News & AnalysisScientific Misconduct

Reviewer's Déjà Vu, French Science Sleuthing Uncover Plagiarized Papers

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Science  09 Mar 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6073, pp. 1157-1158
DOI: 10.1126/science.335.6073.1157

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An investigation by a French ecologist into papers authored by Serge Valentin Pangou, director of the Study and Research Group on Biological Diversity in the Republic of the Congo, concluded that at least nine contained material plagiarized from other researchers' work. An investigation by Science also found that some of Pangou's co-authors were unaware that their names were used. The affair has already led to the retraction of four papers on which Pangou is the corresponding author, as well as the rejection of a paper submitted to the International Journal of Biodiversity and Conservation. Pangou tells Science that he accepts "all of the responsibility" for the papers that have already been withdrawn, but he contends that he did not deliberately engage in plagiarism, chalking it up to "the abusive utilization of bibliograph[ies]" which he "regrets sincerely." He did, however, admit to Science that he added some authors to papers without their knowledge.