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Subject: Fraud and peer review

Fraud and peer review

From: William Meacham <wmeacham>
Date: Thursday, September 6, 2007
Fraudulent publication on textile conservation

List members may be interested in an article I have just published
in the current issue (Volume 81  Number 313  Pages 779-783) of
Antiquity, Britain's premier archaeological journal. The article is
entitled "The Amazing Dr Kouznetsov" and describes his quite
incredible 3-stage career as an academic con artist.

The final and most blatant fraud was perpetrated on the journal
Studies in Conservation published by the International Institute for
Conservation in London. Kouznetsov, a Russian biochemist, had the
audacity to simply invent a series of archaeological textile samples
from Ireland (of all places!), and his article in Studies described
testing that he claimed to have done on these samples. Anyone
knowledgeable in Irish archaeology would have instantly known that
the samples were bogus, but the journal did no checking and
published the article in 2000 (number 45 pages 117-126). Worse, when
informed of the fraud by officials in the National Museum of
Ireland, the journal adopted the rather unsatisfactory conservation
measure of sweeping the matter under the carpet. No correction or
retraction was ever published.

Earlier articles by Kouznetsov with fraudulent content were
published in 1995 and 1996 in Journal of Archaeological Science
and Textile Research Journal.

William Meacham
Honorary Research Fellow
Centre of Asian Studies
University of Hong Kong


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