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Friday, July 06, 2012

Plagiarized!

Dr. Özlem Durmaz Incel, a co-author, discovered the following paper yesterday, which turns out to be entirely a verbatim copy of three papers from my group:  http://www.ijmra.us/project%20doc/IJMIE_JULY2012/IJMRA-MIE1412.pdf

It's a very sad incident, reflecting very poorly indeed on the authors. Here is a copy of the letter I sent to the Editors of this Journal on behalf of my co-authors, with more details: 

Dear Editor, 
I’m writing about a paper which has been published in your“International Journal of Management, IT and Engineering” In July2012, titled “Strategies Of Data Collection In Tree-Based WirelessSensor Networks” authored by “Nita V. Jaiswal, Vishal S. Dhole, Prof.D.M.Dakhane and Harshal N. Datir”, pages 390-408. This paper isplagiarized verbatim from my group's previous work, specifically twojournal papers (published in the IEEE Transactions on Mobile Computingand ACM/IEEE Transactions on Networking) and a chapter in a book published by Springer. 
Without a doubt, the paper is an exact copy/paste version of our previous studies; both the text and the figures are copied. The paper does not include any new material, aside from a different title. 
This is terrible and completely unacceptable, an instance of the worst kind of scientific misconduct. This paper should immediately be withdrawn with a public notice of retraction and the authors should be censured in the strongest possible terms for their shameful behavior.I urge you to take the necessary actions urgently. Please confirm at the earliest your receipt of this letter, and let us know what actions you will be taking in response. 
I’m also cc’ing this message to editors of the journals and the bookchapter where our previous papers were published as well as my co-authors. We intend to explore other actions that can be taken to settle this serious matter. 
The follow is a list of the plagiarized papers: 
1. TMC: Ozlem Durmaz Incel, Amitabha Ghosh, Bhaskar Krishnamachari,and Krishnakant Chintalapudi, Fast Data Collection in Tree-Based Wireless Sensor Networks, IEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing, vol.11, no. 1, pp. 86-99, Jan. 2012, doi:10.1109/TMC.2011.22:http://doi.ieeecomputersociety.org/10.1109/TMC.2011.22 
2. Book Chapter: Ozlem Durmaz Incel, Amitabha Ghosh, and Bhaskar Krishnamachari, Scheduling Algorithms for Tree-Based Data Collectionin Wireless Sensor Networks, Book Chapter: Theoretical Aspects of Distributed Computing in Sensor Networks, Nikoletseas, Sotiris; Rolim,José D.P. (Eds.), Springer, 2011.http://www.springerlink.com/content/j458602844010nu3/,http://anrg.usc.edu/~amitabhg/Scheduling-Survey-2010.pdf 
3. TON: Amitabha Ghosh, Ozlem Durmaz Incel, V. S. Anil Kumar, and Bhaskar Krishnamachari, Multi-Channel Scheduling and Spanning Trees:Throughput-Delay Trade-off for Fast Data Collection in Sensor Networks, IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking, Volume: 19 Issue:6, pp.1       731 - 1744, Dec. 2011: http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/TNET.2011.2146273

In the attached file, we have marked each individual section and addednotes from which paper they have been copied. Below you can find asummary of which section is copied from which paper:
-       Abstract Section: First 2 sentences are copied from the bookchapter, 3rd sentence is copied from the TMC paper. 
-       Introduction: All the text is copied from the book chapter and the TMC paper. 
-       Related Work: All the text is copied from TON and TMC papers. 
-       Section 1.1 and Section 1.2 are totally copied from the book chapter. 
-       Section 1.3 (Degree Constrained Trees) is an exact copy of Section 5.2.3 of the TMC paper and Section 1.3 (Assignment of Time Slots) is an exact copy of Section 4.1.2 of the TMC paper. 
-       Section 2 and 3 are copied from the book chapter. 
-       Section on “Multi-channel Scheduling” is an exact copy of Section 5.2 of the TMC paper. 
-       Section on “Future Research Directions” is an exact copy of Section 4 of the book chapter. 
-       Conclusion is copied from the TMC paper.

Sincere regards,  
Bhaskar Krishnamachari
----------------------------------- 
Bhaskar Krishnamachari  
Associate Professor and Ming Hsieh Faculty Fellow in Electrical Engineering 
USC Viterbi School of Engineering 
http://ceng.usc.edu/~bkrishna/ 
-----------------------------------

update 1:  The link for the paper is now down. I got the following email from an unnamed "Editor in Chief". There is no public notice of retraction or censure of the authors as we had requested:

 Dear Sir

We are very sorry for this inconvenience.
Thanks for your information we are going to d-link this paper with our website till next decision.

Thank you
With Regards


Editor in Chief
www.ijmra.us
editorijmie@gmail.com
info@ijmra.us



update 2: The story just got even richer. Brian Cheung dug around and found yet another paper by a different set of authors that is also a clearly plagiarized version of one of these papers. As Matt Welsh pointed out on my blog, a dead giveaway is the presence of fuzzy images. See for yourself:  http://www.iccce.co.in/Papers/ICCCECS482.pdf (plagiarized from http://www.princeton.edu/~amitabhg/papers/TMC-Jan2012.pdf).


