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More caught plagiarizing on professional papers.

Another academic magazine has withdrawn a scientific article by Iranian scientists after finding that parts of it has been lifted from a previously published study.

The charge is just the latest in a long series of allegations of plagiarism that often involve senior officials of the government, including the recently fired health minister, Marzieh Vahid-Dastjerdi

In the latest case, none of the authors were government officials. Three of the authors were from Shiraz University and the fourth was an Iranian teaching in Singapore.

The six-page article appeared in the April 2010 issue of Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials, published by Elsevier, the largest publisher of scientific journals in the world with 2,735 professional journals. The magazine is overseen by a 45-member editorial board of specialists in the field from all over the world.

The latest issue says the article has been withdrawn from the magazine files because "the authors have plagiarized part of a paper that" by a Japanese scientists that had been published in 2007.

Elsevier said, "One of the conditions of submission of a paper for publication is that authors declare explicitly that their work is original and has not appeared in a publication elsewhere. Re-use of any data should be appropriately cited. As such, this article represents a severe abuse of the scientific publishing system."

Those implicated were Amir H. Taghvaei, A. Ebrahimi and K. Janghorban of Shiraz University and M. Ghaffari of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

Three years ago, Jaras, a reformist website said 70 percent of a 2008 paper written by Dastjerdi before she became health minister had been listed from a 2003 paper written by a Chinese scientist.

Most of the exposes, however, have come from the US based Nature magazine which did some long articles in 2008 and 2009 detailing plagiarism by prominent Iranians.

The first person to be implicated was Masumeh Ebtekar, the head of the Environmental Protection Organization under President Khatami.

Nature also tabbed one-time Transport Minister Hamid Behbahani, who supervised President Ahmadi-nejad's doctoral thesis, for plagiarism in a paper he co-authored. Nature said the paper appeared based on three earlier articles by three different authors. The journal Transport retracted the paper, but the Iranian government has not yet investigated the allegations.

Behbahani told the public he did not plagiarize and that only parts of the article were identical to earlier work. He called the plagiarism allegations a "media attack, far from fairness and integrity" and "an illegitimate accusation."

The Majlis did, however, informally investigate current Science Minister Kamran Daneshjou and four papers he coauthored. Daneshjou oversaw the 2009 elections in his previous post of deputy interior minister.

The Majlis Science and Education Committee held an informal inquiry into the case and dismissed it after Daneshjou's colleague and co-author, Majid Shahravi, took responsibility for the content of the papers. Three of the four papers have been retracted from publications. The fourth paper was published in an Iranian journal.

Nature speculated that the frequent cases of plagiarism in Iran are partly the result of poor fluency in English. Nature said the culture in Iran and some other developing countries expects officials to have strong academic credentials. That encourages resort to plagiarism to uphold this cultural expectation and gain promotions.

Nature notes many of Iran's best scientists left Iran after the 1979 Islamic revolution because universities were asked to eliminate Western influences and staff. Iranian research improved and became more credible in the late 1990s with the help of President Mohammad Khatami, who made academic appointments based on merit, Nature said. It said research in Iran has gone downhill since Ahmadi-nejad took power in 2005 because political influence directed promotions within universities.

In a 2009 issue, Nature cited other Iranian officials for plagiarism based on computer searches of theses for blocks of identical wording. Hassan Ziari, then a deputy minister of roads and transportation, was accused of plagiarism in a paper about asphalt-road resistance. Daneshjou later appointed him to head Payam-e Noor University in Tehran.

A paper on modeling pollution in Iran, co-authored by one of the 37 members of the Iranian Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution, Mohammad Ali Kay-nejad, was also in question. Kay-nejad is an environmental engineer at Sahand University of Technology in Tabriz. His paper credited a 2001 conference paper on modeling pollution in Hungary. The Hungarian paper's claims were supposedly tested in Tabriz in 2007. Yet, Alison Tomlin, an environmental modeler at the University of Leeds in Britain and co-author of the Hungarian model, said the Iranian paper produced "no new results" and was "definitely a copy." Its computer simulations are supposed to have Iranian data but the data are identical to those in the Hungarian paper. In fact, the background map in the paper is not of Iran, but of Hungary.
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Publication:Iran Times International (Washington, DC)
Geographic Code:7IRAN
Date:Jan 18, 2013
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