As with the previous Mori retractions, the latest ones — of papers published in 2007 and 2010 — involve unreliable images. Mori, you’ll recall, had recycled control blots from study to study over the years, and was dismissed from his academic post in August.
The 2007 paper, “Activation of hypoxia-inducible factor 1 in human T-cell leukaemia virus type 1-infected cell lines and primary adult T-cell leukaemia cells,” also included a frequent co-author Mariko Tomita, who has been implicated in the deception. It has been cited 15 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. The 2010 article, “Inhibition of Akt/GSK3β signalling pathway by Legionella pneumophila is involved in induction of T-cell apoptosis,” has not yet been cited.
In each case, the retraction notice is the same:
Following an investigation by the University of the Ryukyus, which revealed that figures that appeared within this paper had also been used in other papers without appropriate attribution or explanation (a pattern repeated over a number of publications in different journals), the Editorial Board of the Biochemical Journal retract this paper. The last author, Naoki Mori, takes full responsibility for the misrepresentation of data in this paper.
For those of you keeping track at home: Sixteen retractions, while a lot, is far from the record. Just last week, we noted that Keehyun Park retracted 17 at once, The record now looks to be securely in the hands of Joachim Boldt, whose current total is 23, putting him ahead of Henrik Schoen and Scott Rueben, each with 21. But it will probably go much higher, with another 67 papers under serious review.