2006 Article Plagiarized Three Times in Predatory Journals

A 2006 article published in the Elsevier journal Geoderma has been plagiarized at least three times, a co-author reports.

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The original article

The article, Mechanistic soil–landscape modelling as an approach to developing pedogenetic classifications, was originally written by University of Sydney researchers Budiman Minasny and Alex McBratney. Portions of the article are copied without attribution in the following three articles published in predatory journals:

Alaeibakhsh, S., Esfandiari, M., Pazira, E. & Yasori, E. (2011). A rudimentary mechanistic model for soil production and landscape development in Qazvin area, northwest of Iran. World Applied Sciences Journal 15, 199-204.

Rad, N., Esfandiari, M., Pirestani, M. & Yasori, E.M. (2012). Simulation of mechanistic model for soil development in Masuleh west of Alborz-Iran. World Applied Sciences Journal 18, 479-485.

Meyari, A., Esfandiari, M., Babazadeh, H., Pirestani, M. & Yasori, E. (2012). Application of mechanistic model for soil production and landscape development in Jajrood area, North-east Iran. African Journal of Agricultural Research 7, 3320-3328.

The World Applied Sciences Journal is published by IDOSI, the so-called International Digital Organization for Scientific Information, based in Dubai. The African Journal of Agricultural Research is published by Academic Journals, one of the first publishers to appear on my list in 2010.

The authors of the plagiarized papers are from Islamic Azad University, a world center of plagiarism. News and blog reports documenting plagiarism by Islamic Azad University faculty can be found here, here, here, here, and here.

In plagiarizing the original paper, the later authors not only lifted the wording, they also lifted the actual data. And because the data were supposed to correspond to a specific geographical area, they are completely meaningless in the context of the plagiarized works.

The original co-author, Dr. Minasny, has prepared three tables documenting the plagiarism for each of the three articles here, and here, and here.

In many cases, predatory journals are mere vanity presses that cater to complicit authors seeking an easy way to earn academic credit they use towards tenure and promotion.

If your work appears alongside such counterfeit articles, it will be stigmatized and devalued because of its association or juxtaposition with the plagiarized work. To avoid this risk, submit your work to only the highest quality journals.

14 Responses to 2006 Article Plagiarized Three Times in Predatory Journals

  1. Dietrich Rordorf says:

    Alas, plagiarism is a plague that does not only concern predatory OA publishers (although the three cases you demonstrate are extreme). We just had a retraction of a paper that plagiarized the Introduction section of a 2009 Elsevier paper. During our investigation we found that the Introduction part in the Elsevier paper itself was plagiarized from an even earlier 2006 paper. The retraction is at http://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/18/9/11001

  2. Farid says:

    World Applied Sciences Journal is published by IDOSI has been in black list of Ministry of higher education of Iran. There is a serious concern on plagiarism in Islamic Azad University and the authors will be punished for this kind of activities. You cannot accuse Islamic Azad University for a world center of plagiarism just because of a few cases. I can give you an example from European or US based universities for similar activities. But I do appreciate your comment and hope this never happens anywhere in the world.

  3. A question to Prof. Beall:
    Is it ethical or not, if somebody runs a conference (or conferences) or a journal (or journals) to use as a paper format for his conference(s) / journal(s), the format of a well-known publisher? Do you permit it? Is it OK? For example, can I issue a book in a small printing house using the format of Springer Verlag in the Chapters of the Book. I will report that this paper format is the format of Springer Verlag, but I will not imply at any manner that my book is published or sponsored by Springer Verlag.
    Is it ok? If it is not good, I will not do it. I will make other template. Please, advice

    • I do think it is unethical to deceive. It’s also not a good idea to copy others’ trademarks. Why not avoid the risk and use an original format?

    • Robert says:

      I’ve seen Springer’s LNCS used for conferences that don’t publish proceedings via Springer. Best check with them though.

    • Yurii says:

      The simple answer – its not ethical. It is also possible, that it is also not legal. The appearance of series published by major publisher could be protected by various IP laws and they usually have good lawyers to uphold and enforce these laws. However, if by “format” you mean things like font size, type, margins then it is a gray area that needs to be discussed with Springer’s legal depertment. Usually, if there is a legitimate reason to reproduce their format, they are quite understanding and will simply ask you to put a disclaimer that the format was reproduced with permission.

  4. Ron Davis says:

    Please find few more possible predatory publishers i found in my email box.

    http://www.sciencepublishinggroup.com/

    http://www.meritresearchjournals.org/bm/index.htm

    http://www.samanmjournals.org/

    Hope for the best Mr. Beall

  5. This report is useful of course, but I would like to comment on the last piece of advice:

    “submit your work to only the highest quality journals”

    This should be an aspiration for all authors (and I am sure this is how the statement is intended). In reality, not all authors are producing work that can be accepted by the top 1% of journals, however journal quality is assessed (but see caveat below).

    For most authors, it is enough to have work accepted by an established, reliable journal that is respected by readers and contributors alike, and that will let the work reach it’s intended audience.

    Caveat…

    Unfortunately, it’s beginning to look as if scam journals are now numerically dominant in the world, so that the new top 1% of journals might in fact be the old top 80% of journals (in the pre-Internet period, for example), so that we really do need to aim for the top 1%, or ‘highest quality journals’.

  6. welko tomic says:

    Dear Dr Beall,

    Is this a Predatory Publisher (www.novapublishers.com)? I just got an invitation to participate in their publishing program.

    Sincerely,

    Welko Tomic
    v.tomic@online.nl

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