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Unsubstantiated claims from Basra Reed Warbler study

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Old Saturday 25th April 2015, 16:48   #1
MJB
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Unsubstantiated claims from Basra Reed Warbler study

The most clicked subject on the OSME website is this:

http://www.osme.org/content/unsubsta...alus-griseldis
MJB
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Old Friday 8th May 2015, 09:43   #2
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Sadly, the first author of the original paper being discussed (and heavily challenged), Omar Al-Sheikhly, is known to have fabricated data before now:

"Omar Fadhil Al-Sheikhly, Iyad A. Nader, Nasrullah Rastegar-Pouyani & Robert K. Browne. New localities of the Kurdistan newt Neurergus microspilotus and Lake Urmia newt Neurergus crocatus (Caudata: Salamandridae) in Iraq Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 6(4): 42–49. SPECIAL NOTE: Paper "retracted" from publication [Date: August 2013]."
See http://amphibian-reptile-conservatio..._retracted.pdf

See also: http://scholarlyoa.com/2015/05/05/tw...ot-legitimate/ (you need to scroll well down the page)

Unfortunately, those responsible for the publication of the Basra Reed Warbler paper appear to value truth in science less than some other journal publishers.

You can also see another challenge to the fanciful claims made in the Basra Reed Warber paper here: https://pubpeer.com/publications/CBD...BA69E7#fb28443
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Old Friday 8th May 2015, 09:57   #3
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What are the consequences of this alleged fabrication?

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Old Friday 8th May 2015, 16:27   #4
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Originally Posted by peter.jones View Post
What are the consequences of this alleged fabrication?

Peter
Worldwide and for conservation, anything that drives a coach and horses through the scientific method and the trustworthiness of science is a gift to the anti-conservation movements of the world: developers and the hunting lobby for starters.

If true, this would be absolutely deplorable.

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Old Friday 8th May 2015, 17:05   #5
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Quite right. I was thinking more locally.. does the author have an obvious ulterior motive, or gain from painting an inaccurate picture?
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Old Friday 8th May 2015, 17:33   #6
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Originally Posted by peter.jones View Post
Quite right. I was thinking more locally.. does the author have an obvious ulterior motive, or gain from painting an inaccurate picture?
I'm guessing, since this is not the first time doubts have been raised, that the author desires the academic kudos he perceives is attached to publishing research in peer-reviewed journals.

Nobody gains from the painting of a picture that is determined to be inaccurate or false. History however is littered with examples of inaccurate or false pictures that people have attempted to pass off as real for personal or monetary credit.

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Old Friday 8th July 2016, 16:54   #7
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Dear all,

A report of a thorough investigation into the serious allegations of fabricated and/or falsified data in the two papers on the breeding biology of the Basra Reed Warbler in the journal 'Zoology in the Middle East' (Al-Sheikhly et al. 2013, 2015) has been released on 1 July 2016.

The investigation was focused on:
(a) getting access to raw research data reportedly collected in the years 2006 and 2007 and reportedly collected for the statement “males are often polygynous (42.9%, n= 317 observed males)”;
(b) getting reviews from experts about the allegations;
(c) getting responses from the authors and their affiliations on preliminary versions of the investigation;
(d): getting a good picture of the role of the three authors and their affiliations.

The main findings of the investigation are:
(a) the set of raw research data is unavailable. The first author refuses to release them, the last author and his affiliation have never properly responded on requests to release them. The data are also not in the possession of Taylor & Francis, the publisher, and Max Kasparek, the Editor-in-Chief of the journal;
(b) all responses from the first and the last author and from the affiliation of the last author are invalid and/or insufficient and/or unsatisfactory;
(c) lots of experts, including members of the editoral board of the journal, support the views of several organisations and of a large amount of ornithologists and others that the papers contain fabricated and/or falsified data;
(d) we were unable to find experts who endorse the views of the first and of the last author that their papers are based on solid scientific data;
(e) we were unable to locate a university in Saudi Arabia who had endorsed this study;
(f) there is no conclusive evidence about an involvement of the second author, there is no conclusive evidence of an endorsement by the affiliation of the first author.

The investigation has determined that there is a preponderance of evidence that the allegations of fabricated and/or falsified data in Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) are founded. Both publications must thus be retracted to correct the scientific record. The report is since 1 July 2016 in the possession of the publisher and the EiC of the journal. We have asked them to sent us in due time a point-by-point rebuttal (of an expert with a name and contact details in case we want to have a scientific dialogue with this expert) in case they disagree with (one or more items of) the report. A formal 'Expression of Concern' has been published on 5 July 2016: "We have been informed of a question of the reliability and validity of the data reported in the above work. We note that the data described in this article have not been independently verified, and we recommend that readers take this into account when reading the paper or performing further work based on this study.”

It seems that this Expression of Concern is a direct result of the recent release of the report. The report is not confidential. Please contact me if you would like to get a copy.

Please distribute widely. See http://www.osme.org/content/basra-reed-warbler-update for backgrounds. We are always willing to have a scientific dialogue with anyone who is not endorsing the conclusion of this investigation. We invite all opponents to join the debate at https://pubpeer.com/publications/CBD...B659B631BA69E7

Klaas
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Old Tuesday 19th July 2016, 10:05   #8
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Dear all,

See below for a slightly redacted email about this topic which was sent on 15 July 2016 to publisher Taylor & Francis.

