The Japanese endocrinology researcher Shigeaki Kato, with at least 25 retractions to his name, is alleged to have been the ringleader of a scheme to cover up other research misconduct at the University of Tokyo, his former employer, which investigated the activity.
According to the Japan Times, Kato and three other colleagues took steps to hide evidence of image manipulation in five of 51 theses between 1996 and 2011:
Kato, a leading expert on molecular biology found to have masterminded the cover-up, denied his alleged role, telling Kyodo News, “I am responsible for creating an environment which gave way to problems, but I neither ordered nor tolerated such misconduct.”
Of the others, former assistant professor Jun Yanagisawa and former special lecturer Hirochika Kitagawa were involved in the five thesis papers in which the university found falsifications in experiment images.
Former associate professor Kenichi Takeyama cooperated in fabricating and tampering with the researchers’ experiment notebooks, the report said.
The university inquiry also found that Kato’s browbeating of his colleagues triggered the misconduct, according to the newspaper report.
All four researchers named in the investigation have left the University of Tokyo.
Kato is said to have manipulated data in as many as 43 papers.