Five Kato papers subject to an expression of concern, plus, a statute of limitations on correcting the literature?
Shigeaki Kato, an endocrinology researcher who resigned last year from the University of Tokyo and has retracted five papers, now has five more papers subject to an expression of concern.
Here’s the notice in Molecular and Cellular Biology:
The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) and Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB) are issuing this Expression of Concern to alert readers to doubts about the integrity of the data in papers coauthored by Dr. Shigeaki Kato.
In 2012, ASM was notified that the University of Tokyo Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences is conducting an investigation of possible scientific misconduct by Dr. Kato. Among the publications under investigation for possible data manipulation are these five MCB articles. The Expression of Concern is only for papers coauthored by Dr. Kato that have been published since 2007, in accordance with the DHHS/ORI six-year limitation on research misconduct (http://ori.dhhs.gov/sites/default/files/42_cfr_parts_50_and_93_2005.pdf).
MCB has contacted the Research Promotion Department of the University of Tokyo and asked to be informed of the findings of their ongoing investigation. Once ASM has been notified of the outcome of the investigation by the University of Tokyo, MCB will take appropriate action regarding these publications.
The five papers are:
- Corepressive Action of CBP on Androgen Receptor Transactivation in Pericentric Heterochromatin in a Drosophila Experimental Model System (2009, cited 8 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge)
- Coactivation of Estrogen Receptor β by Gonadotropin-Induced Cofactor GIOT-4 (2009, cited 9 times)
- Vitamin K Induces Osteoblast Differentiation through Pregnane X Receptor-Mediated Transcriptional Control of the Msx2 Gene (2007, cited 45 times)
- A Regulatory Circuit Mediating Convergence between Nurr1 Transcriptional Regulation and Wnt Signaling (2007, cited 28 times)
- The Pituitary Function of Androgen Receptor Constitutes a Glucocorticoid Production Circuit (2007,
cite 17 times)
In general, we’re big fans of this kind of move, alerting readers that there may be something wrong with papers instead of waiting for sometimes-interminable institutional investigations. So that’s good.
Still, we found the statute of limitations line a bit odd. We understand that the ORI might have that kind of statute, but why wouldn’t the publisher want to correct the record, no matter how old a paper? One journal retracted a paper more than 27 years after publishing it, in what is likely the record. We’ve contacted the ASM for comment, and will update with anything we learn.