Geombinatorics XVI(3), 2007, 293-296


The Case of Dr. Danut Marcu: Serial Plagiarism and Signing False Statements
by Alexander Soifer
Editor, Geombinatorics
Princeton University, Mathematics, Fine Hall, Princeton, NJ 08544

On December 2, 2006 my attention has been brought to one of Geombinatorics' authors, who is described in Wikipedia as follows:  

Danut Marcu ... claims to have authored 378 scientific papers. Marcu is frequently accused of plagiarism. The editors of Studia Universitatis Babes-Bolyai, Informatica decided to ban Marcu from their journal for this reason, as did the editors of 4OR: A Quarterly Journal of Operations Research [Springer]. The editors of Geometriae Dedicata state that they suspect Marcu of plagiarism, as he submitted a manuscript which is "more-or-less word for word the same" as a paper by Lindström. Grossman, Kageyama, Pettet, and anonymous reviewers have accused Marcu of plagiarism in MathSciNet reviews.

While Wikipedia is a source of "soft" information, in this case it grounded its assessment in hard facts found in MathSciNet Reviews MR2192785, MR2097141, MR2060125, MR2031651, MR2031645, MR2024191, MR1961850, and MR1899818 by Prof. Jerrold W. Grossman,  Oakland University, Rochester, Minnesota; MathSciNet Review MR1666961 by Prof. Sanpei Kageyama, Hiroshima University, Japan; MathSciNet Review MR1795035 by Prof. Martin R. Pettet, University of Toledo, Ohio; and MathSciNet Reviews MR1856038, MR1739530, MR1427830 and MR1324075 by unidentified reviewers.

On behalf of Geombinatorics' Editorial Board I offered Dr. Marcu an opportunity to rebut the above accusations before I research his submissions and make a decision. Following is his December 6, 2006 reply in its entirety:

Dear Professor Soifer:


I consider that this very strong attack against me has an answer related to my 10th position in 'The Graph Theory White Pages'. For me, nothing is not new [sic], since years ago these stupid and ridiculous attacks began. If you will consult the following addresses, perhaps, you will understand:

http://profiles.yahoo.com/drmarcu

http://www1.cs.columbia.edu/~sanders/graphtheory/people/Marcu.D.html

Anyway, you decide whatever. I would greately appreciate receiving an answer from you, concerning my papers submitted to GEOMBINATORICS.

Yours faithfully,

Danut Marcu In reply to my inquiry, Prof. Daniel P. Sanders, the owner of "The Graph Theory White Pages," wrote: The ranking that Marcu appears 10th on is Most Articles / Authors. See http://www1.cs.columbia.edu/~sanders/graphtheory/people/ppper.html(This is a bit outdated, I apologize.) This is an objective statement.  This would imply that he writes a lot of short articles of which he is the only author.  I know nothing of whether the work is original.  One would have to trust the journals' editors.  I am not familiar with the journals that he publishes in, so I cannot say anything there either. To sum up, I just let the computer count various things, and I have no opinion one way or the other of Marcu.  There are definitely graph theorists who believe that he has never published anything original, but they may be exaggerating.On his website, Dr. Marcu claims that he is an "active member of the New York Academy of Sciences, since 1997." Dr. Ellis Rubinstein, President and C.E.O. of The New York Academy of Sciences, replied to my inquiry as follows: A review of our records indicates that he is not an active member and has not been a member for more than 5 years. I have found Dr. Marcu's answer bold in font and tone, but not in substance. His non-membership in the New York Academy did not help, and his "10th position in 'The Graph Theory White Pages'" was utterly irrelevant. I therefore opened an investigation of Dr. Marcu's submissions to Geombinatorics. Started in late 2003, his submissions were all short (1-3 pages), good enough and obscure enough for our distinguished referee to approve them. As a result, 4 short notes have been published. Let us look, at each of them, plus a manuscript that has just been submitted.

1) On Colouring Finite Planes of Odd Order, Geombinatorics, XIII (3), 2004, 139-140.  Marcu nearly word-for-word repeats Csima, J., Colouring finite planes of odd order, Discrete Math. 49 (1984), no. 3, 309.

2) A Result in the Projective Plane, Geombinatorics XIII(4), 2004, 178-179. Marcu nearly word-for-word repeats Problem P 77 by Leo Moser and its Solution by Branko Grünbaum, from Problems Section, Canadian Mathematical Bulletin 7 (1964) 477-478.

3) A Note on the Triangles in Graphs, Geombinatorics XIV(1), 2004, 18-20. Marcu nearly word-for-word repeats Harary, F., and Melter, R., The graphs with no equilateral triangles, The Mathematics Student (a quarterly dedicated to the service of students and teachers of mathematics in India) XLIII(4), 1975, 425-427. Marcu may have been helped when in his homeland, Romania, this article was reprinted as Harary, F., and Melter, R., The graphs with no equilateral triangles, Gazeta Mathematica (Romania) 3(1982), 182-183.

4) A Note on the Rooted Loopless Planar Maps, Geombinatorics XVI(2), 2006, 266-269. Marcu nearly word-for-word repeats Bender, Edward A., and Wormald, Nicholas C., The number of loopless planar maps, Discrete Math. 54(2), 1985, 235-237.

5) Dr. Marcu has just submitted A Combinatorial Problem on a Match Stick. This submission repeats, almost word-for-word Problem 787, proposed by T. L. Kaczynski and both solutions, by Richard A. Gibbs and by Richard L. Breisch (pp. 294-296) from Problems and Solutions section of Mathematics Magazine 44(5), 1971. Summing up, I have no doubt whatsoever that all 4 of Marcu's publications have been lifted from the cited above works of others, as was his new submission. Dr. Marcu did not just plagiarize all ideas, all results and all proofs - he has stolen it all: style, regional spelling, and bibliography of the plagiarized works. Dr. Marcu changed so little in the papers he appropriated that his process of writing reminds me that of a vacuum cleaner indiscriminately sucking everything in, and that of a copy machine mechanically printing everything out. If being an author of a few hundred articles was Dr. Marcu's goal, he has achieved it, but by fraudulent means. This shortcut to fame cannot withstand the test of time.

In addition to plagiarism, Dr. Marcu has committed 5 counts of knowingly signing false statements: in copyright forms submitted to us he stated that his manuscripts "contain no material the publication of which would violate any copyright or other personal or proprietary right of any other person or entity," an obvious lie, for he lifted complete works protected by copyrights.

I thank Prof. Igor Pak of MIT and Prof. Jerrold W. Grossman of Oakland University for their assistance. There will never be another Marcu's publication in Geombinatorics, he is hereby banned from submitting anything to us. I hope all other journals, publishers, editors, referees, reviewers, professional organizations, academies and web sites will follow us in imposing similar bans. My sincere apologies go to the authors and publications referenced above, who fell victim to this busy serial plagiarist.

As far as Geombinatorics is concerned, the case of Dr. Danut Marcu is hereby closed.