Saturday, October 31, 2015

Nanotechnology will revolutionize the food system (and other familiar sentences)

There appears to be a large literature using the same words to say that "nanotechnology" is an "enabling" technology that will "revolutionize the food system".

A 2008 book by Ajit Kumar Roy and Niranjan Sarangi says:
Nanotechnology, as a new enabling technology, has the potential to revolutionize agriculture and food systems....
The first sentence of Norman Scott's chapter in a 2006 book says:
Nanotechnology, as a new enabling technology, has the potential to revolutionize agriculture and food systems in the United States and the World.
The second sentence of a chapter by B. Singh, S. K. Gautam, M. S. Chauhan, and S. K. Singla in a 2005 book says:
Nanotechnology is an enabling technology that has the potential to revolutionize agriculture and food systems.
In a 2012 book, M.E. Popa and A. Popa write:
As an enabling technology, nanotechnology has vast potential to revolutionize agriculture and food systems.
A twist on the typical wording is the idiosyncratic use of the word "enable" instead of "enabling." The first sentence of the abstract for a 2010 article by Q. Huang, H. Yu, and Q. Ru in Journal of Food Science is:
Nanotechnology is an enable technology that has the potential to revolutionize agriculture and food systems.
And that was presumably the source for the first sentence of the abstract for a new 2015 article in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, by Harleen Kour, Anisa Malik, Naseer Ahmad, Towseef Wani, Raj Kaul, and Anju Bhat.
Nanotechnology is an enable technology that has the potential to revolutionize agriculture and food systems.
Before we judge too harshly, I should acknowledge that I make little effort to develop novel language for routine background information. It would not shock me if a sentence akin to the following appeared in more than one publication: "The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the nation's leading anti-hunger program and an important part of the social safety net." But that is a different issue from reusing language for the main point of an article.

The final sentence of the abstract of the 2015 Kour et al. article in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition is:
In fact, nanotechnology introduces new chances for innovation in the food industry at immense speed, but uncertainty and health concerns are also emerging.
This is the same as the abstract for a 2010 article by Sekhon in Nanotechnology Science Applications:
In fact, nanotechnology introduces new chances for innovation in the food industry at immense speed, but uncertainty and health concerns are also emerging.
For the 2015 Kour et al. article in particular, the indebtedness has risen sufficiently high that the good journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition should probably look into the similarities.

More generally, does there seem to be too large a literature parroting the same not-too-skeptical claims about nanotechnology?

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Unquestionably rampant plagiarism is afoot here! Whenever any one word, like "enabling" is re-written there must be solid ground for an investigation. No doubt a nefarious conspiracy lurks behind this scandal.

None of this would be necessary, of course, if those silly authors had parroted the appropriate talking points, to wit: 'nanotechology is a new disabling technology and we're all going to die!'

Oh, and it goes without saying they also would need to heavily salt each paragraph with the fraternal password "sustainability".

Parke Wilde said...

Thanks for your comment, anonymous. You keep me humble. Without pre-judging, let us see whether the journal feels this is routine reuse of a common word such as "enabling."

Bill said...

If you "Google" the first sentence from almost any paper from a certain country that begins with C, you will probably get multiple matches...

Anonymous said...

Hey Bill! Stop dissing scientists in the Cameroon!

Parke Wilde said...

That's so funny, anonymous. I had assumed his comment was about Canada.