Queen’s professor has papers retracted

Retracted papers part of previous allegations made by fellow Queen’s professor

The CDIO Initiative in Sweden retracted four conference papers written by a Queen’s professor of engineering on July 1 following a directive from Queen’s University.

According to the co-director of the CDIO, Johan Malmqvist, Queen’s approached CDIO on June 30 and directed CDIO to remove the papers.

“We [removed the papers] due to a recommendation from Queen’s University to do so since a Queen’s University investigative committee had found that the paper showed elements of  ‘plagiarism’, ” Malmqvist told The Journal via email. The Journal has omitted the name of the professor due to legal concerns.

The CDIO Initiative is an organization that consists of more than 120 schools around the world. The initiative, which holds an international research conference every year, focuses on education in engineering.

Queen’s Senate Policy on Integrity in Research Presenting uses the Canada Tri-Agency definition for plagiarism: “Presenting and using another’s published or unpublished work, including theories, concepts, data, source material, methodologies or findings, including graphs and images, as one’s own, without appropriate referencing and without required permission”.

CDIO removed the papers from their website on July 1. Neither CDIO nor Queen’s could comment on whether the four papers were the only papers to be retracted.

The retracted papers were conference proceedings written by a Professor Emeritus of Materials and Mechanical Engineering at Queen’s. The papers were published as part of the Second and Third International CDIO Conferences, which were held at Linkoping University, Sweden in 2007 and at MIT Massachusetts in 2006.

When contacted by The Journal, the professor declined to comment about the retracted papers.

In response to questions regarding the retracted papers, Vice-Principal (Research), Steven Liss said he couldn’t comment on the specific details of the case because the University’s process is based on confidentiality for both complainants and respondents.

“Queen’s takes allegations of research misconduct seriously, and our research integrity policy sets out a clear process for investigating such allegations,” Liss told The Journal via email.

“We also expect complainants to respect the confidentiality of information that may, quite appropriately, be shared with them throughout the process.”

Liss didn’t comment on the University’s contact with CDIO, whether the author was disciplined or on the University’s investigation into the allegedly plagiarized papers.

The retracted papers were among the papers Professor Morteza Shirkhanzadeh posted on his personal website as part of his series of allegations of research misconduct at Queen’s.

Shirkhanzadeh, a Queen’s professor in mechanical engineering, posted the papers in 2013. He has been posting about alleged research misconduct on his website, called the Little Office of Research Integrity (LORI), since 2012. 

A report published in April by the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) stated that actions taken by Queen’s University against the professor for posts on his website violated his academic freedom.

Shirkhanzadeh recently received a final report from the University on their investigation into his most recent allegations of research misconduct. However, he said he still feels the investigation was inadequate.

“The report is superficial and lack[s] thoroughness similar to reports in 2005, 2010, and 2013. Many of the allegations are left unaddressed,” Shirkhanzadeh told The Journal via email.

“There is no evidence that the University investigated the ‘entire body of work’ as the University promised a year ago.”

Shirkanzadeh and the University met last August to reach a settlement on the charges each had filed against the other. However, Queen’s added a provision in the settlement stating that the settlement would be declared null and void if CAUT released a report on the case.

CAUT released its report despite the provision, which led the University to declare the settlement void on May 8. 

Shirkhanzadeh said he has yet to receive any new information on the state of the charges he and the University have filed against each other.

A timeline of Dr. Shirkhanzadeh’s allegations to Queen’s about research misconduct. Click here to view the timeline in fullscreen.

Information taken from LORI, CAUT’s report and Dr. Shirkanzadeh’s own report.

The Journal will update the timeline as new information becomes available.



Academic dishonesty, academic freedom, academic integrity, research misconduct, shir

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