Avinash C. Pandey of University of Allahabad has 25 papers with manipulated, duplicated images

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Prof. Avinash Chandra Pandey formerly with the University of Allahabad and now the Director of Inter University Accelerator Centre (IUAC) in Delhi has 25 papers listed on Pubpeer for image manipulation and duplication. Dr. Prashant Sharma of IIT Dhanbad, who is under investigation for image manipulation, is a co-author in 19 of 25 papers published by Prof. Pandey.

Prof. Avinash Chandra Pandey formerly with the Nanotechnology Application Centre at the University of Allahabad, Allahabad has 25 papers listed on Pubpeer for image manipulation and duplication.

The Nanotechnology Application Centre was earlier called the Nanophosphor Application Centre. He is currently the Director of the Delhi-based Inter University Accelerator Centre (IUAC), which is an ion accelerator-based research institute of UGC.

The papers under scrutiny were published between 2009 and 2017. Most of the problematic papers were published in 2009 (six) and 2010 (seven).

Two papers have already been retracted. Except one, concerns for the remaining papers were raised about a year ago.

While duplication of images between papers is seen in a few instances, duplication in the same paper is limited to one or two papers. The most common problem in most of the papers is the manipulation of XRD images.

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Duplication between papers.

Dr. Prashant K. Sharma, who is currently at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Dhanbad and is under investigation along with Dr. Rashmi Madhuir of IIT Dhanbad for unethical research practices, was earlier at this centre with Prof. Pandey. Twenty-four papers of Dr. Sharma published from IIT Dhanbad have been retracted and over a dozen papers are still listed on Pubpeer for image manipulation and duplication.

In this case too, Dr Sharma is a co-author in 19 of 25 papers. And like in the papers published from IIT Dhanbad and retracted, most of the problematic papers have issues with XRD images.

Incidentally, while Prof. Pandey is a senior scientist, he is not the corresponding author of any of the 25 papers.

Prof. Pandey’s responses

“The concerns raised by the anonymous blogger through PubPeer are mainly with regard to images. Why should one manipulate the images or cook the data when one has all such facilities under one roof? The data obtained from the characterisations have been reported as such without any modifications. If we don’t know hard-core experimental facts, and if someone is good at visual inspection to get inkling that all the data are fiddled, it is a terrible time for scientists,” he says in an email.

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He goes to say: “All the work, over the years has been profusely cited by researchers across the globe. As can be seen from the objectives of the NAC [Nanotechnology Application Centre], the Center was involved in synthesis of wide ranging nanophosphors for variety of applications.”

“We can proudly say that we were first to report the GdS phase by our own method which got published [in 2010] in Chemical Communication. The same method was adopted by another group abroad and they characterised the properties in detail as they were better equipped in terms of facilities and synergy with institutions. We were cited in the paper,” he adds.

He goes on to say: “I would like to draw your attention to the 2015 paper (Gadolinium metallo nanocongregates as potential magnetosensors for detecting early stage cancers) published by my group in Applied Physics Letters. This paper has been tracked by the Nature publishing group in 2015, indicating the high quality of research work which is of global importance. Most of the articles were most downloaded. They were featured as cover page article and the article that attracted the global attention and at a later stage got patented [are] also being maligned,”

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Not answering the questions raised, Prof. Pandey says: “The decision of the editorial board is being scrutinized after an elapse of 10 years and none of the journals are paid or sub-standard… Ironically, none of the journals ever approached us for any clarifications except a few and whenever the clarifications were sought we replied to the editors/reviewers by explaining the scientific facts.”

Referring to the 2017 paper in Scientific Reports where concerns have been raised on pubpeer, he says: “Being recent work, the histopathological slides of each image that we had obtained from the experimental mice of different treated groups are available. If the concerns are raised after 10 years, it may be difficult to trace as these evidences [are] perishable.”

Reference to Dr. Sharma’s work

And about Dr. Sharma’s work at IIT Dhanbad that is under investigation, Prof. Pandey says: “You can’t control the life of the PhD students throughout his/her life. This can be considered as professional hazard in present time.  I can’t comment on what compelled Dr. Sharma to keep publishing after joining the new institution at the same pace instead of setting up the facilities first.”

Problematic papers listed on Pubpeer website

1) Immunotoxicological impact and biodistribution assessment of bismuth selenide (Bi2Se3) nanoparticles following intratracheal instillation in mice

Vani Mishra, Vikas Baranwal, Rohit K. Mishra, Shivesh Sharma, Bholanath Paul, Avinash C. Pandey

Scientific Reports (2017)

2) Silver/Polyaniline Nanocomposite for the Electrocatalytic Hydrazine Oxidation

Ravindra P. Singh, A. Tiwari, Avinash C. Pandey

Journal of Inorganic and Organometallic Polymers and Materials (2011)

3) A new class of PANI–Ag core–shell nanorods with sensing dimensions

Vineet K. Shukla, Poonam Yadav, Raghvendra S. Yadav, Priya Mishra, Avinash C. Pandey

Nanoscale (2012)

4) Palladium-decorated zinc sulfide/reduced graphene oxide nanocomposites for enhanced visible light-driven photodegradation of indigo carmine

Eric S. Agorku, Messai A. Mamo, Bhekie B. Mamba, Avinash C. Pandey, Ajay K. Mishra

Materials Science in Semiconductor Processing (2015)

5) Sulfur/Gadolinium-Codoped TiO2Nanoparticles for Enhanced Visible-Light Photocatalytic Performance

