Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Anna University case: JMS Editor has spoken

I don't know if you can access this page, but here's the entire text of the short note from Prof. C. Barry Carter, Editor, Journal of Materials Science. It went online two days ago.

Corrigendum to: J Mater Sci DOI 10.1007/s10853-006-1486-5

It has come to our notice that a paper by entitled Determination of dopant of ceria system by density functional theory which was ‘authored’ by Muthukkumaran et al. [1] and was published in the Journal of Materials Science is essentially a reproduction of a paper entitled Optimization of ionic conductivity in doped ceria which was authored by Andersson et al. [2] and was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

There is no doubt that the paper by Andersson is the original work and that the paper by Muthukkumaran et al. does not just plagiarize the results presented in the PNAS paper but actually copies most of it word for word.

The Editors and Publisher of Journal of Materials Science have apologized to the authors and publishers of the PNAS article and are thoroughly investigating the origin of the J Mater Sci article to determine who was complicit in the fabrication. We are in contact with officials at Anna University and the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research. A report of this investigation will be published in an Editorial when it is completed.

Particularly welcome is Prof. Carter's promise to publish the report of the journal's investigation.

A quick observation: This note from the editor still does not say explicitly that the paper is withdrawn (at least, not yet). Indeed, the paper can still be downloaded from the site, and there's nothing in either the the web page or the pdf to indicate that the paper is under investigation for misconduct.

In an era when people discover things primarily through the web, it is important to make sure that this article does not appear in search results (for example, on Google Scholar).