“Don’t think of it as duplication. Think of it as a single paper in a superposition of two quantum journals.”

January 4, 2013
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(This article was originally published at Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science, and syndicated at StatsBlogs.)

Adam Marcus at Retraction Watch reports on a physicist at the University of Toronto who had this unfortunate thing happen to him:

This article has been retracted at the request of the Editor-in-Chief and first and corresponding author.

The article was largely a duplication of a paper that had already appeared in ACS Nano, 4 (2010) 3374–3380, http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/nn100335g.

The first and the corresponding authors (Kramer and Sargent) would like to apologize for this administrative error on their part . . .

“Administrative error” . . . I love that! Is that what the robber says when he knocks over a liquor store and gets caught? As Marcus points out, the two papers have different titles and a different order of authors, which makes it less plausible that this was an administrative mistake (as could happen, for example, if a secretary was given a list of journals to submit the paper to, and accidentally submitted it to the second journal on the list without realizing it had already been accepted by the first).

Also this amusing bit:

Sargent also happens to be a member of the ACS Nano editorial board — and, presumably, was fully in support of an editorial it published earlier this year on the “dangers of self-plagiarism.”

All I can say is, once they nail me for embezzlement and plagiarism, my critics will have lots of fun pointing to blog posts like this one.



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