Ninth retraction appears for cardiology researcher Matsubara

matsubaraHiroaki Matsubara, a former Kyoto Prefectural University cardiology researcher who resigned last year following an investigation, has had another paper retracted, his ninth.

Here’s the notice from Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology:

For the article by Asako Katsume, Mitsuhiko Okigaki, Akihiro Matsui, Jishan Che, Yasushi Adachi, Eigo Kishita, Shinichiro Yamaguchi, Koji Ikeda, Tomomi Ueyama, Satoaki Matoba, Hiroyuki Yamada, and Hiroaki Matsubara (Early inflammatory reactions in atherosclerosis are induced by proline-rich tyrosine kinase/reactive oxygen species–mediated release of tumor necrosis factor-α and subsequent activation of the p21Cip1/Ets-1/p300 system. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2011;31:1084–1092; DOI: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.110.221804), after an investigation by the Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine Investigation Committee, the Committee found figures in the referenced article were falsified by Dr. Okigaki.

The editors, therefore, hereby retract the article.

Okigaki appears to be an author on just one of Matsubura’s eight other retracted papers.

The Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology paper has been cited 11 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. As we’ve noted:

Matsubara has been part of what has become a complicated story involving Novartis, whose drug valsartan (Diovan) was the subject of the now-retracted Kyoto Heart Study, which Matsubara led.

3 thoughts on “Ninth retraction appears for cardiology researcher Matsubara”

  1. Amazing. So “figures” (vague reference) were manipulated by the second author of the paper alone, without the knowledge of the first author and the PI? Well I cannot recall a single occassion where I was first author of a manuscript and did not have access to all the raw data (even from external collaboratators I usually request at list a spreadsheet as a minimum)…

    PS I am not a statistical expert but for example in Fig 1A the error bars completely overlap, and that excludes any possibility of significance, as according to the methods section the error bars represent the standard error. This could have been an easy prey and a red flag for any reviewer.

    1. BB, an excellent observation. What is astonishing is, as you point out, how 12 authors did not seem to see, read carefully, or ignorantly approved errors. This either shows collective dishonesty, collective ignorance, or collective irresponsibilty. Make your pick, but all choices stink. Of greater concern, and this is an issue that nobody likes to touch because they prefer some researcher to take the hit, is what infrastructure this Japanese university had in place. Why is it that one cannot find any story anywhere about Kyoto Prefectural University’s modus operandii relates to research and publishing ethics? We have seen RIKEN and Waseda University, with Obokata, and some other high-profile researchers and research institutes from Japan suffering some really embarassing cases caused by unethical behaviour. But, we fail to see what reforms are in place in Japan, what universities are doing nation-wide to address bad laboratory practices and poor publishing quality control. Nothing, absolutely nothing. All we get is Abenomics. What Prime MInister Abe needs to understand is that for long-term development, he needs to implement strict academic quality control measures in public and private universities that can meet international standards. I fear that we are seeing a serious degradation of scientific values, as bad as the banking sector.

      1. What makes me sick to the gut is to see honest working middle class Japanese families working literally to death, still having to buy half-price fish and milk at the supermarket after 5 pm while this ivory tower of arrogant class of scientific elites reap 5-6 figure (in JPN Yen) salaries monthly, fat grants and juicy travel grants to promote their maniplulated studies at “international” congresses. Why is Matsubara not behind bars? Why has Matsybara not been forced, by law, to do community service to repay his “crimes”? Why has his bank account not been emptied to retrospectively repay the money he squandered presenting the global scientific community with fake or manipulated studies? What will it take for the scientific masses to start to revolt against this type of ivory tower elitist and demand real justice? I get the feeling that scientists have enough common sense, and experience, to know that justice cannot be achieved through traditional legal channels, but if there isn’t an explosive revolt soon, then science is doomed. One needs just to follow the evolution of science, through science publishing, in the past 5-10 years, to get the sense that something almost apocalyptic is going to happen, or needs to happen, in science. And if the apocalypse is to come, then why not start with severe justice to “academic criminals” like Matsubara, not just some petty retraction that most likely only bruises his ego?

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