Quote:
From: Klaas van Dijk; To Deborah Kahn; Cc: Max Kasparek; Sent: Friday, July 15, 2016 12:38 PM; Subject: Basra Reed Warbler papers in TandF journal ZME: an urgent request to sent us a formal retraction note.

Dear Ms Kahn,

We would like to thank you very much for your email of 16 June 2016 in which you confirm that the requested set of raw research data of a paper in a TandF journal on the breeding biology of the Basra Reed Warbler is not available (RE: our email to Dr. Kasparek, the EiC of ZME, dated 21 June 2015, also sent in cc to members of the staff of Taylor & Francis).

We also would like to thank you very much for your quick initial response on the outcome of our final investigation on the allegations of fabricated and/or falsified data in Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015). This report was sent on 1 July 2016 to four members of the staff of Taylor & Francis (Ian Bannerman, Richard Goodman, Ashlynne Merrifield and Richard Steele), to Dr. Kasparek and to some members of the Editorial Board of ZME, and to other interested parties. (The report is not confidential).

Your initial response was the publication of an "Expression of Concern" on 5 July 2016. The core of your response is: “We have been informed of a question of the reliability and validity of the data reported in the above work. We note that the data described in this article have not been independently verified, and we recommend that readers take this into account when reading the paper or performing further work based on this study.”

Our report states that you (publisher Taylor & Francis and EiC Max Kasparek) have a limited amount of time (5 days) to provide us with a point-by-point rebuttal of an expert (an expert with a name and contact details in case we want to have a scientific dialogue with this expert).

It is right now 15 July 2016. We have not received such a point-by-point letter. We have not received another response from you. We have thus concluded that all at Taylor & Francis, in the widest possible sense, endorse the conclusion of the final investigation that Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) contains fabricated and/or falsified data and that therefore Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) must be retracted. A point-by-point rebuttal was not received from Dr. Kasparek. Another response was not received from Dr. Kasparek. (Also others have not provided us with opinions / statements (of experts) with opposing views). We have thus concluded that Dr. Kasparek endorses the conclusion of the final investigation that Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) contains fabricated and/or falsified data and that Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) must be retracted.

We therefore urge you to ensure that we get in due time, (a) a formal letter from the responsible Managing Editor (see attachment for an example) in which it is stated that Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) will be retracted, or (b) an e-mail from Dr. Kasparek with a similar statement.

We reiterate that we are always working within the framework of the VSNU "The Netherlands Code of Conduct for Academic Practice". The details can be found at http://www.rug.nl/about-us/organizat...ning-14-en.pdf and at http://www.rug.nl/about-us/organizat...teit-12-en.pdf (item 10 of the Preamble of the Code links both documents with each other).

(...). Best wishes, Klaas van Dijk

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Old Saturday 23rd July 2016, 11:03   #9
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Dear all,

I would like to reiterate that we received on 16 June 2016 a formal response from Taylor & Francis on a request of 21 June 2015 to them to give us accces to the raw research data of Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015). See https://pubpeer.com/publications/CBD...BA69E7#fb31538 for an overview of the requested set of raw research data.

Deborah Kahn, publishing director, STM journals, told us on that day:
Quote:
Like the majority of scientific journals, this one does not compel the author to provide the raw data of the research to anyone. We will not be responding to your request to provide you with this.
Our request of 21 June 2015 was a follow-up on an email of 15 June 2015 from the first author in which he told us that he refused to give us access to the raw research data. (Also Dr. Barbanera and the University of Pisa were unwilling to provide us this set of raw research data).

I fail to understand why we needed to wait 361 days to get this response from publisher Taylor & Francis (There was never a response from EiC Dr. Kasparek). Several reminders had been sent to several people at TF about this issue. These reminders only yielded auto-replies (or no response at all). Deborah Kahn also stated in the email of 16 June 2016:
Quote:
no-one in this organisation will respond further to your emails.
It is therefore very unfortunate that we will not get a response on a query which individuals (employees of publisher Taylor & Francis, and/or Dr. Kasparek, the EiC of the journal ZME, and/or other members of the Editorial Board of ZME, and/or other experts / specialists / ornithologists which have been approached by the publisher and/or by Dr. Kasparek) have examined / seen (parts of) the raw research data of Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015). It seems however plausible that no one of these individuals has seen / examined (parts) of the raw research of Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015).

The quote “no-one in this organisation will respond further to your emails” seems to imply that Deborah Kahn will also not respond on my e-mail of 15 July 2016. It is therefore very likely that we will need to wait at least another 361 days on a follow-up from the side of publisher Taylor & Francis. This is of course very unfavorable for the group of ornithologists who share the view of for example Guy Kirwan (comment #2, posted 8 May 2015, 10:43):
Quote:
Unfortunately, those responsible for the publication of the Basra Reed Warbler paper appear to value truth in science less than some other journal publishers.
Guy Kirwan is editor of the BOC Bulletin (The Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club) and also one of the 14 authors of http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/...0.2015.1023424


My email of 15 July 2016 to Deborah Kahn with an urgent request to sent us a formal retraction note was therefore also sent to some other employees of publisher Taylor & Francis. Three auto-replies indicate that this request was received in good order.

