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Fw: Plagiarism in paleontology

I've done some modest layouting.

----- Original Message -----
From: "sonya koch" <msredsonya@earthlink.net>
To: "Paleontology_and_Climate" <Paleontology_and_Climate@yahoogroups.com>
Cc: "Paleontology_and_Climate_Articles"
Sent: Monday, September 27, 2004 3:47 AM
Subject: [P&C] Plagiarism in paleontology


September 22, 2004

Plagiarism in paleontology
Journal reveals persistent plagiarism by an author in the field of fossil
algae | By Xavier Bosch

For the past 20 years, an Egyptian researcher based in Saudi Arabia has been
publishing papers on various topics related to fossil algae using the same
plagiarized pictures over and over again, an article in the current issue of
Revista Espa[ñ]ola de Micropaleontología claims.
        Julio Aguirre, from the University of Granada, alleges that Mostafa
Mansour Imam has "repeatedly been plagiarizing pictures of diverse organisms
previously published by other authors" in papers on microfacies,
foraminifers, and coralline red algae from Eocene, Miocene, and Pliocene
sediments of several areas of Egypt and Libya.
        "Imam has been using the same pictures in the different papers that
he has published concerning different areas and rocks of different ages,"
Aguirre said.
Aguirre was alerted to the pattern while reviewing a paper submitted by Imam
to the journal. The manuscript dealt with red algae from the Miocene in
Egypt, but contained two pictures that in fact showed Pliocene algae from
Cádiz in Southern Spain, which had been published by Aguirre in 1993.
Another was a picture of an alga from the Miocene of the Vienna basin, also
published by Aguirrre in 1996.
        After reading the paper, Aguirre and his colleague, Juan Braga,
looked back through published papers by Imam "to find that many of the
microphotographs illustrating coralline algae from diverse localities and
ages in these papers are microphotos of algae from different other regions
and ages published by several other authors," the two Spaniards wrote in an
E-mail in the paleontological Web forum Calcalga, on February 24, 2004.
        "We want to warn the community of paleontologists about all this,"
they wrote. "The information provided in Imam's papers should be
disregarded, and care should be taken when reviewing manuscripts by him."
Aguirre said that Imam's manuscript contained at least 14 pictures copied
from other papers.
The situation has implications far beyond the research into corallines or in
dasyclads, Aguirre told The Scientist. "It also affects researchers working
on the regional geology of North West Africa [since] Imam has established
the timing of sediments cropping out in different places of North West
Africa, and interpreted the paleoenvironmental settings based on microfacies
and calcareous algal assemblages."
        Repeated attempts to contact Imam were unsuccessful and he did not
reply to telephone calls and E-mails from The Scientist regarding the
allegations. He is based in the College of Education for Girls in Al Madinah
Monawara in Saudi Arabia.
        Isabel Rábano, editor-in-chief of Revista Espanola de
Micropaleontologia, told The Scientist that when the fraud was detected, she
wrote to Imam to let him know that his manuscript was being rejected and
that the journal would accept no more papers from him. Rábano has had no
response from Imam.
As for how the fraud went undetected for so long, Rábano said, "It's hard to
find an appropriate reviewer when dealing with a highly specialized topic.
We were lucky here."
        She also pointed out that the prestigious German journal Neues
Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie, where Imam published at least three
papers, had been "unable to detect the fraud."

Correction (posted September 24): When originally posted, this story said
that Mostafa Mansour Imam was Saudi Arabian. The Scientist regrets the

Links for this article
Revista Española de Micropaleontología

Julio Aguirre

J. Aguirre, "Plagiarism in palaeontology. A new threat within the scientific
community," Revista Española de Micropaleontología, 36:349-52, 2004.
[free access!]