Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

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Who has the most retractions? Introducing the Retraction Watch leaderboard

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Ever since we broke the news about the issues with the now-retracted Science paper about changing people’s minds on gay marriage, we’ve been the subject of a lot of press coverage, which has in turn led a number of people to ask us: Who has the most retractions?

Well, we’ve tried to answer that in our new Retraction Watch leaderboard.

Here is the current list (click here for more detailed information about our methodology and additional notes): Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

June 16th, 2015 at 2:00 pm

The Retraction Watch Leaderboard

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Who has the most retractions? Here’s our unofficial list (see notes on methodology), which we’ll update as more information comes to light:

  1. Yoshitaka Fujii (total retractions: 183) Sources: Final report of investigating committee, our reporting
  2. Joachim Boldt (96) Sources: Editors in chief statement, additional coverage
  3. Diederik Stapel (58) Source: Our cataloging
  4. Adrian Maxim (48) Source: IEEE database
  5. Peter Chen (Chen-Yuan Chen) (43) Source: SAGE, our cataloging
  6. Hua Zhong (41) Source: Journal
  7. Shigeaki Kato (39) Source: Our cataloging
  8. James Hunton (37) Source: Our cataloging
  9. Hendrik Schön (36) Sources: PubMed and Thomson Scientific
  10. Hyung-In Moon (35) Source: Our cataloging
  11. Naoki Mori (32) Source: PubMed, our cataloging
  12. Tao Liu: (29) Source: Journal
  13. Cheng-Wu Chen (28) Source: our cataloging
  14. Gideon Goldstein (26)
  15. Scott Reuben (25)
  16. Yoshihiro Sato (23)
  17. Noel Chia (22)
  18. Gilson Khang (22) Sources:,, journal
  19. Friedhelm Herrmann (21)
  20. Dipak Das (20) Click here for a full list of retracted papers
  21. Khalid Zaman (20)
  22. Jin Cheng (19)
  23. Stanley Rapoport (19)
  24. Bharat Aggarwal (18)
  25. Fazlul Sarkar (18)
  26. John Darsee (17)
  27. Wataru Matsuyama (17)
  28. Alirio Melendez (17)
  29. Robert Slutsky (17)
  30. Ulrich Lichtenthaler (16)
  31. Erin Potts-Kant (16)

We note that all but one of the top 31 are men, which agrees with the general findings of a 2013 paper suggesting that men are more likely to commit fraud.


Many accounts of the John Darsee story cite 80-plus retractions, which would place him third on the list, but Web of Science only lists 17, three of which are categorized as corrections. That’s not the only discrepancy. For example, Fujii has 138 retractions listed in Web of Science, compared to 183 as recommended by a university committee, while Reuben has 25, compared to the 22 named in this paper. We know that not everything ends up in Web of Science — Chen, for example, isn’t there at all — so we’ve used our judgment based on covering these cases to arrive at the highest numbers we could verify.

Shigeaki Kato is likely to end up with 43 retractions, based on the results of a university investigation.

All of this is a good reminder why the database we’re building with the generous support of the MacArthur Foundation and Arnold Foundation will be useful.

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Written by Ivan Oransky

June 16th, 2015 at 11:09 am

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More retractions for authors who duplicated — and did their own peer review

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spectroscopylettersAdd to the retraction pile for a pair of chemists in Iran who duplicated their work — and reviewed their own articles to boot.

The authors, Kobra Pourabdollah and Bahram Mokhtari, are affiliated with the Razi Chemistry Research Center in the Shahreza Branch of Islamic Azad University. In September, we reported on the retractions of three articles by the researchers in Synthesis and Reactivity in Inorganic, Metal-Organic, and Nano-Metal Chemistry.

Readers then alerted us to five other retractions in the Journal of Coordination Chemistry — although these papers did not appear (at least by the retraction notice) to have involved self-reviewing.

The duo now also has lost a 2012 article in Spectroscopy Letters: An International Journal for Rapid Communication. , which has been cited twice, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. According to the notice: Read the rest of this entry »

Chemistry papers retracted for “lack of objectivity:” The authors did their own peer review

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synthreactSynthesis and Reactivity in Inorganic, Metal-Organic, and Nano-Metal Chemistry is retracting three articles for duplication — redundancy the authors, chemical engineers at Islamic Azad University, in Shahreza, Iran, appear to have gotten around by reviewing their own manuscripts. But, if they did say so themselves, those papers were really something!

