Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

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A shadow was cast on a bone researcher’s work. What are journals doing about his papers?

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Last year, a researcher cast doubt on a bone scientist’s clinical trials, suggesting some of the findings may not be legitimate. So what’s happened since?

Since 2015, journals have retracted 14 papers by bone researcher Yoshihiro Sato, based at Mitate Hospital in Japan, for issues ranging from self-plagiarism, to problems with data, to including co-authors without their consent. (We covered the latest two retractions this week.) Last year’s analysis identified patterns in more than 30 of Sato’s clinical trials that suggest systematic problems with the results. (Sato has defended his research.)

With doubts cast on Sato’s body of work, we contacted the journals that have published his papers involving human trials, to see if any taken another look at Sato’s work; several responded. While most believe there is little reason to take further action at this time, some told us they are investigating.
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Fraud by bone researcher takes down two meta-analyses, a clinical trial, and review

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The troubles continue for a bone researcher, who’s lost multiple papers in recent months due to problems ranging from data issues to including authors without their consent.

Now, journals have retracted two more papers by Yoshihiro Sato. And in a sign of the downstream effects that fraud can have, another journal has retracted two meta-analyses by other authors that cited his work.

Earlier this month, the journal Current Medical Research and Opinion retracted the two meta-analyses because they were based on recently retracted papers by Sato, affiliated with Mitate Hospital. The two new retractions of Sato’s papers are a review and a randomized controlled trial.

Sato was not an author on the meta-analyses published in 2008 and 2011; he was, however, first and lead author on all the retracted papers referenced in the notices. The notices state that the trio of authors on the meta-analyses:

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Two more retractions bring bone researcher’s total to 12

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jbmrA bone researcher based in Japan with 10 retractions under his belt has retracted two more papers for similar reasons — problems with the underlying data, and including co-authors who didn’t participate in the project.

In both notices, Yoshihiro Sato is pegged as responsible for the content of the papers. The newly retracted research covers a long timespan — one paper was published in 2000, the other in 2013.

Here’s the first notice, issued by the Journal of Bone and Mineral ResearchRead the rest of this entry »

Bone researcher up to 10 retractions

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Neurology JournalA journal is retracting three papers and a letter from a bone researcher who admitted to scientific misconduct, noting that all co-authors were included only for honorary reasons.

We’ve previously reported on six retractions of papers co-authored by Yoshihiro Sato, who is based at Mitate Hospital in Japan, including one in JAMA. Retractions stemmed from the use of “honorary” co-authors, as well as concerns over the data. One paper seemed to be the victim of “extensive self-plagiarism.”

Sato, who is the first and corresponding author of all ten retractions (including the letter), accepted full responsibility of the newly retracted publications, noting that none of the co-authors took part in any misconduct.

Here’s the retraction notice — which is similar for all four new retractions — issued on July 12: Read the rest of this entry »

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: Read the rest of this entry »

“All co-authors are honorary:” Team earns fifth retraction

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Movement DisordersA team of researchers from Japan has earned a fifth retraction, after co-authors told the journal that they did not participate in much of the paper.

Yoshihiro Sato, listed at Mitate Hospital, is the only author of the paper who was not “honorary,” the managing editor of the journal confirmed. He and the same co-authors recently lost three other papers about preventing hip fractures for “concerns regarding data integrity” and authorship issues — one of those papers, published in JAMA, specified that Sato was responsible for the data. All four authors were also included in a retraction last year of a paper with “concerns about the underlying data;” there, too, Sato said his co-authors were named “for honorary reasons.”

Here’s the retraction notice for “Alendronate and vitamin D2 for prevention of hip fracture in Parkinson’s disease: A randomized controlled trial,” published in Movement Disorders:

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JAMA journals pull 3 papers by same authors for misconduct

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JAMAJAMA and another journal in its network have retracted three 2005 papers about preventing hip fractures, after an admission of scientific misconduct. 

All papers are being retracted over concerns about data integrity, and “inappropriate assignment of authorship.” Four of the authors — all based in Japan — have co-authored all of the three newly retracted papers, and also share authorship of a previous retraction from 2015

The JAMA paper was tagged with an Expression of Concern last year, regarding the “conduct, integrity, and scientific validity” of the paper. 

Here’s the retraction notice for the JAMA paper, “Effect of Folate and Mecobalamin on Hip Fractures in Patients With Stroke:” Read the rest of this entry »

Osteoporosis paper felled by concerns with “scientific integrity”

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A paper suggesting that exposure to sunlight might help prevent hip fractures in the elderly has been retracted, due to duplication and “concerns about the underlying data.”

An expression of concern that appeared last July flagged the 2005 paper as containing text that matched another paper with the same first author that was published in 2011. According to the publisher, that duplicated text sparked a closer look at the text, which raised concerns about the scientific integrity of the paper.

The retraction note, published by the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, says that the first author was responsible for the content of the paper: Read the rest of this entry »

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) See also: Final report of investigating committee, our reporting, additional coverage
  2. Joachim Boldt (96) See also: Editors-in-chief statement, our coverage
  3. Diederik Stapel (58) See also: our coverage
  4. Adrian Maxim (48) See also: our coverage
  5. Chen-Yuan (Peter) Chen (43) See also: SAGE, our coverage
  6. Hua Zhong (41) See also: journal notice
  7. Shigeaki Kato (39) See also: our coverage
  8. James Hunton (36) See also: our coverage
  9. Hyung-In Moon (35) See also: our coverage
  10. Naoki Mori (32) See also: our coverage
  11. Jan Hendrik Schön (31) See also: our coverage
  12. Tao Liu (29) See also: our coverage
  13. Cheng-Wu Chen (28) See also: our coverage
  14. Yoshihiro Sato (25) See also: our coverage
  15. Scott Reuben (24) See also: our coverage
  16. Jun Iwamoto (23) See also: our coverage
  17. Gilson Khang (22) See also: our coverage
  18. Noel Chia (21) See also: our coverage
  19. Friedhelm Herrmann (21) See also: our coverage
  20. Dipak Das (20) See also: our coverage
  21. Khalid Zaman (20) See also: our coverage
  22. Jin Cheng (19) See also: our coverage
  23. Stanley Rapoport (19) See also: our coverage
  24. Fazlul Sarkar (19) See also: our coverage
  25. Bharat Aggarwal (18) See also: our coverage
  26. John Darsee (17) See also: our coverage
  27. Wataru Matsuyama (17) See also: our coverage
  28. Erin Potts-Kant (17) See also: our coverage
  29. Robert Slutsky (17) See also: our coverage
  30. Ulrich Lichtenthaler (16) See also: our coverage

We note that all but one of the top 30 are men, which agrees with the general findings of a 2013 paper suggesting that men are more likely to commit fraud.

Notes:

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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