1. “From: Barbara Costello; To: Klaas van Dijk; Sent: Friday, July 15, 2016 12:40 PM; Subject: Automatic reply: Basra Reed Warbler papers in TandF journal ZME: an urgent request to sent us a formal retraction note. Thank you for your email. I have left for the day, back in the office Tuesday 19th July, I will respond to your email on my return. Please note my working hours are Monday-Thursday, 9am to 2pm.

2. “From: Ailsa Marks; To: Klaas van Dijk; Sent: Friday, July 15, 2016 12:40 PM; Subject: Automatic reply: Basra Reed Warbler papers in TandF journal ZME: an urgent request to sent us a formal retraction note. Thank you for your email, I am out of the office attending conferences between 6th July to 22nd July, with intermittent access to emails. During the period 11th – 15th July I will be on annual leave with no access to emails. If you have an urgent query or need further assistance please contact Helen Brown on [redacted].”

3. “From: Ashlynne Merrifield; To: Klaas van Dijk; Sent: Friday, July 15, 2016 12:40 PM; Subject: Automatic reply: Basra Reed Warbler papers in TandF journal ZME: an urgent request to sent us a formal retraction note. Many thanks for your email. I am currently out of the office with no access to email. I will get back to you as soon as possible when I return to the office on Monday 18th July. Best wishes, Ashlynne.

The name Barbara Costello was derived from an auto-reply of Deborah Kahn: “From: Deborah Kahn; To: Klaas van Dijk; Sent: Saturday, May 28, 2016 10:41 AM; Subject: Automatic reply: (...). Thank you for your email. I am away on leave until 31st May and will not be checking email regularly. I will respond on my return. If your message is urgent, please contact Barbara Costello [redacted] who will direct it to someone who can respond.” The name Ailsa Marks was derived from an email from the EiC of the journal, Dr. Max Kasparek: “From: Max Kasparek; To: Klaas van Dijk; Cc: Ailsa Marks; Sent: Wednesday, May 06, 2015 6:40 PM; Subject: AW: serious concerns on the credibility of data on Basra Reed Warblers in two recent ZME papers.” The name Ashlynne Merrifield was also derived from an email of Dr. Kasparek: “From: Max Kasparek; To: Richard Porter; Cc: Ashlynne Merrifield; Date: 19 February 2016 at 10:04:23 GMT; Subject: Basra Reed Warbler”.

Readers of this thread who also hold the opinion that Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) must be retracted (= eradicated from the body of scientific knowledge) can of course always contact EiC Dr. Max Kasparek (email = kasparek AT t-online.de ) and/or members of the staff of publisher Taylor & Francis (email = firstname DOT lastname AT tandf.co.uk ).

Klaas

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Old Friday 29th July 2016, 13:56   #10
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Dear all,

The two faulty papers on the Basra Reed Warbler Acrocephalus griseldis in the Taylor & Francis journal ZME (Al-Sheikhly et al. 2013, 2015) are still not yet retracted.

We have also not received a follow-up on our email of 15 July 2016 to Ms Deborah Kahn, the publishing director STM journals at publisher Taylor & Francis. We have therefore sent Ms Kahn today a reminder in which we urge her once again to ensure that Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) will get retracted in due time. This e-mail of today yielded once again auto-replies from members of the staff of publisher Taylor & Francis. These auto-replies show that our reminder of today was received by publisher Taylor & Francis in good order.

Please distribute widely to others the contents of this thread and please don't hesitiate to contact Ms Kahn ( deborah.kahn AT tandf.co.uk ) when you share the opinion of a large bunch of concerned ornithologists, birdwatchers and conservationalists that Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) must immediately be retracted (= eradicated from the body of scientific knowledge).

Please don't hesitate to contact me when you have queries and/or when you would like to get more background information.

Klaas
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Old Sunday 7th August 2016, 11:12   #11
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Dear all,

The two faulty papers on the Basra Reed Warbler Acrocephalus griseldis in the Taylor & Francis journal ZME (Al-Sheikhly et al. 2013, 2015) are still not retracted.

There is also not yet a follow-up on our emails of 15 July 2016 and 29 July 2016 to Ms Deborah Kahn, the publishing director STM journals. Several auto-replies from members of the staff of publisher Taylor & Francis show that both emails were received in good order.

This non-response is worrisome. Please distribute widely to others the contents of this thread and please don't hesitiate to contact Ms Kahn ( deborah.kahn AT tandf.co.uk ) when you share the opinion of a large bunch of concerned ornithologists, birdwatchers and conservationalists that Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) contain fabricated and/or falsified data and that both papers therefore must be retracted (= eradicated from the body of scientific knowledge) immediately.

Please don't hesitate to contact me when you have queries and/or when you would like to get more background information.

Klaas

PS: See below for a slightly redacted version of our email of 29 July 2016.

Quote:
From: Klaas van Dijk; To: Deborah Kahn; Sent: Friday, July 29, 2016 1:17 PM;

Dear Ms Kahn,

The auto-replies from members of the staff of publisher Taylor & Francis on our email of 15 July 2016 have been received in good order.

Both papers are until now not retracted ( http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/tzme20/59/2 ) and we have not yet received, (a) a formal letter from the responsible Managing Editor in which is stated that Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) will be retracted, or (b) an e-mail from Dr. Kasparek with a similar statement. We have also not received other messages from ZME and/or TandF.

We are therefore sending you a reminder and we once again urge you to ensure that we get these documents in due time. (....).


We are aware that publishers of peer reviewed journals are used to work with 'tacit approval within a limited amount of time'. We propose that this is also the case with our contacts about both papers of Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) with all at TandF, in the widest possible sense.

