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Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Shigeaki Kato up to 23 retractions

with 10 comments

katoShigeaki Kato, the former University of Tokyo endocrinology researcher found to have manipulated images in dozens of papers, has six more retractions, bringing his total to 23.

Five of them appear in Molecular and Cellular Biology:

Retraction for Kitagawa et al., Ligand-Selective Potentiation of Rat Mineralocorticoid Receptor Activation Function 1 by a CBP-Containing Histone Acetyltransferase Complex, a paper cited 79 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge:

Volume 22, no. 11, p. 3698–3706, 2002. The authors and the journal hereby retract this article. After publication, this article was found to have multiple images that were unacceptably manipulated (Fig. 2 and 4B and C), a clear violation of ASM’s ethical standards. Since the integrity of the data as presented was compromised, this publication is retracted in its entirety. We apologize to the readers of Molecular and Cellular Biology and regret any inconvenience this causes. H. Kitagawa did not agree to this retraction.

Retraction for Kitagawa et al., A Regulatory Circuit Mediating Convergence between Nurr1 Transcriptional Regulation and Wnt Signaling, cited 34 times:

Volume 27, no. 21, p. 7486–7496, 2007. The publisher hereby retracts this article. After publication, this article was found to have multiple images that were unacceptably manipulated (Fig. 4B and 5A), a clear violation of ASM’s ethical standards. Since the integrity of the data as presented was compromised, this publication is retracted in its entirety. We apologize to the readers of Molecular and Cellular Biology and regret any inconvenience this causes.

Retraction for Endoh et al., Purification and Identification of p68 RNA Helicase Acting as a Transcriptional Coactivator Specific for the Activation Function 1 of Human Estrogen Receptor α, cited 268 times:

Volume 19, no. 8, p. 5363–5372, 1999. The authors and the journal hereby retract this article. After publication, this article was found to have multiple images that were unacceptably manipulated (Fig. 1B, 4A to C, and 8A and B), a clear violation of ASM’s ethical standards. Since the integrity of the data as presented was compromised, this publication is retracted in its entirety. We apologize to the readers of Molecular and Cellular Biology and regret any inconvenience this causes.

Retraction for Igarashi et al., Vitamin K Induces Osteoblast Differentiation through Pregnane X Receptor-Mediated Transcriptional Control of the Msx2 Gene, cited 48 times

Volume 27, no. 22, p. 7947–7954, 2007. The authors and the journal hereby retract this article. After publication, this article was found to have multiple images that were unacceptably manipulated (Fig. 1A and C, 4B and C, and 5C), a clear violation of ASM’s ethical standards. Since the integrity of the data as presented was compromised, this publication is retracted in its entirety. We apologize to the readers of Molecular and Cellular Biology and regret any inconvenience this causes. M. Igarashi and H. Kitagawa did not agree to this retraction.

Retraction for Kouzu-Fujita et al., Coactivation of Estrogen Receptor β by Gonadotropin-Induced Cofactor GIOT-4, cited 10 times:

Vol. 29, no. 1, p. 83–92, 2009. The authors and the journal hereby retract this article. After publication, this article was found to have multiple images that were unacceptably manipulated (Fig. 2E, 3A and D, 4B, and 6), a clear violation of ASM’s ethical standards. Since the integrity of the data as presented was compromised, this publication is retracted in its entirety. We apologize to the readers of Molecular and Cellular Biology and regret any inconvenience this causes. H. Kitagawa did not agree to this retraction.

As our friends at The Scientist point out, three of these papers were among five subject to an expression of concern last year.

MCB also has a correction by Kato.

And here’s a retraction from Oncogene, of a paper cited 26 times:

BRCA1 function mediates a TRAP/DRIP complex through direct interaction with TRAP220

O Wada, H Oishi, I Takada, J Yanagisawa, T Yano and S Kato

Retraction to:Oncogene (2004) 23, 6000–6005; doi:10.1038/sj.onc.1207786; Published online 21 June 2004

This paper is retracted due to the following image manipulations: Figure 1b (pasting of the lanes), Figure 2 (pasting and insertion of the lanes) and Figure 3a (pasting of the lanes). All authors of this paper agree to this retraction.

The new tally means we’re more than halfway through the 43 retractions recommended by a University of Tokyo committee.

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10 Responses

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  1. With highly cited papers like this, I assume the basic claims have held up through replication and followup experiments by others, so the results are basically “true”, although the data showing it was unacceptably “prettied up.” In cases like this, does someone ever re-do the experiments or find original blots and re-publish the data?

    StrongDreams

    February 7, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    • “I assume the basic claims have held up through replication and followup experiments by others”

      That’s difficult to infer. Highly cited papers may only indicate that there are a lot of people working in closely related areas, or that the cited paper is considered ‘politically important’ even if distantly related.