Note: This is not the first time I've noticed papers of mine being plagiarized. Given that it involves authors at relatively unknown institutes publishing in relatively unknown conferences and journals, one is generally inclined to conserve one's energy for more important causes and simply ignore these incidents. Still it's a pity that these should go completely unremarked. A few public incidents may bring greater awareness of plagiarism, bringing some light even to these dark corners of the academic world...

20 comments:

Matt Welsh said...

This is really unfortunate, but I think the practice is fairly rampant. As program chair for a workshop, I once received a submission that was essentially a "Print to PDF" of a web page of another author's work, with only the author names changed - they had not even bothered to change the fonts. One thing that tips me off that a paper is plagiarized is when the figures look somewhat fuzzy, like they were cut and pasted from a screenshot.

Bhaskar Krishnamachari said...

I'm curious as to whether plagiarism is on the rise compared to, say, the 1980's. There are two opposing factors in play. On the one hand, with easy availability of electronic papers it's easier than before to cut and paste; on the other, it's easier to detect instances of plagiarism. I've noticed similar incidents in the past and let them slide; but, upon reflection, I think it's important to publicize these incidents so that word filters back to the would-be plagiarizers that there is some cost to doing this.

gordon b hinckley said...

Plagiarism is the biggest form of flattery.

Arpit said...

Ahh..pathetic trend, but I think I understand the motive to an extent. Usually in these institutes there is literally no research work going but there are policies which ensures salary hikes and promotions for number of publications. This motivates these faculty members to take such an unethical step. Undergrads do such thing as they are motivated to get some good admits for post grad studies. But situation is even grim for graduate students who require fixed number of publications to graduate. There is no supervision on quality or ethical integrity of the papers and thus this trend is prevalent. I think raising voice against it is the right direction and what you have discovered may just be the tip of an Iceberg.

rqt said...

Arpit is absolutely right in all respects, I think. Even if it causes you no harm, it has potential to cause your colleagues harm. In particular, your student coauthors must be protected from any future accusations that *their* work was unoriginal.

Rahul Jain said...

I wonder if the authors are fictional and the journals are doing this themselves. Do you know if any of these authors actually exist? If so, do they know about these papers?

Bhaskar Krishnamachari said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bhaskar Krishnamachari said...

Interesting comment, Rahul, but I don't believe that is the case. I just looked around and easily found another paper plagiarized by this Prof. Dakhane (whose name is listed as a faculty member of this college) appearing in a different journal: this paper by Dakhane et al. is a plagiarized version of this paper by researchers from NTU, Taiwan.

Affan Syed said...

Bhaskar, it is important we dont let such issues slide when they get to good journal like ACM/IEEE where some of us might be in a position to effect changes.

I can vouch for the trend Arpit is mentioning... it is quite easy to get promotions with such chicanery at places there is no qualitative evaluation of research output. To me the only sound evaluation is of qualified peers and unfortunately there are not enough of them around in most parts of the world.

One option, that might be effective, is to mention such behavior directly to the Head of Institutes (Directors/Rectors etc). Not currently an IEEE/ACM policy AFAIK, but still worth thinking about.

Also, it brings into sharp contrast the value publishing houses like IEEE/ACM provide to our community.

Bhaskar Krishnamachari said...

Yes, we are writing to the heads of the colleges. IEEE maintains a black list of authors found to have plagiarized papers. We are also sending the details to them. I agree that this shows the value of having a professional body like IEEE/ACM.

matt said...

Not completely obvious what to make of this...

If this sort of thing really *is* so common in certain communities, should we conclude that there are, in nontrivial numbers, people in the world who have no hope of doing what others would consider serious research (or even unserious research) but who are for various complicated political/historical/whatever reasons faced with certain market incentives to be seen "publishing" "research", and that they're are choosing the rational (?) response of creating this appearance by the cheapest means possible?

That is, in the spirit of the two-tiered grading model Panos Ipeirotis once proposed (for students who want to cheat to get employment-worthy grades v. students who want to learn stuff), are they cheating at the research game or are they simply playing a different game?

Plagiarism checker said...

Well, I must say that I had very laborious students in my friend circle and we were ignorant about plagiarism. Scenes have changed drastically, and the teachers have started felling the need to use the plagiarism checker tool to detect whether the students are busy finding out the easier ways of stealing the lines from the pre-written assignments or are they truly serious about their studies.

Bhaskar Krishnamachari said...

@matt: you're right; this is clearly the case of individuals seeking to create the impression of being productive at research without really caring about doing research. I should check out the grading model by Panos Ipeirotis you mentioned, hadn't heard of it before...

Anonymous said...

Hello,

I would like to know if the list of IEEE/ACM's blacklisted authors can be found on IEEE/ACM website? It is out of curiosity and I would like to know if you trust IEEE/ACM to take this matter seriously? Any information is appreciated. Thank you.

Bhaskar Krishnamachari said...

I believe the list of blacklisted authors is circulated among editors-in-chief and conference organizers, but to my knowledge is not made publicly available. From what I understand of it, this blacklist and the process by which it is generated is not perfect --- it may contain false positives, false negatives, and is not very transparently maintained.

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