Report on investigation of a case of plagiarism

This page reports on the results of an investigation of alleged plagiarism of an article published by SIAM. The evidence leaves no doubt that the plagiarism did indeed occur. Moreover, we have learned of multiple other cases of plagiarism appearing under the names of the same plagiarizing authors.

PLAGIARIZED ARTICLE
M. Sreenivas and T. Srinivas. Probabilistic Transportation Problem (PTP). International Journal of Statistics and Systems, v. 3, n. 1, pp. 83-89, 2008.
   Plagiarized from
James Luedtke and Shabbir Ahmed. A Sample Approximation Approach for Optimization with Probabilistic Constraints. Preprint posted to Optimization Online and submitted to SIAM Journal on Optimization, 15 September 2007. Revised version published in SIAM Journal on Optimization, v. 19, n. 2, pp. 674-699, 2008.

We note that the contents of the Sreenivas-Srinivas paper are taken nearly verbatim from the Luedtke-Ahmed preprint that was posted to the preprint server Optimization Online. Specifically, the abstracts are identical. The text of the Sreenivas-Srinivas paper is essentially a subset of that of the longer Luedtke-Ahmed preprint, consisting of the text beginning with the second sentence of section 3.2 and continuing to the end of the paper. The reference lists contains exactly the same references with the same order and numbering.

On 7 April 2009 SIAM was informed of the existence of the above plagiarism of one of its articles. After verifying that plagiarism had taken place, on 8 April 2009 SIAM wrote to the publisher of the journal, Research India Publications, notifying them of the plagiarism and consequent copyright infringement and asking for a response. SIAM has never received a response from the publisher.

SIAM also contacted Clyde Martin, who is listed as the journal Editor-in-Chief on the the International Journal of Statistics and Systems web page (local copy). Martin responded, saying that he himself was unable to contact the journal publishers. He provided SIAM with a copy of an email dated 27 April 2007 from M. Sreenivas to him, submitting an abstract to the journal, but the abstract and title were different from the one under consideration, and Martin had no further information on how the paper was published. On 14 September 2009 he also informed us that he had submitted his resignation as editor but received no response.

In addition, SIAM learned that several other papers by the same authors, M. Sreenivas and T. Srinivas, which had been published, submitted, or posted to preprint servers, were plagiarized from other sources. SIAM is grateful to the editors of one of the journals involved, 4OR, which published particulars on the case and their own follow-up on their web site. In addition to the paper above, we are currently aware of the following papers published or submitted by these authors that also appear to have been plagiarized:

PLAGIARIZED ARTICLE
M. Sreenivas and T. Srinivas. The transportation: more-for-less criterion. International Journal of Statistics and Management System, v. 3, n. 1-2, pp. 152-165, 2008 (local copy). The same paper was submitted to 4OR in October 2007 but was discovered to be plagiarized and was not published (local copy).
   Plagiarized from
S. Storøy. The transportation paradox revisited. Posted to Optimization Online September 2007 (local copy).
PLAGIARIZED ARTICLE
M. Sreenivas and T. Srinivas. Effectiveness of distribution network. International Journal of Information Systems and Supply Chain Management, v. 1, n. 1, pp. 80-86, 2008 (local copy).
   Plagiarized from
15 key factors that impact your distribution network effectiveness. Tompkins Associates, The Supply Change Edge (local copy).
PLAGIARIZED ARTICLE
M. Sreenivas and T. Srinivas. The role of transportation in logistics chain. Posted to Optimization Online October 2007 (local copy). Apparently published in Indian Journal of Mathematics and Mathematical Sciences, v. 4, n. 2, pp. 137-144, 2008.
   Plagiarized from
Y.-Y. Tseng, W.L. Yue, and M.A.P. Taylor. The role of transportation in the logistics chain. In K. Satoh, editor, Proceedings of the Eastern Asia Society for Transportation Studies, v. 5, pp. 1657-1672, 2005 (local copy).
PLAGIARIZED ARTICLE
M. Sreenivas and T. Srinivas. A new algorithm for minimum cost linking. Posted to Optimization Online September 2007 (local copy).
   Plagiarized from
J. Colannino and G.T. Toussaint. A faster algorithm for computing the link distance between two point sets on the real line. Technical Report SOCS-TR-2005.5, School of Computer Science, McGill University, 2005 (local copy).

