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Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

“False data” forces retraction of Carbon paper co-authored by postdoc who led to PI’s suspension

with 4 comments

carboncoverThere’s a new retraction in the journal Carbon.

The case didn’t involve a Carbon copy — say, plagiarism or duplication — but rather an instance of fraud in a Japanese university, part of a larger case we covered last August.

Here’s the retraction notice for the paper, “The role of Fe species in the pyrolysis of Fe phthalocyanine and phenolic resin for preparation of carbon-based cathode catalysts,” which appeared in August 2010:

This article has been retracted at the request of the authors.

This paper is retracted at the request of the authors because it has been discovered that L. Wu included false data in Fig. 7 in this paper. It is noted that a fact-finding commission of Tokyo Institute of Technology has found that the material preparation and characterisation were performed correctly.

The paper has been cited 44 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Wu is Wu Libin, a former postdoc at Tokyo Tech whose falsifications have already led to a retraction in Applied Catalysis A: General. As we reported last year, the professor whose lab Libin worked in, Seizo Miyata,

faced three months without salary, retired from his research position and may have to return a portion of a grant worth $1 million US as punishment…

The university also suspended Libin’s direct supervisor, Masa-aki Kakimoto, for three months without pay. Kakimoto reported to Miyata.

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Written by Adam Marcus

February 6, 2013 at 9:30 am

4 Responses

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  1. This is worth reading. It was published in 2010 so quite prescient.

    http://sf.oxfordjournals.org/content/88/3/1231.short

    fernando pessoa

    February 6, 2013 at 11:02 am

  2. Good for Tokyo Tech.
    As i have suggested in a paper published this summer,I believe that in a situation where it is established that a trainee’s mentor does share responsibility for the misconduct, and probably also shared authorship on the discredited paper, their institution and NIH should be notified..

    In addition to supervision of the data collection process, a good mentor could also help reduce a trainee’s excessive fear of the consequences of a failed experiment. In my study 50% of the trainees found guilty of misconduct reported that such fear was a significant factor in their action.

    Training grants are provided to train future responsible investigators and not to enlarge the size of the lab staff. Mentors cannot provide adequate supervision and emotional support for their trainees where there is an unrealistic ratio of trainees to mentor..I suggest that NIH consider the ratio of trainees to mentor as an indicator of the quality of a training grant when applications are evaluated for funding.

    Similarly, I believe it would be useful when it has been established that a mentor does share responsibility for the trainee’s misconduct, that their institution and NIH should be notified. Evidence of inadequate mentorship should also be considered in evaluating the quality of a training grant.for future funding
    That should motivate institutions to improve the quality of their training programs.

    Don Kornfeld

    Donald S. Kornfeld, M.D.

    February 6, 2013 at 2:56 pm

  3. Your last sentence: who managed who and for how long without pay? I know that isn’t what you are trying to say.

    huh?

    February 6, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    • Rewrote that sentence to hopefully make it clearer, thanks.

      ivanoransky

      February 6, 2013 at 5:26 pm


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