Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘japan retractions’ Category

When a paper is retracted, so is its previous correction–sometimes

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1-s2.0-S0968089612X0018X-cov150hSometimes, the path to correcting the scientific record takes a few turns. In the case of a paper about a new cancer compound, authorship issues led to a correction and, ultimately, a retraction — along with a double-back to retract the earlier correction.

We reported on the first part of the story back in January: A 2011 paper that described a novel compound that could work as a drug for the side effects of chemotherapy was corrected in 2012 to add additional authors. But once the authors realized their supposedly novel compound had actually been synthesized by another author, they decided to retract the paper from Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry earlier this year, concluding “these facts made the paper inappropriate and unfaithful.”

Apparently, around the same time, the authors decided to retract the earlier correction, as well:

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University revokes PhD of first author on retracted STAP stem cell papers

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800px-Waseda_University_Logo.svgWaseda University has revoked the doctorate degree of the first author on the now-retracted Nature papers about a technique to create stem cells.

The technique — which claimed to provide a new way to nudge young cells from mice into pluripotency — was initially described in two 2014 Nature papers, both first-authored by Haruko Obokata. However, the papers were soon mired in controversy, corrected, then retracted later that year due to “several critical errors,” some of which were categorized by a RIKEN investigation as misconduct.

Shortly after Nature retracted the two papers, Waseda revoked Obokata’s doctorate degree — on a probationary basis, according to the university: Read the rest of this entry »

“Insufficient permission” from funder resects liver disease paper

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HepatologyA study on chronic liver inflammation was pulled from the journal Hepatology because of “insufficient permission by the authors’ funding institution to submit and publish the manuscript.” 

The paper, which was published in July, looked into how steatosis, the abnormal retention of fat in the liver, turns into steatohepatitis, also known as fatty liver disease. Researchers found that Treg cells play a central role in controlling the disease.

Unfortunately, the journal’s managing editor didn’t provide any information about the nature of the permission problems, and the notice doesn’t give any details.

Here it isin full:

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Mirror image in plant study flagged on PubPeer grows into retraction

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djs_mpmi_28_9_cover-online.inddA 2010 paper on plant fungus has been retracted after a comment on PubPeer revealed that a study image had been flipped over and reused to represent two different treatments.

In May, a commenter pointed out the plants in Figure 2a of the paper in the journal Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions “look remarkably similar.” A commenter writing under the name of corresponding author, Yukio Tosa at Kobe University in Japan, posted a response two days later agreeing with the assessment and stating that the paper should be retracted.

The notice reads: Read the rest of this entry »

When the title states the wrong result, a paper gets corrected

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Ever wonder why, on a round-trip, the leg home often feels shorter? A group of researchers found that’s only true in hindsight, as people look back on which leg felt shorter — the trouble is, when the paper first appeared, the title mistakenly stated the opposite was true.

One June 10, PLOS ONE published a paper entitled “The Return Trip Is Felt Longer Only Postdictively: A Psychophysiological Study of the Return Trip Effect”; 17 days later, it was republished under the correct title, “The Return Trip Is Felt Shorter Only Postdictively: A Psychophysiological Study of the Return Trip Effect.”

On July 15, the journal posted a correction notice explaining its mistake:

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Written by Ross Keith

September 21st, 2015 at 11:30 am

Researchers suspended in Japan for funding violations

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Sanae Ariga

Sanae Ariga

Hokkaido University has suspended two of its professors after an investigation found “improper receipt of research funding.”

One member of the team was awarded more than 15 million yen (roughly $120,000 USD) in research grants from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), according to the official statement (translated by One Hour Translation).

The researchers share a last name. Hiroyoshi Ariga, a professor of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Science and the head of a university lab, was given 8 million yen in 2006 and 7.5 million in 2007. It appears that Sanae Ariga also received funds for a similar study, based on the translation:

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Ethics dispute forces retraction of paper on Hep C in Japanese leper colony

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jcmcoverHere’s a case of retraction being a hammer when a scalpel might have been better.

The authors of a 2011 paper in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology looking at transmission of hepatitis C in a former leper colony in Japan have retracted the article because an ethics panel in that country objected to the scientists’ use of fetal tissue.

The article involves a controversial aspect of modern Japanese history — the country’s efforts to eradicate leprosy, or Hansen’s disease, by isolating patients in a string of state-run sanatoriums. The policy was eventually realized to be unnecessary and ruled unconstitutional in 2001, triggering a wave of apologies to patients and their families.

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“Copyright issues that cannot be resolved” and duplicate publication sink two groundwater papers

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EnvEarthSci_ak18Springer has retracted two articles about groundwater in Algeria from its journal Environmental Earth Sciences – one was sent down the well by “copyright issues that cannot be resolved,” and the other by a duplicate publication two years prior.

The first article of the two, “Principal component, chemical, bacteriological, and isotopic analyses of Oued-Souf groundwaters,” was published in 2009 by researchers in Japan and Algeria. Its corresponding author, Hakim Saibi, is listed as an associate professor in the faculty of engineering at Kyushu University in Japan. We can’t say anything about the article’s content beyond what’s in the title, since its abstract is no longer available online. The retraction notice consists of a single, lonely sentence: Read the rest of this entry »

“A decision of misconduct was reached”: Two lung papers expire

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JofAnesthTwo papers about the molecular underpinnings of lung damage are being retracted following an investigation at Oita University in Japan, which revealed that images from both papers had been used to depict “different experimental conditions” in a third paper (which has not been retracted).

It’s not clear which of the authors were the subject of the investigation. The two retracted papers, “Nafamostat mesilate inhibits the expression of HMGB1 in lipopolysaccharide-induced acute lung injury” in the Journal of Anesthesia and “Coexpression of HSP47 Gene and Type I and Type III Collagen Genes in LPS-Induced Pulmonary Fibrosis in Rats” in Lung, both originally published in 2007, share the same first author — Satoshi Hagiwara, whose affiliation is listed as the Department of Brain and Nerve Science, Anesthesiology, Oita University Faculty of Medicine. The papers have been cited 13 times and 12 times, respectively, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. Hagiwara is also the first author on the third paper that contains the duplicated images.

The first retraction notice reads:

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“[T]hese things can happen in every lab:” Mutant plant paper uprooted after authors correct their own findings

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FrontiersThree biologists at Tokyo Gakugei University in Japan have retracted a 2014 Frontiers in Plant Science paper on abnormal root growth in Arabidopsis “in light of new experimental evidence” showing they fingered the wrong mutant gene. The journal editors are hailing the retraction as an “excellent example of self-correction of the scientific record.”

The paper, “Mechanosensitive channel candidate MCA2 is involved in touch-induced root responses in Arabidopsis,” described the abnormally behaving roots of a mca2-null mutant Arabidopsis plant.

A subsequent string of experiments by the same research team—including DNA microarrays, RT-PCR, and a PCR-based genomic deletion analysis—demonstrated that two other mutations that somehow creeped into their experimental populations may have been to blame for the abnormal root behavior.

It’s a notably thorough and informative retraction notice from Frontiers, an open-access publisher with a history of badly handled and controversial retractions and publishing decisions. The notice describes the new experiments and the previous, erroneous results: Read the rest of this entry »