14 retractions for researchers who falsely claimed US physicist as co-author – Retraction Watch


Groups of researchers from around the world have racked up a total of 14 retractions for faked authorship. And one author seems to have been up to those and other shenanigans for a decade.

All of the 14 papers include David Ross, a physicist at the University of Texas at Austin. There was just one problem: Ross retired in 2003.

We first reported on two of the retractions in March 2021. At the time, we noted that two papers in journals published by Emerald also included Ross’ name somewhat improbably. Emerald apparently retracted those two articles in June of this year, along with four others. (Emerald does not date the retraction notices, nor does it give the notices their own DOIs. Both steps are considered best practice.)

All of the notices include this passage:

It has come to our attention that there are concerns regarding the identity of the author “David Ross” and the paper’s authors have not been able to confirm David Ross’ identity. Despite numerous attempts to contact “David Ross” the journal has not received any response.

Despite numerous attempts to contact the authors, the journal has received no response; the response of the authors would be gratefully received.

In one case, “Nanofluid flow and heat transfer due to natural convection in a semi-circle/ellipse annulus using modified lattice Boltzmann method,” the authors not only used Ross’ name in vain, but also cribbed from eight other papers, including four retracted from the same reason.

Three of the retracted papers include Muhammad Aqeel Ashraf as an author. Ashraf has a total of 10 retractions to his name from him, including one that does not include Ross as a co-author but contains this passage:

This article has been retracted at the request of the Editor-in-Chief. Concern has been raised about adding co-authors at revision stage without the permission of the publisher, nor the explicit permission of the original co-authors. The names of the authors Muhammad Aqeel Ashraf, Zhenling Liu, Yiyang Li, Cheng Li and Wan-Xi Peng were added to the revised version of the article, while the sole author of the original submission was Meysam Najafi.

We reported on Ashraf’s departure from University Malaysia Sabah in Kota Kinabalu, in 2016, when he had four retractions, one of them dating to 2012. Ashraf had previously been at University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, and papers he published in 2019 list him at Henan Agricultural University in Zhengzhou, China, the University of Malaya (again), and China University of Geosciences in Wuhan.

Ashraf has not responded to a request for comment.

Neither has Payam Hooshmand, allegedly of the Sanandaj Branch of Islamic Azad University in Iran, whose name is on five of the papers.

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