Department of Applied Chemistry, IIT Dhanbad has 45 papers with duplicated, manipulated images

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The Department of Applied Chemistry at IIT Dhanbad has 45 papers listed on Pubpeer for image duplication and/or manipulation. Of the 45, 19 papers are of Dr. Rashmi Madhuri’s. The 19 papers of Dr. Madhuri are in addition to the 25 papers that have already been retracted. Dr. Madhuri is already under investigation by the institute.

The Department of Applied Chemistry at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Dhanbad first became infamous when 25 papers of Dr. Rashmi Madhuri (coauthered with Dr. Prashant Sharma of the Department of Applied Physics at the same institute) were retracted and another 19 papers were still listed on Pubpeer website for problematic images. On closer scrutiny, another 25 papers by other faculty members from the same department were found to be listed on the website.

In addition to the 25 papers, there are about 10 papers that have already been retracted or corrected for image duplication between papers. Of the 25 papers listed on Pubpeer, Prof. Sagar Pal and Prof. Mahendra Yadav have the most — nine and 10, respectively. They are not co-authors in any of the 25 papers.

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Except for a couple of papers, almost all the papers have problems with image reuse in more than one paper. There are instances where the same image has been reused in three more papers, though the experiment or the material being studied is different in each case.

Retraction for reusing images

A 2013 paper in the Journal of Metallurgy by Prof. Yadav was retracted along with three other papers (here, here and here) by him. The retraction notice published by the Journal of Metallurgy for the 2013 paper reads: “The article was found to contain images reused in several other articles published by Mahendra Yadav and colleagues. The details of the reuse of images [within the same paper] are as follows:  Figure 9(b) is similar to Figure 11b, Figure 17b, Figure 14b, and Figure 5b. Figure 9(c) is similar to Figure 11c, Figure 17c, and Figure 14c. In particular, Figure 9 shares the same image of a sample in HCl as Figure 11 and the same image in the presence of an inhibitor, but these represent different inhibitors in each article, AMPT, and BAL, respectively.

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“We asked the authors to provide the underlying uncropped and unadjusted scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images, the raw data, and details of how the experiments were conducted.

“The corresponding author, Dr. Yadav, said the SEM work was outsourced but did not give details on where, when, or by whom this work was performed. The equipment is described as a “JEOL JSM-6380 LA analytical scanning electron microscope” in this article. However, there is no description of the scanning electron microscope in this paper and in this paper it is described as a “Scanning Electron Microscope model SEM Jeol JSM-5800.” These are not the same model of microscope, despite these articles sharing some of the same SEM images.

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“Dr. Yadav provided us with replacement figures. However, they were identical for two of the articles, despite representing experiments with the inhibitors AMPT and ODAEODI, respectively. We were not told how these images were generated, the images were of low resolution, and the text in the images was illegible.”

Similarly, a retraction note published for a 2014 paper by Prof. Yadav in the journal Acta Metallurgica Sinica (English Letter) reads: “The editor has retracted this article because Figure 7a-7d, as well as parts of the text were duplicated from the following article. There is also substantial overlap with article that has been retracted due to duplicate publication. The data reported in this article are therefore unreliable.”

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Dr. Madhuri’s saga

A fact-finding committee comprising four members began investigating in March last year when more than two dozen papers of Dr. Madhuri and Dr. Sharma were retracted. In August 2018, Prof. Rajiv Shekhar, Director of IIT Dhanbad told me that the investigation has been completed. He said scientific misconduct appeared serious and may attract major penalty.

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The researchers would be given a chance to contest the findings, he had said. When last contacted about two weeks ago, Prof. Shekhar said the investigation is yet to be completed. He refused to say when it might be completed.

Training students in the fine art of image manipulation

Like how Dr. Madhuri was a co-author of 16 of 51 papers published by her PhD supervisor Prof. Bhim Bali Prasad from the Department of Chemistry at Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi, her students — Santanu Patra and Ekta Roy — too are co-authors in many of Dr. Madhuri’s papers still listed on Pubpeer. Santanu Patra and Ekta Roy are co-authors in 15 and 11 papers, respectively.

