Response to Ministry’s second press release

You should also read: Response from Experts and on Ministry’s first press release

The Ministry of Education and Research issued another press release, this time regarding the misconduct Review 008 and the B1 TV show which discussed it at great length. We shall not comment on all the Ministry’s arguments related to the misconduct because most were already covered by 4 experts on Sunday.

As was the case with the previous press release, we underline that it was not the Ministry, a state institution, involved in these misconducts of plagiarism and suspected copyright violation, but the persons A.C. Nechifor, A. Ioachim, E. Andronescu et al. In total, 12 persons.

It is also intriguing, to say the least, that the Ministry, as a state institution, took twice a prompt and official position in their defense in these misconduct cases without undertaking any formal investigations.

Moreover, the press releases contain false information.

These aspects also have legal implications.

[UPDATE] Prof Albert P. Philipse, read the Ministry’s first press release, which mentions a collaboration between him and Aurelia Cristina Nechifor, and a letter send by Prof Philipse to her, It was in fact Ana-Mariana Nechifor, a different person. Prof Albert says:

Already some years ago I heard rumours that there is/was a Roumanian PhD thesis that contains work from my PhD student Gerard van Eewijk.

Now there is a name mentioned of a Aurelia Christine Nechifor who is supposed to have work with me as a post-doc around 1993; I have been informed that this lady is now about 35 years old ..rather unlikely that she was a post-doc back then!

The truth is that there was a Roumanian post-doc, with the name Ana Mariana Nechifor (now fifty) , who worked on magnetic particles and who had permission to take samples and TEM images to her home lab in Bucharest. The letter, directed to A.M.Nechifor, is one of those permissions.

Apparently someone is confusing names, for reasons I can only speculate on; it should not be difficult for any journalist to verify the age of A.C. Nechifor and draw conclusions.

The Ministry today states that the IEEE CAS conference paper, where Ecaterina Andronescu and Sorin Jinga were authors, was the first disseminated material and that the Elsevier ECERS journal paper was the second:

The first results were disseminated at the scientific conference “International Semiconductor Conference” in 2006, with the title „Annealing Effects on Properties of Ba(Zn1/3Ta2/3)o3 Dielectric” [ed. the 2-IEEE CAS paper].


Concurrently, the research group at the National Institute of Materials Physics, proposed for publication at the Journal of the European Ceramic Society the article „Effect of the sintering temperature on the Ba(Zn1/3Ta2/3)o3 dielectric properties”. This article was published only later in 2007 [ed. the 1-ECERS-Elsevier article].

The above statements would clear Ecaterina Andronescu and Sorin Jinga of the accusation of plagiarism leaving only self-plagiarism and copyright violation. However, that is not the case. They  seemingly suggest concurrent multi-submission. Again, that is not the case.

As the official cover of the IEEE CAS 2006 conference shows, the conference took place on 27-29 Sept 2006.

As the 1-ECERS-Elsevier article shows, this journal article was available on 12 June 2006, evidently showing that the results were actually disseminated 3 months before the IEEE CAS 2006 conference, and were submitted to the journal long before the IEEE conference.

Moreover still, when the authors submitted the first article, 1-ECERS-Elsevier, a copyright agreement was signed with Elsevier. This copyright was already in force on 12 June 2006, undeniably indicated by the © 2006 mark on the bottom of the article’s first page.

The information in Review 008 is correct. Ecaterina Andronescu and Sorin Jinga were not authors on the first paper.

It is worth reminding that the authors published 3 (three) more articles after 12 June 2006, all essentially copied from the first, as confirmed by the experts, and that copyright agreements were signed on at least two more occasions: with IEEE and Elsevier, confirmed by the © 2006 and © 2007 marks at the bottom of the first page of the 2-IEEE-CAS and 4-TSF-Elsevier articles.

Ironically, as stated by Elsevier, one of the reasons for signing a copyright agreement is for protection against plagiarism.

All of the above aspects also have legal implications.

Besides truthfulness and legal implications, it is expected that press releases issued by a Ministry, regarding research works, consider the implications for the public image of the institution and research, perceived at both national and international levels.

Below is some information from Elsevier and IEEE that pertains to the authors in Review 008.

Excerpts from the Elsevier copyright agreement:

  • The article I have submitted to the journal for review is original, has been written by the stated authors and has not been published elsewhere.
  • The article is not currently being considered for publication by any other journal and will not be submitted for such review while under review by this journal.
  • The article contains no libellous or other unlawful statements and does not contain any materials that violate any personal or proprietary rights of any other person or entity.
  • I have obtained written permission from copyright owners for any excerpts from copyrighted works that are included and have credited the sources in my article.
  • If the article was prepared jointly with other authors, I have informed the co-author(s) of the terms of this publishing agreement and that I am signing on their behalf as their agent, and I am authorized to do so.

The Elsevier submission declaration says that submission of an articles implies that:

  • it has not been published previously (except in the form of an abstract or as part of a published lecture or academic thesis or as an electronic preprint),
  • that it is not under consideration for publication elsewhere,
  • that its publication is approved by all authors and tacitly or explicitly by the responsible authorities where the work was carried out, and
  • that, if accepted, it will not be published elsewhere including electronically in the same form, in English or in any other language, without the written consent of the copyright-holder.

IEEE policy on originality of content, from the  IEEE PSPB Operations Manual:

  • Authors should only submit original work that has neither appeared elsewhere for publication, nor which is under review for another publication.
  • When submitting a manuscript, authors shall disclose whether or not the manuscript has been published previously or if it is still under active consideration by another publication.
  • If authors have used their own previously published work(s) as a basis for a new submission, they are required to cite the previous work(s) and very briefly indicate how the new submission offers substantive novel contributions beyond those of the previously published work(s).

The IEEE PSBP Operations Manual, in Section 8.2.4.D, describes five levels of plagiarism and their sanctions. the most severe plagiarism level (Level 1) having three equivalent cases:

  • Uncredited Verbatim Copying of a Full Paper.
  • Uncredited Verbatim Copying of a Major Portion (more than 50%) within a Single Paper.
  • Uncredited Verbatim Copying within More than a Single Paper by the Same Author(s). This includes instances where more than one paper by the author(s) has been found to contain plagiarized content, and all the percentages of plagiarized material in each of the discovered papers sum to greater than 50%.

… with some of the sanctions for this level being:

  • Publication of a notice of violation of Publication Principles in the IEEE electronic database as part of the article’s bibliographic record.
  • Publication of a notice of violation of Publication Principles in the appropriate IEEE publication where the author(s) and the specific paper have been found to be in violation of IEEE Principles against plagiarism.
  • Prohibition of publication in all IEEE-copyrighted publications by the authors for three to five years.
  • Authors prepare and submit an apology to the plagiarized author(s) and publication editor(s).
  • IEEE publishes of the author’s apology.
  • If the apology action above is taken and authors fail to apologize in writing, then the duration of the prohibition of publication in all IEEE-copyrighted publications shall be increased by one or two years.

You should also read: Response from Experts and on Ministry’s first press release