Here’s the retraction notice for two of the papers, both of which appeared in 2012 and which were cited seven times and once, respectively, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge:
Read the rest of this entry »

Tokyo panel calls for retraction of 43 Kato papers

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katoThe University of Tokyo panel investigating the work of a former professor there, Shigeaki Kato, has recommended the retraction of 43 of his group’s articles, according to a report in the Asahi Shimbun newspaper.

If the papers are indeed retracted, Kato, who already has at least five articles subject to an expression of concern and five retractions, would be fifth on the list of most retractions for a single author, by our unofficial tally. His fellow countryman, Yoshitaka Fujii, continues to hold the lead at what appears to be 183, followed by Joachim Boldt (~89), John Darsee (~83), and Diederik Stapel, at 53. [See note at end.]

The Asahi report quotes Kato — who has received some $20 million in government funding for his work  — as acknowledging problems with the data in his studies: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by amarcus41

July 25th, 2013 at 10:21 am

Elsevier editorial system hacked, reviews faked, 11 retractions follow

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elsevierFor several months now, we’ve been reporting on variations on a theme: Authors submitting fake email addresses for potential peer reviewers, to ensure positive reviews. In August, for example, we broke the story of a Hyung-In Moon, who has now retracted 24 papers published by Informa because he managed to do his own peer review.

Now, Retraction Watch has learned that the Elsevier Editorial System (EES) was hacked sometime last month, leading to faked peer reviews and retractions — although the submitting authors don’t seem to have been at fault. As of now, eleven papers by authors in China, India, Iran, and Turkey have been retracted from three journals.

Here’s one of two identical notices that have just run in Optics & Laser Technology, for two unconnected papers: Read the rest of this entry »

HIV paper retracted after authors recommend a colleague as a reviewer

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Nothing like a little home cooking.

Genetic Vaccines and Therapy (GVT) has retracted a paper by a group of Pakistani authors who recommended one of their colleagues as a reviewer for their manuscript.

That’s not all: According to the journal, the researchers apparently also misappropriated data from a previous study.

The article in question, “Structure based sequence analysis & epitope prediction of gp41 HIV1 envelope glycoprotein isolated in Pakistan,” was published in June 2012. The first author is  Syyada Samra Jafri, who we see as being at the University of the Punjab in Lahore. According to the retraction notice: Read the rest of this entry »

Iranian mathematicians latest to have papers retracted for fake email addresses to get better reviews

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It’s tempting to start calling this a trend.

Three Elsevier math journals are among the latest scientific publications to be retracting papers because fake email addresses were used to obtain favorable peer reviews.

The three papers appear in two journals: “On two subclasses of (α,β)-metrics being projectively related,” in the Journal of Geometry and Physics; and “Complex Bogoslovsky Finsler metrics” and “Sasaki–Randers metric in Finsler geometry,” in the Journal of Mathematical Analysis and Applications. All three share authors Akbar Tayebi, of the University of Qom, Iran, and Esmaeil Peyghan, of Arak University, also in Iran.

The notices in the Journal of Mathematical Analysis and Applications read as follows (the EES refers to the Elsevier Editorial System): Read the rest of this entry »

Retraction count grows to 35 for scientist who faked emails to do his own peer review

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Hyung-In Moon

Hyung-In Moon, the South Korean plant compound researcher who made up email addresses so he could do his own peer review, is now up to 35 retractions.

The four new retractions are of the papers in the Journal of Enzyme Inhibition and Medicinal Chemistry that initially led to suspicions when all the reviews came back within 24 hours. Here’s the notice, which includes the same language as Moon’s 24 other retractions of studies published in Informa Healthcare journals: Read the rest of this entry »

Journal editor resigned in wake of retractions for fake email addresses that enabled self-peer review

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The case of Hyung-In Moon — the researcher who faked email addresses for potential peer reviewers so he could do his own peer review — has already led to one resignation.

Emilio Jirillo, the editor of Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology, which retracted 20 of Moon’s papers, stepped down earlier this year in the wake of the case, Retraction Watch has learned.

Here’s a note the publisher posted on the journal’s site on June 15: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

August 31st, 2012 at 12:04 pm