1. Please inform us therefore before the end of Monday 1 August 2016 (5PM, London time) in case there are objections from TandF that we are correct by stating that all at TandF, in the widest possible sense, fully endorse the conclusion of the Final Investigation that Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) contains fabricated and/or falsified data and that therefore Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) must be retracted.

2. Please provide us therefore before the end of Monday 1 August 2016 (5PM, London time) with names and contact details of experts / specialists from the side of TandF and/or ZME, and/or members of the Editorial Board of ZME (including EiC Dr. Kasparek), and/or members of the staff of TandF, in the widest possible sense (including former members of the staff of TandF), who have seen / vetted / validated / verified / scrutinized (parts of) the raw research data of Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013).

No response before Monday 1 August 2016 (5PM, London time) implies that, (a) not a single (former) member of the staff of publisher TandF, and/or (b) not a single member of the Editorial Board of ZME, and/or (c) not a single expert / specialist from the side of TandF and/or ZME, has seen / vetted / validated / verified / scrutinized (parts of) the raw research data of Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013). (....).

Please ensure that we get in due time, (a) a formal letter from the responsible Managing Editor in which is stated that Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) will be retracted, or (b) an e-mail from Dr. Kasparek with a similar statement.

Klaas van Dijk / Groningen / The Netherlands

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Old Sunday 28th August 2016, 15:00   #12
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Dear all,

The two faulty papers on the breeding biology of the Basra Reed Warbler Acrocephalus griseldis are still not yet retracted and we have also not yet received a formal letter from the responsible Managing Editor in which is stated that Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) will be retracted and/or an e-mail from Dr. Kasparek, the EiC of ZME, with a similar statement.

In the meanwhile, several reminders have been sent to publisher Taylor & Francis. Until now without a follow-up. So today a formal complaint has been filed to Roger Horton, CEO of publisher Taylor & Francis, against Ms Deborah Kahn, publishing director STM journals, about her serious attempts to cover up a 100% clear case of scientific misconduct.

The contents of this formal complaint is not confidential and it was thus also sent in cc to other stakeholders, to other members of the staff of TandF (and to Ms Kahn). Auto-replies from several members of the staff of publisher TandF were received. So this formal complaint against Ms Deborah Kahn was received in good order by the server of publisher TandF.

Please distribute widely the contents of this thread and please don't hesitiate to contact me when you have queries and/or when you would like to get more background information.

Klaas
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Old Tuesday 30th August 2016, 15:58   #13
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Re the Basra Reed Warbler affair, Bird Forum readers might be interested to know that the Comment by Porter et al 2015 on the science in the Basra Reed Warbler paper (Al-Sheikhly et al. 2013), and published by Zoology in the Middle East (in Taylor & Francis online) is one of their most-read articles with over 1,500 hits and an Altmetric score of 11:

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/...0.2015.1023424

Also the recently posted Expression of Concern, (also Taylor & Francis online) about the paper is becoming widely read and has an Altmetric score of 7:

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/...389?src=recsys

There is clearly a lot of interest – and concern – about Al-Sheikhly et al 2013.
MJB
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Old Tuesday 30th August 2016, 19:08   #14
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Just as an aside, I looked on the website of a learned society well away from birds a few days ago, they have been publishing books and papers for about 150+ years that are issued to members and some offered for sale.Their publisher has changed from time to time and is currently Routledge who have recently been taken over by Taylor and Francis. The website made no secret that they were experiencing some problems with their book stock since takeover.........Perhaps the problem is wider.
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Old Monday 17th April 2017, 14:20   #15
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A new comment about this issue has recently been published as 'letter to the editor' in issue 1 of volume 39 of Sandgrouse, the journal of OSME.

Teixeira da Silva J.A. 2017. The Basra Reed Warbler saga: where is the original data? Sandgrouse 39 (1): 89. ( http://www.osme.org/content/sandgrouse-39-1 ).

Copy/pasted from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/309987416 :

"The Basra Reed Warbler saga: where is the original data?

Richard Porter et al (2015a, b) raised concerns about the validity of data, and subsequent conclusions, in Al-Sheikhly et al (2013), all published in Zoology in the Middle East (a ‘Taylor & Francis’ journal). Wider public criticisms and concerns emerged on blogs such as PubPeer and the OSME website. Concerns were also expressed in British Birds (6 May 2015, ‘News and comment’), referring to the case as ‘BasraReedWarblergate’ and “An intriguing case of what appears to be modern-day ornithological fraud…” The formal concerns were reiterated by Kennerley et al (2015). Despite a commitment by Taylor & Francis to resolve the issues with this paper and investigate the complaints by application to the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), interested and concerned parties, some of whom have called publicly on the retraction of this paper; have still not been able to access the raw data. Given the serious concerns raised about the ground-breaking findings of this research, it is somewhat surprising the authors have not been willing to provide their data for further scientific scrutiny. Similarly, it is somewhat disappointing that neither Taylor & Francis nor COPE have been able to verify that the data exists and is of sufficient quality for the conclusions reached to be declared scientifically sound. The question remains, where is the original data?

I wish to thank Klaas van Dijk for comments on an earlier version of this letter.

