief and publisher of Sinteze, requesting that they remove my name from that newspaper by publishing a correction. At this point, this lawsuit is still ongoing, so I was shocked at the statement in the retraction, which doesn’t mention at all the reasons I gave for my removal from this paper.
In another email to Tomić agreeing to Lambić’s name being removed from the newspaper, Janković said that he did not receive Lambić’s consent to be a co-author because magazines in his past had acknowledged the authorship of all authors . Janković reiterated that he listed Lambić as a co-author because of his advice on research.
Lambić told us he wasn’t sure how his advice was used for the newspaper either:
Aleksandar Jankovic is my colleague from the Faculty of Education, but from a different department. We have collaborated on two articles (I am a corresponding author on both) and on some research projects. He has asked me many times for advice on various research papers, so it is possible that he used some of them in the work mentioned. My research in education deals with the application of ICT [information and communications technology] in pedagogy and with mathematics and computer science classes, and none of these subjects are included in this work. Therefore, only some general research methodology advice could be used in this paper, but I do not see such advice as sufficient grounds for authorship in this paper. recognition maybe.
Like retraction watch? You can make one tax-deductible contribution to support our workfollow us on twitteras we on Facebookadd us to yours RSS readeror subscribe to ours digest daily. If you find a revocation, that is not in our databaseyou can let us know here. For comments or feedback, email us at [email protected].