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Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Shigeaki Kato notches five more retractions, including one in Nature

with 4 comments

katoShikeagi Kato, an endocrinology researcher who resigned from the University of Tokyo in March 2012 amid an investigation that concluded 43 of his papers should be retracted, has retracted five more papers.

The newest is in this week’s Nature, for “GlcNAcylation of a histone methyltransferase in retinoic-acid-induced granulopoiesis,” a paper first published in 2009. Here’s the notice:

We showed that glycosylation of a histone methyltransferase (MLL5) triggered retinoic-acid-induced granulopoiesis. Although we believe that the key finding and conclusions are still valid, recently detected image manipulation in the published figures undermines our full confidence in the integrity of the study. We therefore wish to retract this Letter. Correspondence should be addressed to S.K. (uskato0525@gmail.com).

The paper has been cited 98 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

The other four new retractions are in Genes to Cells:

In vivo potentiation of human oestrogen receptor α by Cdk7-mediated phosphorylation (cited 11 times):

The above article in Genes to Cells (doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2443.2004.00777.x), published online on 6 October 2004 in Wiley Online Library (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/), has been retracted by agreement between the authors, the journal Editor in Chief, Mitsuhiro Yanagida, and Wiley Publishing Asia Pty Ltd. The retraction has been agreed to due to multiple usage of the tissue images in Figures 1(B), 2, 3(C), 4 and 6, and the absence of the gel image for the lane 5 of ‘GFP’ in Figure 1(B).

Repressive domain of unliganded human estrogen receptor α associates with Hsc70 (cited 10 times):

The above article in Genes to Cells (doi:10.1111/j.1365-2443.2005.00904.x), published online on 13 October 2005 in Wiley Online Library (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/), has been retracted by agreement between the authors, the journal Editor in Chief, Mitsuhiro Yanagida, and Wiley Publishing Asia Pty Ltd. The retraction has been agreed to due to lack of the gel images for the lanes 1, 2 and 3 of ‘αTRAP220’ and for the lanes 1, 2 and 4 of ‘αHsc70’ in Figure 4(A).

A reduction state potentiates the glucocorticoid response through receptor protein stabilization (cited 9 times):

The above article in Genes to Cells (doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2443.2007.01131.x), published online on 2 November 2007 in Wiley Online Library (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/), has been retracted by agreement between the authors, the journal Editor in Chief, Mitsuhiro Yanagida, and Wiley Publishing Asia Pty Ltd. The retraction has been agreed to due to lack of the gel images for the lanes 1, 2, 5, 6, 9 and 10 of ‘GR’ and lanes 1, 2, 9 and 10 of ‘Brg-1’ in Figure 3(D) and the multiple usage of the gel images in Figure 3(B) and (C).

Activation of facultatively silenced Drosophila loci associates with increased acetylation of histone H2AvD (cited 3 times):

The above article in Genes to Cells (doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2443.2008.01244.x), published online on 20 November 2008 in Wiley Online Library (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/), has been retracted by agreement between the authors, the journal Editor in Chief, Mitsuhiro Yanagida, and Wiley Publishing Asia Pty Ltd. The retraction has been agreed to due to inappropriate presentation of gel image for ‘rp49’ that consists of 10 lanes in Figure 3(B). The same gel image with 12 lanes was presented as an outcome of another experiment in the first submitted draft.

We’ve reported on five other retractions by Kato, including another in Nature.

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4 Responses

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  1. Crimes against science. This is how I would classify this mass of fraud. If a person were to steal from the supermarket 43 times, would they not be in prison? Were a person to lie to a company employer 43 times and have used ample company funds to achieve the fraud, surely they too would be in jail? So, what makes this case different? Here we have a researcher who was easily earning 6000 US$ a month (I estimate an annual salary of 70,000-100,000 US$ a year; I am sure that salaries in Tokyo University were probably even more generous that what I indicate), several million yen in travel funds and research grants (possibly each year), all of which have now gone down the drain. Wasted tax payer money while the Japanese Government implements stricter austerity meaures on the tax payers. So he lost his job, so what? While he was livng the high life off the fraud, the average Japanese is suffering because alot of money is being squandered on scientists like this. The question is: will he be forced to return that tax payer’s money that he abused? Will he have to refund all the plane tickets and hotel costs that he charged to travel around the world to meetings to present data that is, unlike what he claims, no longer valid? And most importantly, what makes a scientific fraud less criminal then an internet identity fraud, or company data fraud, or just petty theft? Shouldn’t this guy be doing time behind bars? The answer may just lie in the next case I describe.

    Almost a fortnight ago, I sent a formal report about a relatively famous Japanese professor at Kochi University who had, together with foreign students, duplicated a paper, one of which was retracted (an Academic Journals, Nigeria, journal), but whose retraction can amazingly not be traced on Google. I sent the files to the Japanese Ministry of Education, or MEXT, explaining not only the fraud that had been committed, but the risks involved in publishing in predatory open access journals. I also queried how this professor would be punished and if the PhDs of the foreign students would be wthdrawn in the light of such a serious academic offense. Now the twist. The answer I received was a resounding… silence. Of course, the next step is to take the story to the newspapers. But we’ll allow all parties to first enjoy their new year and bonenkai’s. Coincidentally, a new law has apparently come into effect that will criminalize dissent against the Japanese Government, and this might very well also include criticisms of ministries such as MEXT, and their incompetence in dealing with scientific fraud cases like this. Only time will tell.

    JATdS

    December 11, 2013 at 1:46 pm

  2. Nature retracted a paper? Aaaaaahhhhhh, I see, the originator’s 43 previous retractions were juuuuusssst enough to tip the balance I suppose.

    BoDuke

    December 11, 2013 at 6:13 pm

  3. Official investigation indicated that this retracted Nature (Fujiki et al, 2009) consists of 23 inappropriately modified figures. Even so, this PI stated that he believes the results.

    moonH

    January 5, 2014 at 2:10 pm


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