August 23, 2007

2007 Plagiarism Ring Affair - EUREKA

In August of 2007, the technology-oriented website Ars Technica [1] revealed that the arXiv was withdrawing a set of seventeen physics papers due to plagiarism. These papers had been written by a group of graduate students at the Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara, Turkey. After detecting the plagiarism, METU faculty began a process which Ars Technica called "damage control", requesting that the Journal of High Energy Physics withdraw a fraudulent article,[2] and working with arXiv administrators to further the removal process.[3] 
The total number of withdrawals eventually rose to sixty-five articles by fourteen authors,[4] at four Turkish institutions.[5]  
Throughout this article, papers and eprints designated as "plagiarized" have been marked so by arXiv administrators or other sources external to EUREKA.





Uncovery 
At the beginning of August, Philip Gibbs noted on his blog that his 1998 paper "A White Hole Model of the Big Bang"[6] had been plagiarized in a 2006 preprint, "Relative Energy Associated with a White Hole Model of the Big Bang".[7] Describing himself as "more amused than shocked", Gibbs indicated that the material copied from his paper was merely his description of the Lemaitre-Tolman model, not Gibbs' own original work.[8] (He later explained the motivation and general outline of that work on his blog.[9]
Shortly thereafter, arXiv administrators withdrew a second set of eprints, this time a collection of papers from Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University (COMU) in Çanakkale, Turkey.
The journal Nature picked up the story in September,[5] and as the Chronicle of Higher Education blog summarized, 67 papers by 15 physicists at four Turkish universities were pulled after an examination of their content revealed that they "plagiarize the works of others or contain inappropriate levels of overlap with earlier articles." [...] Suspicions were apparently stoked when, during oral defenses of their dissertations last fall, [Mustafa] Salti and another student demonstrated a poor grasp of even the most basic of physics concepts. Professors at the university began to investigate the students' work and turned up several examples of plagiarized work by them, as well as by students and professors at three other Turkish universities — Dicle University, the University of Mersin, and Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University.[10]

Impact
Members of the physics community are still uncertain how severe the damage from this incident will transpire to be. Paul Ginsparg, a physics professor and central figure behind the arXiv, contended that the derivative nature of the plagiarized work minimized the harm it could bring about: "There's little effect on science, since the people who produce high quality work don't need to plagiarize, and the people who do need to plagiarize don't produce high enough quality work to affect anything."[3]
Furthermore, since many of the papers dealt with a rather obscure topic, the Møller version of general relativity, few other physicists would be likely to examine the papers, Ginsparg told Nature.[5]
Others point to the as-yet-unknown extent of the METU-related fraud, and the possibility of other, similar deceptions currently unidentified. In addition, it is difficult to judge whether plagiarizing papers is as harmful as, for example, falsifying data. Since the former generally involves recycling notions which have already gained some degree of scientific acceptance, the primary harm resulting from such plagiarism may be that it furthers the careers of undeserving persons in a scientific community possessing only limited resources.[3] 

List of Affected Journals
The following journals accepted work which the arXiv later identified as plagiarized.
-General Relativity and Gravitation (0705.2930 and gr-qc/0607104).
Peter Woit says, "The situation of the second of these is really confusing, since according to the arXiv it plagiarizes a paper by a completely different group in India, one that the arXiv lists as having "excessive overlap" with an earlier paper by the Turkish plagiarists."
[11]
Woit notes,There are also other papers by some of the same authors which the arXiv does not list as plagiarized (published in Nuclear Physics B, here, Classical and Quantum Gravity, here, International Journal of Modern Physics, here and here).[11]




Plagiarism at COMU
Shortly after the METU story broke, on 2007-08-22, arXiv administrators withdrew sixteen additional eprints, these authored by former graduate students at Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University (COMU) in Çanakkale, Turkey. These students, two of whom had shared a thesis advisor, appear to constitute a second Turkish plagiarism ring.

The eprints withdrawn by arXiv are as follows.
*Møller Energy-Momentum Complex in General Relativity for Higher Dimensional Universes. M. Aygun, S. Aygun, I. Yilmaz, H. Baysal, I. Tarhan. Published in Chinese Physics Letters, 24 (2007), 1821. Plagiarizes:
*On the Energy-Momentum Problem in Static Einstein Universe. Sezgin Aygun, Ismail Tarhan, Husnu Baysal. Published: Chinese Physics Letters 24 (2) (2007), 355. Plagiarizes:


*Energy and Momentum of Bell-Szekeres Space-time in Moller Prescription. Sezgin Aygun. Published: Acta Physica Polonica B38 (2007) 73-80. Plagiarizes:

Ragab M. Gad. Energy Distribution of a Stationary Beam of Light. Astrophys.Space Sci. 295 (2005) 451-458.


*The Colliding Plane Wave and Energy-Momentum Problems in General Relativity and Teleparallel Gravity. Sezgin Aygun, Ismail Tarhan, Husnu Baysal, Melis Aygun. Plagiarizes:
Yu-Xiao Liu, Zhen-Hua Zhao, Jie Yang, Yi-Shi Duan. The total energy-momentum of the universe in teleparallel gravity.

