Ideas

Brainiac

On Second Thought: self-copying

"Secrets of the Dead: Shroud of Christ?" The facial image on the Shroud of Turin as it appears on a photographic negative Photo courtesy of the Barrie M. Schwortz Collection/WNET Library Tag 04202004 Health & Science

Courtesy of the Barrie M. Schwortz Collection

The Shroud of Turin on a photographic negative.

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Thou shalt not copy thine own work. It’s not one of the Ten Commandments. But it’s a rule in academia — a rule Alberto Carpinteri and his colleagues surely wish he’d followed more closely. Carpinteri, an engineering researcher in Turin, Italy, who is notorious for his claims that the debunked Shroud of Turin is as old as Jesus, and other dubious theories, recently lost a paper in Journal of Statistical Mechanics: Theory and Experiment. The reason? It contained verbatim passages from an earlier study of his that appeared in a different journal. Although the journal’s decision to retract the paper angered Carpinteri’s co-authors, Carpinteri himself must be used to the experience by now. After all, he’d already had 11 other articles retracted from the journal Meccanica, a publication he used to edit.

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