Last update 5/30/2012 9:10:15 AM (GMT+7)

Vietnamese physicist accused of plagiarism

VietNamNet Bridge – On May 23 and 24, 2012, international physics science journals retracted three articles of Le Duc Thong, MA, raising the total number of retracted articles to seven over the last two years.

The retracted articles were the ones written “by Le Duc Thong and research team,” which included the professors and physics experts from the universities and research institutes in Hanoi and HCM City.

The plagiarist

The name Le Duc Thong has become very famous recently for the plagiarism and the record number of plagiarized scientific articles. Most recently, on May 23, Natural Science journal retracted two articles “Strong limit on Δα/α from the analysis of fell absorption line multiplets” and “New test for cosmological time variation of the fine-structure constant from the analysis of quasar spectra” at the same time.

One day later, on May 24, Journal of Modern Physics also stated the removal of the article “Studying cosmological time variability of the fine - structure constant from the analysis of quasar spectra.”

Prior to that, other international scientific journals also announced the removal of a series of articles of the same author for the same reason. These included “Search for cosmological time variation of the fine-structure constant using low-redshifts of quasar” in February 2010 (Physics Letters B Journal); “Was the fine-structure constant variable over cosmological time?” in June 2010 (EPL); “Search for time variation of the fine-structure constant using [OIII] emission lines” (Astrophysics and Space Science, 2012, volume 339, number 2, page 405); “New method of searching for cosmological time variation of the fine-structure constant” (Prog Theor. Phys. Vol. 126 No. 1 (2011) pp. 177-184).

“Thong’s method” worthless

Scientists have voiced their anger about the case, saying that the plagiarism, no matter for what reasons and under what modes, is banned and discouraged in scientific research. Therefore, all the articles are worthless.

Vietnamese scientists have also expressed their dissatisfaction and worry about Thong’s case. “This was the wrongdoing committed by an individual. However, the worrying thing is that scientific journals and Internet forums all have said that Vietnamese physicists have plagiarized,” said Dr Cao Huy Thien, Deputy Head of the HCM City Physics Institute.

“This would seriously affect the prestige of Vietnamese scientists in the future,” he added.

Thien said that Thong’s articles all relate to the “fine structure constant,” which is not popular in Vietnam, but had been discovered and made public before by foreign scientists.

“You can easily find the scientific research works on the issue on Internet,” Thien said, even though Thong stated that he has discovered new method, called “Thong’s method.”

The scientific biography of Thong

The co-authors whose names appear together with Thong in the scientific articles have denied their involvement in the case.

Nguyen Mong Giao, who is now Deputy President of the Hung Vuong University in HCM City, who was believed to help Thong get a job at the HCM City Physics Institute, has affirmed that Thong has spontaneously added Giao’s name into the two articles.

“In fact, the theme of an article relates to a question I once asked Thong to resolve, but he still cannot resolve so far,” Giao said.

“Sometimes Thong found out some small things just like solving mathematics questions, but he always thought that these were big research achievements,” he continued.

“Thong also used my email addresses to contact scientists and scientific journals for his private purposes. I have not kept contact with Thong for a long time,” he said.

Nguyen Thi Thu Huong and Ha Huy Bang, the two lecturers of the Hanoi University of Natural Sciences, whose names appeared in Thong’s articles, have also denied the involvement.

Source: NLD