Problematic papers listed on Pubpeer website

1) Template-free single pot synthesis of SnS2@Cu2O/reduced graphene oxide (rGO) nanoflowers for high performance supercapacitors

Goutam Hatui, Ganesh Chandra Nayak, G. Udayabhanu, Yogendra Kumar Mishra, Devendra Deo Pathak

New Journal of Chemistry (2017)

2) Corrosion inhibition performance of pyranopyrazole derivatives for mild steel in HCl solution: Gravimetric, electrochemical and DFT studies

Mahendra Yadav, Laldeep Gope, Nilam Kumari, Premanand Yadav

Journal of Molecular Liquids (2016)

3) Synthesized amino acid compounds as eco-friendly corrosion inhibitors for mild steel in hydrochloric acid solution: electrochemical and quantum studies

Mahendra Yadav, Laldeep Gope, Tarun Kanti Sarkar

Research on Chemical Intermediates (2016)

4) Amino acid compounds as eco-friendly corrosion inhibitor for N80 steel in HCl solution: Electrochemical and theoretical approaches

Mahendra Yadav, Tarun Kanti Sarkar, Taniya Purkait

Journal of Molecular Liquids (2015)

5) Corrosion inhibitive properties of some new isatin derivatives on corrosion of N80 steel in 15% HCl

Mahendra Yadav, Usha Sharma, Premanand Yadav

International Journal of Industrial Chemistry (2013)

6) Corrosion inhibition effect of spiropyrimidinethiones on mild steel in 15% HCl solution: insight from electrochemical and quantum studies

M. Yadav, R. R. Sinha, Sumit Kumar, T. K. Sarkar

RSC Advances (2015)

7) Non-toxic Schiff bases as efficient corrosion inhibitors for mild steel in 1 M HCl: Electrochemical, AFM, FE-SEM and theoretical studies

Dharmendra Kumar Singh, Eno E. Ebenso, Mantu Kumar Singh, Debasis Behera, G. Udayabhanu, Rohith P. John

Journal of Molecular Liquids (2018)

8) Nontoxic corrosion inhibitors for N80 steel in hydrochloric acid

M. Yadav, Debasis Behera, Usha Sharma

Arabian Journal of Chemistry (2016)

9) 4(N,N-dimethylamino) benzaldehyde nicotinic hydrazone as corrosion inhibitor for mild steel in 1M HCl solution: An experimental and theoretical study

Dharmendra Kumar Singh, Santosh Kumar, G. Udayabhanu, Rohith P. John

Journal of Molecular Liquids (2016)

10) In-situ silica incorporated carboxymethyl tamarind: development and application of a novel hybrid nanocomposite

Sagar Pal, M.K. Gorain, A. Giri, A. Bandyopadhyay, A.B. Panda

International Journal of Biological Macromolecules (2011)

11) High performance polymeric flocculants based on modified polysaccharides—Microwave assisted synthesis

Sagar Pal, Gautam Sen, Sandipta Ghosh, R.P. Singh

Carbohydrate Polymers (2018)

12) A novel polymeric flocculant based on polyacrylamide grafted carboxymethylstarch

Gautam Sen, Ranvijay Kumar, S. Ghosh, Sagar Pal

Carbohydrate Polymers (2009)

13) Hydrolyzed polyacrylamide grafted carboxymethylstarch (Hyd. CMS-g-PAM): An efficient flocculant for the treatment of textile industry wastewater

Gautam Sen, Sandipta Ghosh, Usha Jha, Sagar Pal

Chemical Engineering Journal (2011)

14) Grafting effect of gum acacia on mild steel corrosion in acidic medium: Gravimetric and electrochemical study

Amrita Biswas, Punita Mourya, Dipanjan Mondal, Sagar Pal, G. Udayabhanu

Journal of Molecular Liquids (2018)

15) Effect of chemical modification of a natural polysaccharide on its inhibitory action on mild steel in 15% HCl solution

Amrita Biswas, Sagar Pal, G. Udayabhanu

Journal of Adhesion Science and Technology (2017)

16) Flocculation properties of polyacrylamide grafted carboxymethyl guar gum (CMG-g-PAM) synthesised by conventional and microwave assisted method

Sagar Pal, S. Ghorai, M.K. Dash, S. Ghosh, G. Udayabhanu

Journal of Hazardous Materials (2011)

17) Flocculation characteristics of polyacrylamide grafted hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose: An efficient biodegradable flocculant

Raghunath Das, Soumitra Ghorai, Sagar Pal

Chemical Engineering Journal (2013)

18) Acrylic acid grafted guargum–nanosilica membranes for transdermal diclofenac delivery