Eric S. Agorku, Bhekie B. Mamba, Avinash C. Pandey, Ajay K. Mishra

Journal of Nanomaterials (2014)

6) Titanium dioxide nanoparticles augment allergic airway inflammation and Socs3 expression via NF-κB pathway in murine model of asthma

Vani Mishra, Vikas Baranwal, Rohit K. Mishra, Shivesh Sharma, Bholanath Paul, Avinash C. Pandey

Biomaterials (2016)

7) Swift heavy ions induced nano-grain fragmentation in fluoride thin films

Manvendra Kumar, Ratnesh K. Pandey, Parasmani Rajput, S.A. Khan, Fouran Singh, D.K. Avasthi, Avinash C. Pandey

Journal of Alloys and Compounds (2017)

8) Differential susceptibility of Escherichia coli cells toward transition metal-doped and matrix-embedded ZnO nanoparticles

Ranu K. Dutta, Prashant K. Sharma, Richa Bhargava, Naresh Kumar, Avinash C. Pandey

The Journal of Physical Chemistry B (2010)

9) Size dependence of Eu–O charge transfer process on luminescence characteristics of YBO_3:Eu3+ nanocrystals

Prashant K. Sharma, Ranu K. Dutta, Avinash C. Pandey

Optics Letters (2010)

10) Highly Stabilized Monodispersed Citric Acid Capped ZnO:Cu2Nanoparticles: Synthesis and Characterization for Their Applications in White Light Generation From UV LEDs

Prashant K. Sharma, Ranu K. Dutta, Manvendra Kumar, Prashant Kumar Singh, Avinash C. Pandey, V. N. Singh

IEEE Transactions on Nanotechnology (2011)

11) Alteration of magnetic and optical properties of ultrafine dilute magnetic semiconductor ZnO:Co2+ nanoparticles

Prashant K. Sharma, Ranu K. Dutta, Avinash C. Pandey

Journal of Colloid and Interface Science (2010)

12) Effect of iron doping concentration on magnetic properties of ZnO nanoparticles

Prashant K. Sharma, Ranu K. Dutta, Avinash C. Pandey, Samar Layek, H.C. Verma

Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials (2009)

13) Design and surface modification of potential luminomagnetic nanocarriers for biomedical applications

Ranu K. Dutta, Prashant K. Sharma, Avinash C. Pandey

Journal of Nanoparticle Research (2010)

14) Effect of nickel doping concentration on structural and magnetic properties of ultrafine diluted magnetic semiconductor ZnO nanoparticles

Prashant K. Sharma, Ranu K. Dutta, Avinash C. Pandey

Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials (2009)

15) Doping dependent room-temperature ferromagnetism and structural properties of dilute magnetic semiconductor ZnO:Cu2+ nanorods

Prashant K. Sharma, Ranu K. Dutta, Avinash C. Pandey

Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials (2009)

16) Size-dependent emission efficiency and luminescence characteristics of YBO3:Tb3+ nanocrystals under vacuum ultraviolet excitations

Prashant K. Sharma, Ranu K. Dutta, Avinash C. Pandey

Journal of Applied Physics (2012)

17Properties of sol-gel derived YAG:Eu3+ hierarchical nanostructures with their time evolution studies

Prashant K. Sharma, Manvendra Kumar, Prashant K. Singh, Avinash C. Pandey, V. N. Singh

Journal of Applied Physics (2009)

18) Highly stabilized and photoluminescence enhancement of ZnS:Mn2+ nanoparticles in biotin matrix

Ashish K. Keshari, Avinash C. Pandey

Journal of Applied Physics (2009)

19) Engineering of gadofluoroprobes: Broad-spectrum applications from cancer diagnosis to therapy

Ranu A. Dutta, Prashant K. Sharma, Vandana Tiwari, Vivek Tiwari, Anant B. Patel, Ravindra Pandey, Avinash C. Pandey

Applied Physics Letters (2014)

20) Gadolinium metallo nanocongregates as potential magnetosensors for detecting early stage cancers

Ranu Dutta, Avinash C. Pandey

Applied Physics Letters (2015)

21) Consequence of doping mediated strain and the activation energy on the structural and optical properties of ZnO:Cr nanoparticles

Richa Bhargava, Prashant K. Sharma, Sanjeev Kumar, Avinash C. Pandey, Naresh Kumar

Journal of Solid State Chemistry (2010)

22) Influence of Co-doping on the thermal, structural, and optical properties of sol–gel derived ZnO nanoparticles

Richa Bhargava, Prashant K. Sharma, Ranu K. Dutta, Sanjeev Kumar, Avinash C. Pandey, Naresh Kumar

Materials Chemistry and Physics (2010)

23) Investigation on magnetic properties of α-Fe2O3 nanoparticles synthesized under surfactant-free condition by hydrothermal process

Manish Srivastava, Animesh K. Ojha, S. Chaubey, Jay Singh, Prashant K. Sharma, Avinash C. Pandey

Journal of Alloys and Compounds (2010)

24) Luminescence studies and formation mechanism of symmetrically dispersed ZnO quantum dots embedded in SiO2 matrix

Prashant K. Sharma, Ranu K. Dutta, Manvendra Kumar, Prashant K. Singh, Avinash C. Pandey

Journal of Luminescence (2009)

25) Green luminescent ZnO:Cu2+ nanoparticles for their applications in white-light generation from UV LEDs

Prashant K. Sharma, Manvendra Kumar, Avinash C. Pandey

Journal of Nanoparticle Research (2011)

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