Alsabti built a career as an impostor. In Iraq, the medical student managed to get a reputation as a cancer researcher. He reworked articles from lesser known scientific journals into entries that he submitted for publication elsewhere. By pretending to be a member of the Jordanian royal family, he obtained a generous scholarship by the Jordanian government and in 1977 moved to the United States. In the late 1970s, he worked as a cancer specialist for various American research institutions, moving on when his utter lack of knowledge and understanding was noticed. He is estimated to have published 50 to 60 plagiarized articles in a few years, many of them in reputable journals, often with co-authors who have never published with anyone but him, which led to the suspicion that they may not exist.
Several journals retracted publications after the fraud was exposed. Alsabti's license to practice medicine in Massachusetts was revoked in 1988.
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- Anonymous (1980). "An outbreak of piracy in the literature". Nature 285 (5765): 429–430. doi:10.1038/285429a0.
- Nicholas Wade and William Broad. Betrayers of the Truth: Fraud and Deceit in the Halls of Science. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1983, pp. 38–59.
- (German) "Deutschlandfunk: Wahrheitssucher auf Abwegen". Deutschlandfunk: Mogelnde Forscher und ihre Motive. Retrieved July 28, 2005.