Arindam Giri, Tridib Bhunia, Samir Ranjan Mishra, Luna Goswami, Asit Baran Panda, Sagar Pal, Abhijit Bandyopadhyay

Carbohydrate Polymers (2013)

19) One-step synthesis of amikacin modified fluorescent carbon dots for the detection of Gram-negative bacteria like Escherichia coli

Soumen Chandra, Angshuman Ray Chowdhuri, Triveni Kumar Mahto, Arpita Samui, Sumanta Kumar Sahu

RSC Advances (2016)

20) A ZnO decorated chitosan–graphene oxide nanocomposite shows significantly enhanced antimicrobial activity with ROS generation

Angshuman Ray Chowdhuri, Satyajit Tripathy, Soumen Chandra, Somenath Roy, Sumanta Kumar Sahu

RSC Advances (2015)

21) Template-free single pot synthesis of SnS2@Cu2O/reduced graphene oxide (rGO) nanoflowers for high performance supercapacitors

Goutam Hatui, Ganesh Chandra Nayak, G. Udayabhanu, Yogendra Kumar Mishra, Devendra Deo Pathak

New Journal of Chemistry (2017)

22) Targeted synthesis of cadmium(ii) Schiff base complexes towards corrosion inhibition on mild steel

Mriganka Das, Amrita Biswas, Bidyut Kumar Kundu, Shaikh M. Mobin, G. Udayabhanu, Suman Mukhopadhyay

RSC Advances (2017)

23) Introduction of selectivity and specificity to graphene using an inimitable combination of molecular imprinting and nanotechnology

Ekta Roy, Santanu Patra, Ashutosh Tiwari, Rashmi Madhuri, Prashant K. Sharma

Biosensors and Bioelectronics (2017)

24) PVA assisted low temperature anatase to rutile phase transformation (ART) and properties of titania nanoparticles

Shrabani Mondal, Rashmi Madhuri, Prashant K. Sharma

Journal of Alloys and Compounds (2015)

25) Assessing the linear and planer micro-structural defects in SnO2 Nanoparticles through high resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM)

Shrabani Mondal, Rashmi Madhuri, Prashant K. Sharma

Advanced Materials Letters (2017)

26) Fast and Selective Preconcentration of Europium from Wastewater and Coal Soil by Graphene Oxide/Silane@Fe3O4 Dendritic Nanostructure

Santanu Patra, Ekta Roy, Rashmi Madhuri, Prashant K. Sharma

Environmental Science & Technology (2015)

27) Simultaneous determination of heavy metals in biological samples by a multiple-template imprinting technique: an electrochemical study

Ekta Roy, Santanu Patra, Rashmi Madhuri, Prashant K. Sharma

RSC Advances (2014)

28) Europium doped magnetic graphene oxide-MWCNT nanohybrid for estimation and removal of arsenate and arsenite from real water samples

Ekta Roy, Santanu Patra, Rashmi Madhuri, Prashant K. Sharma

Chemical Engineering Journal (2016)

29) Molecularly imprinted star polymer-modified superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticle for trace level sensing and separation of mancozeb

Sunil Kumar, Paramita Karfa, Santanu Patra, Rashmi Madhuri, Prashant K. Sharma

RSC Advances (2016)

30) Nanocomposite of bimetallic nanodendrite and reduced graphene oxide as a novel platform for molecular imprinting technology

Santanu Patra, Ekta Roy, Rashmi Madhuri, Prashant K. Sharma

Analytica Chimica Acta (2016)

31) Probing the shape-specific electrochemical properties of cobalt oxide nanostructures for their application as selective and sensitive non-enzymatic glucose sensors

Shrabani Mondal, Rashmi Madhuri, Prashant K. Sharma

Journal of Materials Chemistry C (2017)

32) Heteroatom-doped graphene ‘ Idli ’: A green and foody approach towards development of metal free bifunctional catalyst for rechargeable zinc-air battery

Santanu Patra, Raksha Choudhary, Ekta Roy, Rashmi Madhuri, Prashant K. Sharma

Nano Energy (2016)

33) A single solution for arsenite and arsenate removal from drinking water using cysteine@ZnS:TiO 2 nanoparticle modified molecularly imprinted biofouling-resistant filtration membrane

Ekta Roy, Santanu Patra, Rashmi Madhuri, Prashant K. Sharma

Chemical Engineering Journal (2016)

