Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Sixth retraction appears for bone researcher due to “extensive self-plagiarism”

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cov150hA bone researcher in Japan has logged his sixth retraction, after acknowledging he duplicated substantial portions of a 2011 paper and added “honorary” co-authors.

The retraction, in Parkinsonism & Related Disorders, follows five others for Yoshihiro Sato, including one from JAMA, some of which were pulled over concerns regarding authorship and data integrity. The latest retraction duplicated text from another 2005 paper that was itself retracted last year, both for duplicating from this newly retracted paper and for “concerns about the underlying data.”

Sato — who is listed at Mitate Hospital on the paper — told the journal he takes full responsibility.

Here’s the retraction notice:

This article has been retracted at the request of the Co-Editors-in-Chief.

The Co-Editors of Parkinsonism and Related Disorders recently have received communications indicating that substantial portions of this article were re-used from an earlier publication (Sato Y, Iwamoto J, Kanoko T, Satoh K.  Amelioration of osteoporosis and hypovitaminosis D by sunlight exposure in hospitalized, elderly women with Alzheimer’s disease:  a randomized, controlled trial.  J Bone Miner Res 2005;20:1327-1333 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1359/JBMR.050402).  The Co-Editors have reviewed both articles and contacted the authors concerning the allegation.  They have confirmed that a significant and unacceptable amount of duplication of wording, although not data, is present in the article published in this journal.

One of the conditions of submission of a paper for publication is that authors declare explicitly that the paper is not under consideration for publication elsewhere. As such this article represents an abuse of the scientific publishing system. The scientific community takes a very strong view on this matter and apologies are offered to readers of the journal that this was not detected during the submission process.

The authors of the article have asked the Co-Editors and the Publisher to communicate the following information to readers:

Dr. Yoshihiro Sato, the lead author on both articles, takes full responsibility for the extensive self-plagiarism evident in the article published in this journal.  The other two listed authors, Drs. Iwamoto and Honda, contributed little to the published study in this journal, were listed by Dr. Sato as “honorary” authors, and were unaware of the inappropriate duplication of material.

In the 2005 paper “Amelioration of Osteoporosis and Hypovitaminosis D by Sunlight Exposure in Hospitalized Elderly Women With Alzheimer’s Disease: A Randomized Controlled Trial”, the researchers exposed half of 264 Alzheimer’s patients to a few extra minutes of sunlight per day. During 2011’s Amelioration of osteoporosis and hypovitaminosis D by sunlight exposure in Parkinson’s disease,” the researchers asked half of 324 patients with Parkinson’s disease to get a little extra sun exposure.

The newly retracted paper has been cited 19 times, according to Thomson Reuters Web of Science.

When the 2005 paper was retracted last year, a spokesperson for the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, which publishes the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, told us:

A reader of the JBMR informed the editors that the text of this 2005 article was very nearly identical to a 2011 article that the lead author had published in another journal, reporting an entirely different study than the one reported in the 2005 JBMR article. The reader also brought to the attention of the JBMR editors some concerns about the scientific integrity of the work reported in this article. Upon review by the staff, the Editor-in-Chief, and outside reviewers, we confirmed that the reader was correct about the duplication of text, notified the other journal, and asked the lead author for an explanation. All of these actions were taken after consulting the COPE guidelines, which the JBMR follows. The expression of concern was issued because, in the view of the Editor-in-Chief and staff of the JBMR, there was no reasonable explanation for the extensive duplication of text between the 2005 and 2011 articles.

The two papers share a second author, Jun Iwamoto, who is also listed on Sato’s other retractions.

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