Jaime A Teixeira da Silva, PO Box 7, Miki-cho PO, Ikenobe 3011-2, Kagawa-ken, 761-0799, Japan. [email protected]

LITERATURE CITED
Al-Sheikhly, OF, N Iyad & F Barbanera. 2013. Breeding ecology of the Basra Reed Warbler, Acrocephalus griseldis, in Iraq (Aves: Passeriformes: Acrocephalidae). Zoology in the Middle East 59(2): 107–117.
Kennerley, P, D Pearson & R Porter. 2015. Unsubstantiated claims concerning the breeding biology of the Basra Reed Warbler Acrocephalus griseldis. Sandgrouse 37(2): 211.
Porter, R, L Batten, J Burton, JM Collinson, P Cowan, P Kennerley, GM Kirwan, RG Newell, D Pearson, R Riddington, M Salim, R Sheldon, D Scott & M Woodcock. 2015a. Towards a better understanding of Basra Reed Warbler Acrocephalus griseldis (Aves: Passeriformes: Acrocephalidae) ecology? A comment on Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013). Zoology in the Middle East 61(2): 190–192.
Porter, R, L Batten, J Burton, JM Collinson, P Cowan, P Kennerley, GM Kirwan, RG Newell, D Pearson, R Riddington, M Salim, R Sheldon, D Scott & M Woodcock. 2015b. Rejoinder to the Response of Al-Sheikhly et al. Zoology in the Middle East 61(2): 200.
"

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Old Tuesday 25th April 2017, 10:38   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim48 View Post
Just as an aside, I looked on the website of a learned society well away from birds a few days ago, they have been publishing books and papers for about 150+ years that are issued to members and some offered for sale.Their publisher has changed from time to time and is currently Routledge who have recently been taken over by Taylor and Francis. The website made no secret that they were experiencing some problems with their book stock since takeover.........Perhaps the problem is wider.

Publisher Taylor & Francis is a member of OASP, the 'Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association'.

It is stated at http://oaspa.org/membership/membership-applications/ : "We look to the broader community to help us maintain and improve standards. Serious concerns about potential misconduct by one of our members can be submitted to the OASPA board according to the following procedure."

A formal complaint to OASPA against member Taylor & Francis was filed on 3 March 2017. "Dear OASPA, I am hereby filing a formal complaint to OASPA against one of your members, the publisher Taylor & Francis (TF), for the very persistent refusal of TF to retract two papers (Al-Sheikhly et al. 2013, 2015). Both papers contain fabricated and/or falsified data (see attachments). [.....] Please sent me a response in which the receipt of this e-mail is acknowledged and please contact me immediately in case there are errors and/or mistakes in my texts. We are looking forward to start with working together with OASPA to ensure that both fraudulent papers (Al-Sheikhly et al. 2013, 2015) in a journal of one of your members will be retracted ASAP. (...).".

A response from OASPA was received the same day. "From: Claire Redhead; To: Klaas van Dijk; Sent: Friday, March 03, 2017 5:08 PM; Subject: Re: Formal complaint to OASPA against member Taylor and Francis. Dear Klaas van Dijk, Thank you for your email. This is a lot of information to digest and will take me some time to go through. I will be in touch with you again by the end of next week. Sincerely, Claire -- Claire Redhead, Executive Director, Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association, OASPA".

A second response from OASPA was received the next week. "From: Claire Redhead; To: Klaas van Dijk; Sent: Friday, March 10, 2017 3:33 PM; Subject: Re: Formal complaint to OASPA against member Taylor and Francis. Dear Klaas van Dijk, I have now been through the information you sent through to me, however I am unable to open the attachments that contained emails. Please could you be kind enough to save the text as a pdf and send back to me? In accordance with our Member Investigation Procedure ( http://oaspa.org/membership/membership-applications/ ) I have informed OASPA's Membership Committee of your complaint. Please note that beyond my initial notification to Membership Committee that you have contacted OASPA and that you have raised a complaint against Taylor and Francis, as their employee Caroline Sutton will not be party to any discussions regarding this matter. As such I did not include Caroline Sutton when I shared the full details of the complaint and the supporting documentation with the Committee. The next step is for the remaining Committee Members to review the information sent by you. When I receive the email text from you I will pass that on to them also. I will endeavour to keep this process as timely as possible and will be in touch with you again when I have more news. Sincerely, Claire"

The remaining 5 Committee Members are listed at http://oaspa.org/about/oaspas-committees/ They are:
* Xenia van Edig (Copernicus Publications) Chair.
* Catriona MacCallum (PLOS, https://www.plos.org/ ).
* Mark Patterson (eLife, https://elifesciences.org/ ).
* Eelco Ferwerda (OAPEN Foundation).
* Claire Redhead (OASPA).