V. C. de Andrade, L. C. T. Guillen, J. G. Pereira. Gravitational Energy-Momentum Density in Teleparallel Gravity Physical Review Letters 84 (2000) 4533-4536.

*The Energy of Marder Space-Time in Moller Prescription. Sezgin Aygun, Husnu Baysal, Ismail Tarhan. Plagiarizes: 
Gamal G.L. Nashed. Charged Axially Symmetric Solution, Energy and Angular Momentum in Tetrad Theory of Gravitation. Int. J. Mod. Phys. Lett. A 21 (2006), 3181


*The Energy Momentum Problem in Teleparallel Gravity For Bianchi Type II-VIII-IX Universes. Sezgin Aygun, Melis Aygun, Ismail Tarhan. Autoplagiarism.

*Energy And Momentum Associated With Bianchi Type Universes. Sezgin Aygun, Melis Aygun, Ismail Tarhan. Plagiarizes:  

*Energy Momentum Complexes For Bianchi Type II-VIII-IX Universes. Sezgin Aygun, Melis Aygun, Ismail Tarhan. Plagiarizes:  


*Energy Momentum Localization for Bianchi I-III-V-VI0 Universe in Teleparallel Gravity. Sezgin Aygun, Melis Aygun, Ismail Tarhan. Plagiarizes: 


*Energy Momentum of Marder Universe in Teleparallel gravity. Sezgin Aygun, Husnu Baysal, Ismail Tarhan. International Journal of Theoretical Physics, (2007). Plagiarizes:  
Yu-Xiao Liu, Zhen-Hua Zhao, Jie Yang, Yi-Shi Duan. The total energy-momentum of the universe in teleparallel gravity


*Topological defect solutions in the spherically symmetric space-time admitting conformal motion. Ihsan Yilmaz, Melis Aygun, Sezgin Aygun. Published: General Relativity and Gravitation, 37 (2005) 2093-2104. Plagiarizes:

*On the Energy Momentum in Bianchi Type I-III-V-VI0 Space-Time. Sezgin Aygun, Melis Aygun, Ismail Tarhan. Plagiarizes:


*Energy Momentum Localization in Marder Space-Time. Sezgin Aygun, Melis Aygun, Ismail Tarhan. Plagiarizes:


*Energy and Momentum of The Szekeres Universes in Tele-parallel Gravity. Sezgin Aygun, Ismail Tarhan, Husnu Baysal. Plagiarizes:



*Energy Distribution in Szekeres Type I and II Space Times. Sezgin Aygun, Melis Aygun, Ismail Tarhan. Published: Acta Physica Polonica B37 (2006) 2781-2794. Autoplagiarism.


J.D. Barrow, R. Maartens, C.G. Tsagas. Cosmology with inhomogeneous magnetic fields. Physics Reports 449 (2007) 131-171

A. Perez Martinez, H. Perez Rojas, H. J. Mosquera Cuesta, M. Boligan, M. G. Orsaria. Quark stars and quantum-magnetically induced collapse. International Journal of Modern Physics D14 (2005) 1959

D. Gondek-Rosinska, E. Gourgoulhon, P. Haensel. Are rotating strange quark stars good sources of gravitational waves? Astronomy & Astrophysics 412 (2003) 777-790

R Sharma, S Karmakar, S Mukherjee. Maximum mass of a cold compact star. International Journal of Modern Physics D15 (2006) 405-418

Masaru Shibata, Yuk Tung Liu, Stuart L. Shapiro, Branson C. Stephens. Magnetorotational collapse of massive stellar cores to neutron stars: Simulations in full general relativity. Physical Review D74 (2006) 104026.
References


  1.  The arXiv entry may be viewed here, as of 2007-08-23; the paper was removed from the arXiv, and after some delay from the Journal of High Energy Physics also.



  2. 65 admin withdrawals, arXiv. Accessed 2007-10-26.
    Note that an earlier version of this arXiv page indicated sixty-seven withdrawn papers by fifteen authors, due to an administrative error on arXiv's part.



  3. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Geoff Brumfiel, Turkish physicists face accusations of plagiarism Nature News (subscription required), 2007-09-05. Accessed 2007-09-07.



  4. Figen Binbay, Irfan Acikgoz, Mustafa Salti. Relative Energy Associated with a White Hole Model of the Big Bang, 2006-07-20. Withdrawn from arXiv on 2007-07-26.



  5. Philip Gibbs. A white hole model of the big bang. Event Symmetry 2007-08-25.


  6.  Aisha Labi, Turkish Professors Uncover Plagiarism in Papers Posted on Physics Server, Chronicle of Higher Education blog, 2007-09-06. Accessed 2007-09-07.


  7. 11.0 11.1 Peter Woit. Massive plagiarism scandal, Not Even Wrong 2007-08-23.

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