      Each lab that cited these papers will have to look closely at their own work. Would their own interpretations change depending on whether the retracted papers are in actuality true or false? If not, then they have no concerns. If yes, they will need to design specific experiments of their own that will provide the answers. This may include repeating the retracted experiments. In any case it is all good: more papers!

      As for republishing your own retracted paper, I’m not sure if I’ve heard of that. It seems that people who have faked data did so because they could not produce adequate evidence. That is unlikely to change. If a retraction is caused by honest error the project is likely to have caused such bitterness and dismay that the author choose to drop it altogether.

      Dan Zabetakis

      February 7, 2014 at 5:27 pm

      • It could also hypothetically be the case that a faker given a sufficient number of guesses to give a correct answer on multiple subjects (i.e. multiple publications) will sometimes hit the correct answer through sheer chance and the result could be replicable even though the faker has not done the work in question properly.

        Erp

        February 8, 2014 at 1:59 am

    • And on the topic of Japan and Japanese researchers.

      The original paper is Plant Biotechnology (1998):
      https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/plantbiotechnology1997/15/1/15_1_29/_article
      Vol. 15, No. 1, 29-33 (open access)
      Production of Transgenic Grapevine (Vitis vinifera L. cv. Koshusanjaku) Plants by Co-cultivation of Embryogenic Calli with Agrobacterium tumefaciens and Selecting Secondary Embryos.
      Yoichiro HOSHINO, Yan-Ming ZHU, Masaru NAKANO, Eikichi TAKAHASHI, Masahiro MII

      The duplicate paper (text, data and tables) is (except for the figure):

      Hoshino, Y., Zhu, Y.-.M., Mii, M., Takahashi, E. and Nakano, M. 2000. TRANSGENIC GRAPEVINE PLANTS (VITIS VINIFERA L.) PRODUCED BY SELECTING SECONDARY EMBRYOS AFTER COCULTIVATION OF EMBRYOGENIC CALLUS WITH AGROBACTERIUM TUMEFACIENS. Acta Hort. (ISHS) 528:361-366 (file available upon request) http://www.actahort.org/books/528/528_51.htm

      The ISHS’s Yves Desjardins has promised a retraction. The horticultural community now waits.

      One of the key questions that needs to be asked is how much money has the ISHS been making off PPA (pay per access) 10 EUR per PDF files of papers that contain scientifically unsound information, duplication or any other aspect that could be considered fraudulent (using the term sensu lacto*?

      * Using the definition as per http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Fraud: “A false representation of a matter of fact—whether by words or by conduct, by false or misleading allegations, or by concealment of what should have been disclosed—that deceives and is intended to deceive another so that the individual will act upon it to her or his legal injury. Fraud is commonly understood as dishonesty calculated for advantage. A person who is dishonest may be called a fraud.”

      Surely, if the scientific community can prove that a paper contains bad science (and is thus equivalent to selling a rotten apple in a supermarket), or is the clone of misconduct (such as a duplicated paper), then surely we should hold the publisher accountable for the profit it has made, until the point of retraction, based on that bad or unethical paper? My understanding would be that making profit off a product that is flawed would be equivalent to a fresh fruits market that claims good fruit, but when you arrive home and cut it open, you observe the rot within. However, in the latter case, if we take the fruit back to the supermarket, we usually receive a deep apology, a full refund, in in some extremely sensible stores, a free packet of fresh fruit, to apologize for the inconvenience. Yet, what I have noticed thus far in publishing, and now particularly in the case of Acta Horticulturae published by the ISHS is that no apology is offered to the scientific public (in this case the horticultural scientists), no refunds are offered to the thousands of members (who are in this way being defrauded), or 10 EUR refunds to those people who actually paid 10 EUR to download those faulty PDF files. I guess if we wanted to really get down to basics of principle, one could say that it is the authors who should foot the bill because it is their bad data, or their duplication. But actually, the client doesn’t care who is wrong in the backroom fiddling: he just wants his money back and to get his good, fresh fruit? Is my analogy skewed?

      Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva

      February 8, 2014 at 11:39 am

    • Not necessarily. For example: “In contrast to the results of previous studies (Kato et al., 2008, Kato et al., 2009) we were unable to detect……”

      PWK

      February 9, 2014 at 4:29 am

  2. Re: retraction to Oncogene (2004) 23, 6000–6005; doi:10.1038/sj.onc.1207786; Published online 21 June 2004
    http://www.nature.com/onc/journal/v33/n6/full/onc2013526a.html?WT.ec_id=ONC-201402
    Editor-in-chief draws comment at Pubpeer for papers of a similar vintage.
    https://pubpeer.com/publications/11901172
    https://pubpeer.com/publications/11228543

    david hardman

    February 7, 2014 at 3:04 pm


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