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Chemist under scrutiny resigns from Australian university

Navid Rabiee’s departure follows questions about new journal he edits

by Dalmeet Singh Chawla, special to C&EN
May 8, 2024

A photo of a university campus.
Credit: Michael Lewi/Wikimedia Commons
Navid Rabiee has resigned from Murdoch University, shown here.

Chemist Navid Rabiee resigned from his position at Murdoch University at the end of April amid questions about several of his studies and a new journal he is associated with.

It’s unclear why Rabiee resigned from the university, but he is also the editor-in-chief of Green Biomaterials, a chemistry journal recently launched by the publisher Taylor & Francis. On April 30, C&EN reported that Green Biomaterials had come under scrutiny from critics online, who noted that almost all the journal’s editorial board members have several of their studies flagged on PubPeer, a site where scientists discuss papers.

Being flagged on PubPeer often, but not always, means the integrity of the work is in question. Thirty-one of Rabiee’s studies are flagged on PubPeer for various reasons, including reporting unlikely results; having questionable references, often to retracted studies; and including excessive self-citations.

Now, a Murdoch University spokesperson tells C&EN that Rabiee has handed in his resignation. “As he is no longer an employee, references to Dr Rabiee were removed from the University’s website as is standard practice,” the spokesperson says in an email. “The University cannot comment on matters relating to an individual but will always act to ensure the highest standard of responsible research conduct and academic integrity is maintained.”

Meanwhile, a second Australian institution, Macquarie University, where Rabiee held an honorary position until February, has launched an assessment of his work. “An assessment is underway concerning several alleged issues raised about research published while he was affiliated with the University,” a spokesperson for Macquarie says in an email. “If required upon the completion of the process, appropriate action will be taken under the Macquarie University Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.”

In a paper published in May by the International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, Rabiee is also listed as being affiliated with India’s Saveetha University.

On April 24, a spokesperson for Taylor & Francis told C&EN the firm was investigating “allegations of misconduct” involving research by Rabiee and the editorial board members of Green Biomaterials. Responding to a new query, the spokesperson says Taylor & Francis doesn’t currently have anything to add.

Rabiee earlier told C&EN that the journals where his work was published have cleared him of any wrongdoing. “After a thorough investigation by field specialists, all accusations were found to be false, and my articles were upheld,” he wrote. “Now, the journals and publishers are aware of the falsity of these accusations, so no matter how many false comments are made, it is not worth addressing.”


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