A fraudulent study on the breeding biology of the endangered Basra
Reed-Warbler Acrocephalus griseldis
Background: Fraudulent studies in peer-reviewed journals are
contaminating the academic record. They therefore need to be retracted.
This article examines allegations of fraud in a field study on the
breeding biology of the Basra Reed-Warbler Acrocephalus griseldis, an
endangered bird species which is almost exclusively breeding in Iraq.
Methods: The study was published in July 2013 in ‘Zoology in the Middle
East’, a peer-reviewed journal of publisher Taylor & Francis (TF). The
journal was informed in September 2013 that the study was not based on
valided facts. TF is since 2016 in the possession of two reports with
investigations about the veracity of the study. I present and discuss,
(a) the main findings of both reports, (b) relevant information
collected later on, and (c) comments from stakeholders and others on (a)
and (b). Results: Numerous efforts in 2015-2021 to get the raw research
data were unsuccessful. There is no evidence that they exist. Several
experts have confirmed that the study is based on fraud. TF, the journal
and others have not provided experts with opposing views. TF, the
journal and others have not provided rebuttals of the main findings of
both reports. The first author, responsible for collecting all field
data, has indicated that he is willing to retract the study.
Conclusions: The Basra Reed-Warbler study is based on fraud and
publisher TF does not take its responsibility to maintain the integrity
of the academic record. The present article highlights the wish of many
scientists that it becomes mandatory for all articles in all Web of
Science journals that the raw data are available for all readers.