I have sent the next day an e-mail with 17 attachments (all of them a PDF) to OASPA. "From: Klaas van Dijk; To: Claire Redhead; Sent: Saturday, March 11, 2017 2:14 PM; Dear Claire, Thanks alot for your quick acknowledgment that OASPA had received my formal complaint against publisher Taylor & Francis in good order and thanks for your follow-up of yesterday. I also would like to thank you very much for the decision to inform the members of the OASPA's Membership Committee about my complaint. Please accept my apologies that I had sent you attachments in my initial e-mail in the form of e-mails (with attachments). It is no problem at all to make a PDF of these emails. Note that there is a vast amount of documentation. I have therefore decided to forward to OASPA only some of the more relevant documents. I have numbered all 17 attachments (#01 to #17) and I have arranged them in a chronological order (excluding #1, a PDF of my formal complaint to OASPA, dated 3 March 2017). Attachment #16 will soon be published in the next issue of the journal Sandgrouse ( http://www.osme.org/sandgrouse ). [.....] Please don't hesitate to contact me when you would like to get more background information. I reiterate that I am always willing to communicate with anyone about any part of the contents of this e-mail and/or about any part of the attachments. Please sent me a response in which the receipt of this e-mail is acknowledged and please contact me immediately in case there are errors and/or mistakes in my texts. Yours sincerely, Klaas van Dijk"

I received an acknowledgement on 13 March 2017. "From: Claire Redhead; To: Klaas van Dijk; Sent: Monday, March 13, 2017 11:33 AM; Dear Klaas, Thank you for the additional files and information which I can confirm as received by me. I will pass these on to the Membership Committee, excluding Caroline Sutton. I will provide you with an update in due course. Sincerely, Claire"

So Claire Redhead told in this e-mail of 13 March 2017 to pass all attachments, and thus also attachment #07 (The 'Final investigation on serious allegations of fabricated and/or falsified data in Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) - 1 July 2016') to Xenia van Edig of Copernicus Publications, to Catriona MacCallum of PLOS et al, to Mark Patterson of eLife and to Eelco Ferwerda of OAPEN Foundation.

I received on 5 April 2017 another e-mail from OASPA. "From: Claire Redhead; To: Klaas van Dijk; Sent: Wednesday, April 05, 2017 11:44 AM; Dear Klaas, We have now concluded our review of your complaint and the supporting documentation that you supplied. The decision to retract the paper lies with the publisher. Regards, Claire"

So Xenia van Edig of Copernicus Publications, Catriona MacCallum of PLOS et al, Mark Patterson of eLife, Eelco Ferwerda of OAPEN Foundation and Claire Redhead of OASPA do not rebut the main conclusion of the 'Final investigation on serious allegations of fabricated and/or falsified data in Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) - 1 July 2016' that the paper on the breeding biology of the Basra Reed Warber contains fabricated and/or falsified data.

I have therefore sent the next day an e-mail about this conclusion to Claire Redhead. "From: Klaas van Dijk To: Claire Redhead; Sent: Wednesday, April 05, 2017 1:12 PM; Dear Claire, Thanks alot for your e-mail of today, 5 April 2017, in which you inform me about the outcome of the review of my complaint which I had filed on 3 March 2017 to OASPA against member Taylor & Francis. I would like to tell you that I am very glad to read that "at least two members of the OASPA Board of Directors" have been unable to locate even a single mistake and/or error in my texts (which of course includes all 17 attachments). I also would like to tell you that I am also very glad that "at least two members of the OASPA Board of Directors" do not rebut that Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013), a paper in a Taylor & Francis journal, contains fabricated and/or falsified data. I have therefore concluded that "at least two members of the OASPA Board of Directors" agree with a large amount of conservationalists and ornithologists, and of course also with all 14 authors of http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/...0.2015.1023424, that Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013) contains fabricated and/or falsified data. (....). Please send me a response in which the receipt of this e-mail is acknowledged and please contact me immediately in case there are errors and/or mistakes in my texts. Yours sincerely, Klaas van Dijk"

I received the next day a response. "From: Claire Redhead; To: Klaas van Dijk; Sent: Wednesday, April 05, 2017 4:15 PM; Dear Klaas, I informed you in my email of March 10th that we would be following our Member Investigation Procedure. We completed stage 1 and this included presenting the case and the evidence to the full OASPA Board of Directors (excluding Caroline Sutton). The decision communicated to you this morning was therefore made by the full OASPA board (excluding Caroline Sutton). Under this process we will not be progressing to stage 2. Sincerely, Claire".

So even "the full OASPA board (excluding Caroline Sutton)" supports the main conclusion of the 'Final investigation on serious allegations of fabricated and/or falsified data in Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) - 1 July 2016' that the paper on the breeding biology of the Basra Reed Warber by Omar Al-Sheikhly contains fabricated and/or falsified data.

A list of members of the board of OASPA is mentioned on http://oaspa.org/about/board/ They are:
* Paul Peters of Hindawi Publishing Corporation, Chair
* Eelco Ferwerda of OAPEN Foundation, Secretary
* Rhodri Jackson of Oxford University Press, Treasurer
* Carrie Calder of Springer Nature
* Catriona MacCallum of PLOS
[Caroline Sutton of Taylor & Francis Group]
* Xenia van Edig of Copernicus Publications
* Mark Patterson of eLife
* Lars Bjřrnshauge of DOAJ
* Pete Binfield of PeerJ , https://peerj.com/

So all these people agree with all authors of Porter et al (2015a,b) that the paper on the breeding biology of the Basra Reed Warbler contains fabricated and/or falsified data. That's an excellent development, in particular when one looks to the backgrounds and the experiences of all these experts.
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Old Friday 28th April 2017, 18:07   #17
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jim48 wrote on Tuesday 30th August 2016, 20:08:
Quote:
Originally Posted by jim48 View Post
Just as an aside, I looked on the website of a learned society well away from birds a few days ago, they have been publishing books and papers for about 150+ years that are issued to members and some offered for sale.Their publisher has changed from time to time and is currently Routledge who have recently been taken over by Taylor and Francis. The website made no secret that they were experiencing some problems with their book stock since takeover.........Perhaps the problem is wider.
See http://retractionwatch.com/2017/04/2...ns-new-editor/ for a recent posting, posted 27 April 2017, about issues at the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health. This journal was taken over by publisher Taylor & Francis in 2015.
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Old Sunday 30th April 2017, 09:20   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Klaas van Dijk View Post
jim48 wrote on Tuesday 30th August 2016, 20:08:

See http://retractionwatch.com/2017/04/2...ns-new-editor/ for a recent posting, posted 27 April 2017, about issues at the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health. This journal was taken over by publisher Taylor & Francis in 2015.
If you look up Zoology in the Middle East/Taylor & Francis online publications, the original Porter et al letter of rebuttal and the T&F Expression of Concern continue to attract a lot of hits and are in the top five most read articles.....
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Old Sunday 30th April 2017, 21:40   #19
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The comment I came across related to backstock of publications of the Hakluyt Society, suggesting that problems were being encountered when ordering titles published by Routledge since they have been taken over by Taylor &
Francis. but not the earlier ones by C.U.P.. This comment was not found on the site when I quickly checked yesterday though a different procedure for ordering had been introduced. I suspect a more commercially aggressive stance is being taken by the publishers since the takeover.( I am not a member)
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Old Friday 5th May 2017, 18:10   #20
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See http://deevybee.blogspot.nl/2015/02/...ing-badly.html (published 24 February 2015) and
http://deevybee.blogspot.nl/2016/06/...-on-front.html (published 11 June 2016) for experiences of Dorothy Bishop https://www.psy.ox.ac.uk/team/dorothy-bishop with another journal which is currently published by Taylor & Francis (Developmental Neurorehabilitation http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/ipdr20 , also called DN in this blogposts).

Copy/pasted from http://deevybee.blogspot.nl/2016/06/...-on-front.html "Meanwhile, Developmental Neurorehabilitation changed publisher around the time I was writing, and is now under the care of Taylor and Francis. I wrote to the publisher explaining my concerns and received a polite reply, but then heard no more."
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Old Saturday 10th June 2017, 17:19   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MJB View Post
If you look up Zoology in the Middle East/Taylor & Francis online publications, the original Porter et al letter of rebuttal and the T&F Expression of Concern continue to attract a lot of hits and are in the top five most read articles.....MJB
This is a correct observation. The Porter et al. (2015) letter of rebuttal at http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/...0.2015.1023424 has at the moment 2246 views (the most read article has 2303 views).

-------------------------------------------------
Richard Porter wrote on 15 July 2015 an e-mail about this issue to COPE.

"From: Richard Porter; To: Iratxe Puebla; Cc: Klaas van Dijk; Sent: Wednesday, July 15, 2015 3:54 PM; Subject: Taylor & Francis and the COPE Code of Conduct for journal publishers

Dear Iratxe,
I thought it would be helpful to those members of COPE examining this matter to have this further input from me. I would personally be satisfied if Taylor & Francis were able to:
* Provide convincing evidence that the study in Al-Sheikhly (2013) was actually undertaken. In this respect the detailed background material I have provided about his ‘movements’, the quoted first draft (the ‘Susie Alwash’ paper) and evidence of his previous ‘form’ are important exhibits. It would also be useful, I feel, to consult Eden Again: Hope in the Marshes of Iraq (2013) by Suzanne Alwash. In this Al-Sheikhly (Omar) is extensively quoted, including on Basra Reed Warbler, but surprisingly makes no mention of the study: Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013).
* Make available a copy of the research data that was collected in the field for such a monumental and ground-breaking study. That is a very reasonable request that hitherto has been refused by the authors of the paper and the editor of Zoology in the Middle East.
* Demonstrate that it is possible to undertake such a highly detailed study of polygyny – essentially in two years - of a mobile and secretive organism without any method of marking individual birds or identifying males and females in the field. In this respect please draw their attention to the following that was published in Zoology in the Middle East by Porter et al:
"
Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013) reported figures and drew conclusions that, in our opinion, are impossible to achieve without undertaking a long-term trapping and colour-ringing programme to allow identification of individual male and female birds. They claim inter alia that ‘971 nests of Basra Reed Warbler were studied’, most over the two-year period 2006 to 2007, and that ‘males are often polygynous (42.9%, n= 317 observed males).’ There is however almost no mention in the paper of the methods and resources employed to gather such data. Furthermore, Al-Sheikhly et al. claimed that “the identification of male and female Basra Reed Warblers was unmistakable in the field,” which we contest is impossible, given that the species like all other Western Palearctic Acrocephalus cannot be sexed visually, only through in-hand examination and perhaps biometric data, which the authors of the study did not attempt. Neither is there any explanation of how counts were carried out and extrapolated to population figures given for Iraq’s major marshland areas. Following questioning, the authors admit ‘that the occurrence of polygyny needs to be confirmed by a more comprehensive study.’ If their precise figures as originally presented lack credibility, then it draws into question any of the paper’s other results."


Finally, may I put this call for COPE’s intervention into context? This is a ground-breaking paper and one of the most important to be published on bird ecology and populations in the Middle East – and probably the most important ever in Iraq. It involves a globally Endangered species – and a threatened wetland complex - the most important in the Middle East.

Poor or fraudulent science will help neither the species, its habitat nor Middle East ornithology and conservation. That is why we wish this complaint to be taken very seriously.

