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Two instances of plagiarism and one of self-plagiarism

Hossein Jafarzadeh and Karen Abrinia, researchers in mechanical engineering at the University of Tehran, Iran, had three of their articles retracted in recent months. Signs of plagiarism were responsible for the first two retractions, both related to articles published in 2014: the duo had copied data and images from works published by a group from China in 2013 and by Iranian colleagues in 2011. But in the case of the third retraction, the Journal of Mechanical Science and Technology determined that the two researchers had committed self-plagiarism in an article published in 2015. What was odd was the source of the copied information—they had reproduced excerpts and figures from precisely the same two 2014 articles that were retracted because of plagiarism.

“If you are going to plagiarize your own scientific work, you should avoid using papers that already plagiarized research done by others,” said the Retraction Watch website, sarcastically. Contacted by the site, Abrinia justified the plagiarism by claiming that the repeated images and data had been furnished by a photomicroscopy company contracted to produce original material and that they had not known that the information was second-hand. But they preferred not to comment on the case of self-plagiarism.