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Fraud in conference proceedings

IOP Publishing, based in the United Kingdom, has retracted 25 physics and materials sciences/engineering conference proceedings papers. The authors plagiarized articles published in Spanish, translating them into English without referencing the real authors. They were also full of citations to the authors’ own work, a practice known as self-citation, which is considered by many as a form of scientific misconduct. The lead author of most of the papers was Jesus Silva, who is affiliated with the Peruvian University of Applied Sciences in Lima. In others, the lead author was Amelec Viloria, from the same institution. However, IOP Publishing discovered that they are the same person: the researcher’s full name is Amelec Jesus Viloria Silva.

In July, the publisher received a complaint from a researcher claiming that one of his articles had been “stolen” and republished in English in its conference proceedings. A subsequent investigation found a much larger number of manuscripts plagiarized by a researcher who used two different names. The coauthors of the retracted papers include many researchers from Universidad de la Costa in Barranquila, Colombia, where Silva currently works. The university is investigating the case. Rachel Harper, IOP Publishing’s head of marketing communications, told the Retraction Watch website that they had also identified another 35 fraudulent papers submitted by the group that had not yet been published.