Monday, December 27, 2021

Romanian researchers want retractions of Elena Ceaușescu's papers

Via The Guardian, I learned that Elena Ceaușescu had chemistry monographs ghostwritten for her: 

Romanian researchers have called on academic publishers to remove Elena Ceaușescu’s name from almost two dozen scientific papers and books fraudulently published as her work, more than 30 years after the wife of the former communist dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu was executed.

Elena Ceaușescu was celebrated by state propaganda under her husband’s regime as a world-famous chemistry researcher, despite having no credible qualifications. The researchers say some of her work is still being cited and accessed, even though she was barely literate in science and unable to recognise basic formulas taught to first-year chemistry students.

They also want Ceaușescu’s honorary titles, awards and PhD to be revoked, and for institutions that honoured her – including the UK’s Royal Society of Chemistry and the Polytechnic of Central London (now the University of Westminster) – to withdraw recognition and acknowledge that her scientific career was bogus. Her PhD was never retracted in Romania, even though it was widely known she did not write it...

...“Her international fame was supported by forcing Romanian chemists to write papers, some of which were published in international journals, as well as a book that was translated in English and published by Pergamon Press, a widely known British academic publisher,” Isloi says.

That book – based on Ceaușescu’s PhD – was published by Pergamon under the title Stereospecific Polymerization of Isoprene and carries a foreword by the Nobel prize-winning British chemist Dorothy Hodgkin, who wrote: “I am not equipped myself with enough technical knowledge of the field of this work to give a critical scientific evaluation of its contents.

“But even a necessarily brief reading makes one think that the field of research surveyed by the author is vast and recent.”

There's a polite non-endorsement if there ever was one. 

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