When it comes to retracting papers by the world’s most prolific scientific fraudsters, journals have room for improvement

Journals have retracted all but 19 of the 313 tainted papers linked to three of the most notorious fraudsters in science, with only stragglers left in the literature. But editors and publishers have been less diligent when it comes to delivering optimal retraction notices for the affected articles.

That’s the verdict of a new analysis in the journal Anaesthesia, which found that 15% of retraction notices for the affected papers fail fully to meet standards from the Committee for Publication Ethics (COPE). Many lacked appropriate language and requisite watermarks stating that the articles had been removed, and some have vanished from the literature.

The article was written by U. M. McHugh, of University Hospital in Galway, Ireland, and Steven Yentis, a consultant anaesthetist at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital in London. Yentis was editor of Anaesthesia during the three scandals and had a first-hand view of two of the investigations. He also is the editor who unleashed anesthetist and self-trained statistician John Carlisle on the Fujii papers to see how likely the Japanese researcher’s data were to be valid (answer: not very likely). Continue reading When it comes to retracting papers by the world’s most prolific scientific fraudsters, journals have room for improvement

What took more than five years? Elsevier retracts 20 papers by world’s most prolific fraudster

In 2012, investigations found that researcher Yoshitaka Fujii had fabricated well in excess of 100 papers, and recommended scores of retractions. Yet years later, publishers are still cleaning the literature of his problematic work.  

For anyone not familiar the Fujii case: After researchers raised concerns about Fujii’s work, an anesthesiologist used statistical tools to determine the odds the results were likely to have come from actual experiments. The answer: infinitesimally small. (For more on Fujii’s “dramatic fall from grace,” check out this in-depth Nautilus article published by our co-founders in 2015.)

Over the last several months, four journals — three published by Elsevier, one by Springer — have retracted 21 papers by Fujii. Seventeen retractions stem from one journalClinical Therapeutics.

Twelve of the retractions are accompanied by the following text: Continue reading What took more than five years? Elsevier retracts 20 papers by world’s most prolific fraudster

Society recommends 9 retractions for co-author of researcher with record number of retractions

The Japanese Society of Anesthesiologists (JSA) has requested the retraction of nine additional papers by a co-author of fraudster Yoshitaka Fujii, after investigating allegations of fraud in dozens of papers.

According to the report, a committee investigated approximately 40 publications by Yuhji Saitoh of Yachiyo Medical Center and Tokyo Women’s Medical University and “identified ten publications with clear ethics violations, one of which has already been retracted.”

Saitoh has collaborated on many papers with Fujii, an anesthesia researcher with more than 180 retractions. As we reported, Saitoh resigned from the JSA when the investigation began, and the society permanently banned him. Continue reading Society recommends 9 retractions for co-author of researcher with record number of retractions

Co-author of retraction record-holder likely fabricated his own data, analysis shows

In 2012, John Carlisle, a British anesthesiologist, demonstrated conclusively using statistics that Yoshitaka Fujii had faked data in many studies. Fujii — as followers of this blog well know — now holds the record for most retractions by an individual author (183).

Carlisle’s work accomplished two things: It put to rest any doubt that problems with Fujii’s work might have resulted from innocent mistakes, and it gave journals a mathematical tool for conducting investigations into potential cases of misconduct.

Now comes the payoff. In a new paper, Carlisle and another anesthesiologist, John Loadsman, take aim at one of Fujii’s frequent co-authors, Yuhji Saitoh of Yachiyo Medical Center and Tokyo Women’s Medical University in Japan. The pair analyzed data from 31 studies Saitoh published between 1993 and 2012 — including one study that was rejected in 2015 — for a total of 32 papers. Of those, 23 did not include Fujii as an author.

Writing in the journal Anaesthesia, where Carlisle published his first study about Fujii, he and Loadsman state that: Continue reading Co-author of retraction record-holder likely fabricated his own data, analysis shows

Catching up: Publisher to pull four papers by retraction record holder flagged years ago

the-laryngoscopeJournals published by Wiley are retracting four papers by Yoshitaka Fujii, the anesthesiology researcher with the most retracted scientific papers.