34) Stimuli-responsive poly( N -isopropyl acrylamide)-co-tyrosine@gadolinium: Iron oxide nanoparticle-based nanotheranostic for cancer diagnosis and treatment

Ekta Roy, Santanu Patra, Rashmi Madhuri, Prashant K. Sharma

Colloids and Surfaces B Biointerfaces (2016)

35) Shape effect on the fabrication of imprinted nanoparticles: Comparison between spherical-, rod-, hexagonal-, and flower-shaped nanoparticles

Ekta Roy, Santanu Patra, Shubham Saha, Deepak Kumar, Rashmi Madhuri, Prashant K. Sharma

Chemical Engineering Journal (2017)

36) Gold nanoparticle mediated designing of non-hydrolytic sol–gel cross-linked metformin imprinted polymer network: A theoretical and experimental study

Ekta Roy, Santanu Patra, Rashmi Madhuri, Prashant K. Sharma

Talanta (2014)

37) Agar based bimetallic nanoparticles as high-performance renewable adsorbent for removal and degradation of cationic organic dyes

Santanu Patra, Ekta Roy, Rashmi Madhuri, Prashant K. Sharma

Journal of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry (2016)

38) Controlled hydrothermal synthesis of graphene supported NiCo 2 O 4 coral-like nanostructures: An efficient electrocatalyst for overall water splitting

Suryakanti Debata, Santanu Patra, Sanchari Banerjee, Rashmi Madhuri, Prashant K. Sharma

Applied Surface Science (2018)

39) Bismuth oxide decorated graphene oxide nanocomposites synthesized via sonochemical assisted hydrothermal method for adsorption of cationic organic dyes

Trupti R. Das, Santanu Patra, Rashmi Madhuri, Prashant K. Sharma

Journal of Colloid and Interface Science (2018)

40) Graphene-Based Portable, Flexible, and Wearable Sensing Platforms: An Emerging Trend for Health Care and Biomedical Surveillance

Santanu Patra, Raksha Choudhary, Rashmi Madhuri, Prashant K. Sharma

Graphene Bioelectronics (2018)

41) Polymeric iron oxide-graphene nanocomposite as a trace level sensor of vitamin C

Trupti R. Das, Suchit Kumar Jena, Rashmi Madhuri, Prashant K. Sharma

Applied Surface Science (2018)

42) Synthesis and application of new acetohydrazide derivatives as a corrosion inhibition of mild steel in acidic medium: Insight from electrochemical and theoretical studies

M. Yadav, R.R. Sinha, S. Kumar, I. Bahadur, E.E. Ebenso

6 Thoughts

  1. This a qualification for coming to position in India, more retraction more and more higher position. In BARC a person with maximum retraction got DS with director post. Pl. Check retraction from BARC in Google, you will see many papers with retraction and all are either OS OR DS either director or HOD post. No action against them but promoted to next higher grades

  2. Papers listed in pubpeer does not necessarily mean that all of those are problematic.
    Please choose the papers which have problems and mention the number. Otherwise, it is just a article here, reporting a “large number of papers in pubpeer” to attract the readers to this post. Please do not try to damage of the institutes unnecessarily. Above all, honesty in research completely depends on the person who conducts the research. The institutes do not have role or support for doing misconduct. Please report research misconducts directly mentioning the name of the fraudsters in the title of your articles instead of naming the institutes in your post. It’s not easy to regain the reputation once it lost for the institutes. It’s hard earned.

    1. I don’t mention papers just because they are posted on PubPeer. These have been cross-checked. And any justification for the retracted papers, too? Much as I mention the institute’s name when I write about good work done by its researchers, I do mention the institute’s name when the news is not to your liking. The institute stands to gain or lose depending on how its faculty/students perform.
      When the article is about more than one person, do you really expect me to mention the names of 5-10 people in the heading/title?
      And about regaining reputation, please do tell me why the investigation into Dr. Rashmi Madhuri and Dr. Prashant Sharma, who have 25 papers retracted, which was started in March last year has still not reached its logical end? Why is there a delay despite the fact-finding committee finding serious misconduct, as the director himself told me? The more the institute delays, the more muck will be thrown.

      1. I don’t mention papers just because they are posted on PubPeer.

        This is an important point. Thank you for checking the entries. Papers can be posted on PubPeer to point out an interesting corollary, or to correct what are obviously unintended mistakes. Or a critic can be completely wrong (or malicious).

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