In addition to these identified instances of plagiarism we are aware of other papers purporting to be coauthored by these two authors that may also have been plagiarized.

Unable to obtain a response from the publisher of the plagiarized article, on 25 August 2009 SIAM wrote to several administrators at the universities listed as the affiliations of the authors in the article (Alluri Institute of Management Sciences, Hanamkonda, India for M. Sreenivas and Kakatiya University, Warangal, India for T. Srinivas). Although we have not heard back directly from any university official, shortly thereafter we received responses from each of the authors. The first letter, from M. Sreenivas, is difficult to understand. However, in the letter, Sreenivas apologizes and states that he is "ashamed for the situation" and that "past history will not be repeated in the future attempts." He also states that "[t]he co-author, which was mentioned in the article, is no way related to this matter" (however, see below). The letter arrived first in the form of an email sent from mastermaruthi@gmail.com on 9 September 2009, and then by postal mail on 2 October 2009. The postal version also included a copy of a letter sent by M. Sreenivas to Research India Publications asking to "remove the said article from your Journal." Here we provide an unedited transcript of the letter as well as scans of the letter and inclusion.

To
James M. Crowley
Executive Director
SIAM
3600 Market Street, 6th floor
Philadelphia, PA 19104-2688 USA
siam@siam.org

Respected Sir,

     As per the letter dated August 25, 2009, I corresponding author, M. Sreenivas, take this humble opportunity to request you that the article titled Probabilistic Transportation Problem (PTP), appeared in Volume 3, Issue 1 of International Journal of Statistics and Systems, I ashamed for the situation and I have been stopped such type of submissions to the Journals.

     The co-author, which was mentioned in the article, is no way related to this matter, as it is not in the notice of him. It was happened without consulting the person. He is completely unaware of the article.

     I sincerely apology to the entire scholarly community for taking such steps and the past history will not be repeated in the future attempts.

     I request your goodself to kindly think this matter with magnoliant heart and pursue this matter favorably on humanitarian grounds. I once again promise you to carry satisfactory work towards the Journals by following the respective rules.

     Also I herewith attach the copy of the letter, which was sent to the published Journal.

     Thanking you Sir,

               Yours faithfully,

               [signed and dated 9/9/09]

               (M. Sreenivas)

The second letter, from T. Srinivas, states that he had only recently learned that "some bad things happened in 2007 without my knowledge and my name was included" (however, see below). His response, sent as email from sri_srinivas15@yahoo.com on 11 September 2009, is reproduced here (unedited).

To
Prof.Jmes M.Crowley
Executive Director
Siam Journal.
USA.

Respected Sir,

     Thank you very much for your letter regarind the paper Probabilistic Transportation Problem (PTP).
     I would like to bring the following facts to your kind notice.

     Recently I have received a letter from American mathematical reviews .From this only I came to know that some bad things happened in 2007 without my knowledge and my name was included in the papers of M.Sreenivas, a student of O.R. and working in a private college (Business Management ). Also he created an e-mail address on my name and communicated some papers on O.R. and he corresponded every thing by including my name but without my notice. After receiving the letter, I called him, and asked about this, then he said I am sorry Sir, and after 2007 he has not done any such type of mistakes but at that time he did not mentioned about this paper i.e., Probabilistic Transportation Problem (PTP).

     After receiving your letter (dated 25-8-09) addressed to Vice- Chancellor and Head, I called him and asked about your letter then he said sorry and he has done this in 2007 and he is saying that these are the only mistakes.

     Also I would like to clarify that I have worked in Algebra but not in O.R. and I had no idea about O.R. Now the damage has already done to me and to my University. I am feeling that one should not believe the students and it is a good lesson to me. So with this incident I would like to ban my self so that no one can include my name. I take this opportunity to convey my heartfelt apologies to the academicians of O.R., the editors of the Journals and to my University.

     Also I have asked him to withdraw the papers and I am also writing a letter to the publishers.
     I am very sorry for the inconvenience caused.

Thanking you,

               Yours faithfully.