Retraction Watch readers will be familiar with Fujii’s case: He currently holds the number one spot on our leaderboard with more than 180 retractions, some of which are pending. (That’s nearly twice the number of retractions by the researcher in the #2 spot, Joachim Boldt.) 

Earlier this year, The Breast Journal and The Laryngoscope — both of which are published by Wiley-Blackwell — issued expressions of concern (EOCs) for a total of four papers by Fujii. All four papers were included in a 2012 analysis of 168 of Fujii’s studies by J. B. Carlisle, a consultant anesthetist in the UK, who concluded that the chance of much of Fujii’s data appearing the way it does naturally is

…the chance of selecting one particular atom from all the human bodies on earth.

Now, both journals are retracting the papers. 

A Wiley spokesperson told us: Continue reading Catching up: Publisher to pull four papers by retraction record holder flagged years ago

2001 Fujii papers retracted — finally. What took so long?

BJO

Nearly four years after an analysis of more than 160 papers by Yoshitaka Fujii concluded the chances the data were authentic were infinitesimally small, the British Journal of Ophthalmology has decided to formally retract one of the papers included in that review.

The name Yoshitaka Fujii should ring a bell — an alarm bell, in fact — for our readers. He’s firmly listed in the number one spot on our leaderboard, with more than 180 retractions.

The recently retracted paper — “Ramosetron compared with granisetron for the prevention of vomiting following strabismus surgery in children” — has been included in that retraction total for years, because it was part of a seminal 2012 analysis by J.B. Carlisle that put the odds of data occurring naturally in some of Fujii’s papers at: Continue reading 2001 Fujii papers retracted — finally. What took so long?

Retraction record broken, again: University report should up Fujii total to 183

a&amisconductcoverKeeping up with the various investigations into the activities of Yoshitaka Fujii — the assumed record holder for retractions by a single author, with 172 likely — can be a challenge. Between the journals pulling his papers and the institutions looking into his misconduct, it’s hard to keep everything straight.

But we have a new report, from a past employer, that makes for interesting reading and helps tie up some loose ends. The document is from Tsukuba University, where Fujii worked more than a decade ago when questions about the propriety of his findings first surfaced. Continue reading Retraction record broken, again: University report should up Fujii total to 183

Does anesthesiology have a problem? Final version of report suggests Fujii will take retraction record, with 172

Japanese investigators have concluded that Yoshitaka Fujii, an expert in postoperative nausea and vomiting whose findings drew scrutiny in 2000 but who continued to publish prolifically for a decade after, fabricated his results in at least 172 published studies.

That number nearly doubles that of the current unofficial retraction record holder, Joachim Boldt.

An inquiry by the Japanese Society of Anesthesiologists (JSA) has determined that Fujii, who was fired in February from his post at Toho University, falsified data in 172 of 212 papers published between 1993 and 2011. Investigators said they found no evidence of fraud in three of the papers, but could not determine whether the results reported in the remaining 37 were reliable.

Of the 172 bogus studies, 126 involved randomized controlled trials. Investigators believe this was not a coincidence: Continue reading Does anesthesiology have a problem? Final version of report suggests Fujii will take retraction record, with 172

Report: Fujii faked data in at least 172 papers

A Japanese web site is reporting that Yoshitaka Fujii, a Japanese anesthesiologist suspected of widespread data fabrication, did indeed fake his results in at least 172 published studies.

According to the article, on a site called Jiji Press: Continue reading Report: Fujii faked data in at least 172 papers

Three more Fujii papers fall for lack of IRB approval

Three journals under the JAMA umbrella are retracting papers by Yoshitaka Fujii, the Japanese anesthesiologist accused of research misconduct so sweeping that it might net him the record for most retractions by a single author.

The papers, in the Archives of Surgery, Archives of Ophthalmology and the Archives of Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery, were published in 2001 and 2005.

Here are the notices, which are essentially identical but for the titles of the articles: Continue reading Three more Fujii papers fall for lack of IRB approval