Mori, now up to 11 retractions, was dismissed in August over fraud matter

We’ve been honored by all the attention Retraction Watch has been getting for breaking the story of Naoki Mori—the Japanese virologist who recently received a 10-year publishing ban from the American Society of Microbiology over concerns that he manipulated his images. Mori’s retraction count is now up to 11, we’ve been able to report with help from loyal Retraction Watch tipsters.

So in that spirit, we have to give credit to Dennis Normile at ScienceInsider, for advancing the story a bit. As Normile reports today, Nori lost his job at University of the Ryukyus in August and has resorted to “legal mediation” to get it back. (We’ve been unsuccessful in reaching Mori.)

Normile also heard from Mori’s implicated co-author, Mariko Tomita, who has appeared on several publications with Mori including a 2006 paper in Retrovirology, “Inhibition of constitutively active Jak-Stat pathway suppresses cell growth of human T-cell leukemia virus type 1-infected T-cell lines and primary adult T-cell leukemia cells,” that the journal has retracted.

In an e-mail to ScienceInsider, Tomita wrote that the retraction notice was submitted by Mori without her consent. “I agree with the retraction of the paper, but I do not agree that the corresponding author, Naoki Mori, and I bear equal responsibility,” she wrote. She stated that she has notified the editors of Retrovirology about her concerns. Morita wrote she has not faced disciplinary action. The university confirmed that her responsibility in the matter is still under investigation.

And Normile received a statement from the university:

A statement issued by the university’s public relations office in response to questions from ScienceInsider calls the Retraction Watch description “basically accurate.” According to the statement, “it can be concluded that … control experiments were counterfeited.” The university says it has no plans to publicly release the investigative committee report. “Considering the significance of inherent controls in DNA expression experiments, there is no choice but to call this fabrication,” the statement concludes. The university added that the investigative committee raised questions about 38 papers published in 17 journals and that they were aware of 19 of those being retracted. It did not know the status of the remaining publications.

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