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LiU physicists victims of plagiarism

Sergei Simak and Igor Abrikosov

Sergei Simak and Igor Abrikosov

Two physicists at LiU are victims of scientific dishonesty. A word-for-word copy of article written by Sergei Simak and Igor Abrikosov and three other Swedish scientists recently appeared in another scientific journal.

Sergei Simak, Associate Professor in theoretical physics at LiUs department for physics, chemistry and biology explains how the fraud was uncovered.

"We closely monitor developments in our field. One day in August, I was surfing the web and got a hit that fit perfectly."

In fact, it was a little too perfect. The text—which appeared in the reputable Journal of Materials Science in May 2007—was a blatant plagiarism of an article Sergei Simak and his colleagues presented a year prior in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA (PNAS).

"Only the title had been changed, and some items in the list of references. There was also an alteration to an illustration; a fictive element, Tp, had been added," Sergei Simak continues.

The original article was co-authored by Sergei Simak and Professor Igor Abrikosov, both at LiU; David Andersson, Los Alamos National Laboratory (USA); Natalia Skorodumova, Uppsala University (Sweden); and Börje Johansson, Uppsala University and the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm (Sweden).

The article's topic was ionic conductivity in doped cerium dioxide, a material which can be used to fabricate fuel cells.

"Our research has drawn much favorable response in the international scientific community," says Igor Abrikosov. "This illicit publication raises the possibility that interested parties will be misdirected to the false source.

The LiU researchers rightly demand that the false authors recant and that the copied article is expunged from the web version of the Journal of Materials Sciences. To date, the article remains on-line and is not commented as being false.

Of the four supposed co-authors, two completely repudiate any connection, according to a news item in Sweden's major daily: Dagens Nyheter. The scientists who deny all connection to the affair are Tom Mathews at Indira Gandhi Center for Atomic Research (India) and Roshan Bokalawela at the University of Oklahoma(USA). The other two co-authors are K. Muthukkumaran and Subramanian Selladurai at Anna University (India).

The false article is entitled: Determination of dopant of ceria system by density functional theory (Journal of Material Science May 2007).

The authentic article is entitled: Optimization of ionic conductivity in doped ceria. It appeared in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA in February 2006.


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Last updated: 2009-06-03