I hope this helps, Kindest regards, Richard Porter
"

----------------------------------------------------------------
A summary with a timeline of of the processing of these complaints is copy/pasted from https://pubpeer.com/publications/969...03462#fb121710

"It turned out that the publisher was unwilling to retract the paper. Taylor & Francis is member of COPE. We have therefore decided to file complaints about this case to COPE. Three complaints were filed in the first half of July 2015. COPE informed us on 26 July 2015 that they had decided to process the complaints. Taylor & Francis would be requested for comments on our concerns. We would be copied in this correspondence. COPE told us on 4 August 2015 that they would act as a facilitator of a dialogue with the publisher. COPE informed us on 13 July 2016 that the processing of the complaints was terminated. There was not yet a dialogue with the publisher. The correspondence was never received. Questions would not be answered."

---------------------------------------------------------------

I am hereby informing the readers and the followers of this thread that COPE has recently started with badmouthing about me, also in public outlets.

I am on the other hand asking all the time people and organisations around COPE for access to the raw research data of Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013), see above for some motives. Invariably, all these requests are met by silence. I also ask all the time people and organisations around COPE for comments of (some) experts with opposing views (together with names and contact details and a declaration that these experts are willing to communicate with us about their comment). There is invariably never a (proper) response on such requests (or this request is met by silence), and I have until now not received not a single of such a comment from an expert.

This implies of course that there is, nowhere on Planet Earth, an expert who rebuts / refutes that Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) contains fabricated and/or falsified data.

I however fail to understand why COPE simply does not respond on queries for access to the raw research data of Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013) and on queries for comments of experts with opposing views (note that this is extremely easy for COPE, given the backgrounds of the people at COPE), but in stead has started with badmouthing about me.

Is there anyone over here who can shed some light about this issue?
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Old Friday 23rd June 2017, 19:10   #22
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Anyone would like to comment on a draft in which I document evidence for partial behaviour by the publisher BMJ ( http://www.bmj.com/ )? This behaviour of the publisher BMJ is directly related to our efforts to retract this fraudulent study on the Basra Reed Warbler (Al-Sheikhly et al. 2013, 2015). It is my aim to post this manuscript as preprint at one of the preprint servers (for example at BioRxiv, http://biorxiv.org/collection/scient...-and-education ).

Please don't hesitate to contact me for a Word document with the full text (2700 words).

"Evidence for partial behaviour at BMJ" Abstract "This case study documents an exception on the rule for research articles in the medical journal BMJ Open that the ICMJE disclosure forms of authors must be made available on request. I describe my attempts to get the form and I argue that its unavailability relates to personal conflicts of interest with the corresponding author about my efforts to retract a fatally flawed article on the Basra Reed Warbler Acrocephalus griseldis. I describe undisclosed potential conflicts of interest between this corresponding author and employees of publisher BMJ and I argue that partial behaviour by BMJ is the most plausible explanation for the unavailability of the form. The decision of BMJ not to comment on drafts is towards my opinion the strongest argument that this view is founded."

Klaas van Dijk / Groningen / The Netherlands / klaas.vdijk AT hetnet.nl

Last edited by Klaas van Dijk : Friday 23rd June 2017 at 21:28.
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Old Tuesday 11th July 2017, 08:06   #23
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Dear all,

A copy of the report "Final investigation on serious allegations of fabricated and/or falsified data in Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) - 1 July 2016" was recently uploaded to Academia.edu. See https://www.academia.edu/33827046/Fi..._-_1_July_2016

Please don't hesitate to contact me for a copy when you are unable to read and/or to download this copy (klaas.vdijk AT hetnet.nl).

Klaas van Dijk
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Old Saturday 15th July 2017, 12:45   #24
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A project about this topic has been started at the platform ResearchGate, see https://www.researchgate.net/project...alus-griseldis
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Old Tuesday 18th July 2017, 10:51   #25
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The fraudulent articles on the breeding biology of the Basra Reed Warbler (Al-Sheikhly et al. 2013, 2015) are still not yet retracted. No one has until now refuted / rebutted any of the findings of the "Final investigation on serious allegations of fabricated and/or falsified data in Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) - 1 July 2016".

The biologist Dr. Filippo Barbanera of the University of Pisa is author of both fraudulent articles with fabricated and/or falsified data. There are serious grounds to argue that his refusal to retract Al-Sheikhy et al. (2013, 2015) implies that Dr. Barbanera is at the moment violating the ethical guidelines of the University of Pisa at https://www.unipi.it/index.php/statu...%A0-accademica (only in Italian).

This comment is to inform the readers of this topic that a formal complaint was filed on 2 July 2017 to the rector of the University of Pisa for serious allegations of research misconduct / serious allegations of severe violations of the ethical guidelines of the University of Pisa by Dr. Filippo Barbanera. This formal complaint was send in cc to Dr. Barbanera and to the members of the 'Commissione etica' of the University of Pisa, see https://www.unipi.it/index.php/organ...missione-etica

Dr. Barbanera and others have until now not indicated that there are errors and/or mistakes in the texts of this formal complaint. Dr. Barbanera and others at the University of Pisa have until now not rebutted / refuted any of the findings of the "Final investigation on serious allegations of fabricated and/or falsified data in Al-Sheikhly et al. (2013, 2015) - 1 July 2016", see https://www.academia.edu/33827046
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