                     T.Srinivas

Dr.T.Srinivas
Department of Mathematics
Kakatiya University
Warangal 506009
A.P.
INDIA

We note that, although both authors suggest that T. Srinivas was not an active participant in the plagiarism, in a web page of the Department of Mathematics of Kakatiya University, under the section "Research Publications of the Faculty," there are 16 papers listed for T. Srinivas, including seven papers written jointly by the two authors. These include some of the plagiarized papers listed above and several others not listed above, all with titles related to transportation optimization and logistics and appearing in the period 2006-2008. On this local copy of the web page, the papers can be found on page 10. Unable to understand how it is possible that these papers were posted to a web page in T. Srinivas's department without his knowledge or collaboration, on 6 October 2009 we inquired about this to T. Srinivas. On 21 October 2009 we received this response (which includes our email at end).

From: sri srinivas [mailto:sri_srinivas15@yahoo.com]
Sent: Wednesday, October 21, 2009 10:58 AM
To: James M. Crowley
Subject: Re: apology

Dear Sir,

               I am very sorry for the delay in giving the reply.

               I would like to bring the following facts to your kind notice

              I have already mentioned that I have worked in Algebra but no idea in O.R. and

 Mr. M .Srinivas , working in a Business Management College, has written the articles and communicated by including my name without my notice. After the publication only he brought the reprints to the department. All the faculty members know that my contribution to those papers is nil. In the department we don't have any expert working in the field of O.R. We were of the opinion that the work is original and genuine, but we never thought that such type of coping by M. Srinivas. Moreover we were of the opinion that these papers were published after the verification and positive response from the referees. While preparing the departmental profile the Head asked to give the list of papers and M. Srinivas gave the list and thus these papers were included in the list of publications, because my name is there. To be frankly speaking we felt happy because he published so many papers by including my name that too with out my contribution. That is the reason why I gave the apology, even though the mistake was done by my student. Still we don't know how many papers are not genuine. So we are removing all the papers of M. Srinivas from the list of publications and from the web.

            Now I would like clarify the entrance of M. Srinivas.

            Actually, I am working in Algebra but not in O.R. Mr .M. Srinivas got M.Sc. degree in Mathematics from this University with specialization in Statistics. He was interested in doing research in O.R., He told me that he worked in this area with the help of some Professors in REC, Warangal. But later on REC was converted as NIT, and there was no possibility for part time research. So he approached the department. He requested me but I told him that I don't know any thing in OR .He said that he will do on his own and with the help of some Professors out side the University. Later on he published some papers but he never consulted me , because I don't have any kind of knowledge in O.R. Even after seeing his papers also, we, the departmental faculty members could not judge the work and in fact we felt that there is no mathematics, but deals only with management area.

            Any how the damage has already done to me and to my University. I feel that it is a mere negligence on my part and believing him caused this type of situation. I am feeling very sorry and I think I am unfit to supervise the scholars. So I am thinking to apply for the cancellation of guide ship in order to avoid such type of mistakes.

          I once again take this opportunity to convey my heartfelt apologies to the academicians of O.R., the editors of the Journals and to my University.

         Thanking you,

Yours faithfully,

T.Srinivas

________________________________
From: James M. Crowley [mailto:crowley@siam.org]
To: sri_srinivas15@yahoo.com
Sent: Tue, October 6, 2009 6:40:49 PM
Subject: Copied Paper by Sreenivas and Srinivas]

TO: S. Srinivas

We received your letter of September 11, 2009 regarding the multiple plagiarized papers appearing over the names of M. Sreenivas and yourself. We have a question about that letter and response it contains.

Seven such papers are listed under your name on a web page of your department http://www.kakatiya.ac.in/academics/faculties/Science/mathematics/highli ghts.html

Can you please explain how these papers came to be listed in that web page? Who was the author of the web page, and who supplied him or her with the list of your papers? Have you seen the web page previously?

We have nearly completed our investigation of this incident and will soon release our report. We would like to have as complete and as accurate information as possible.

I hope you can provide me the answers to these questions at your earliest convencience.

James M. Crowley
Executive Director, SIAM

Postscript
On December 16, 2009, we sent an email to the entire editorial board of International Journal of Statistics and Systems, bringing the matter to their attention. The following day, SIAM received an email from Viveka Nand of Research India Publications, stating that the article had been removed from their web site. The email was written as a response to SIAM's original inquiry eight months earlier. In addition, after the posting of this report we were informed by the editors of other journals of retractions or rejections of other papers by Sreenivas and Srinivas due to plagiarism.

Further information and inquiries about this case should be sent to pub-ethics@siam.org.

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