Japanese university revokes PhD following a retraction

Tokyo Women’s Medical University has stripped a researcher of her PhD, following the retraction of a paper — for data duplication — that was based on her thesis.

The August 30th announcement notes that a degree was revoked on July 20. The announcement does not name the researcher, but refers to degree number 2881, which corresponds to Rika Nakayama’s PhD. The university describes carelessness and errors, but not misconduct.

Here’s a rough Google translation of the announcement:

The thesis which became the application paper is based on the case which was handled at the off-campus facility to which the person belongs. Duplication of case data occurred due to carelessness of the person during the preparation of the paper. Those who created the paper with data duplication applied for a degree, and a degree was approved. Duplication of case data was discovered when this paper was investigated by random monitoring of the facility. That person did not take the form of correction but undertook the withdrawal procedure of the paper from the journal. In recognition of the fact that the dissertation application paper was withdrawn, we decided to cancel the degree award.

Nakayama studied anesthesiology. The paper, “The association of hypotension with the insertion of an abdominal retractor during lower abdominal surgery in pediatric patients: a retrospective observational study,” was first published in Pediatric Anesthesia in April 2015. Here’s the retraction, from December 2017:

The above article from Pediatric Anesthesia, published online on July 7, 2015 in Wiley Online Library (http://wileyonlinelibrary.com) has been retracted by agreement between the authors, the Journal Editor in Chief, Andrew Davidson, and John Wiley & Sons Ltd. The retraction has been agreed following a review of the study data by the authors, which found that cases not satisfying the inclusion criteria were included and that there were data collection errors with respect to the patients’ ages and sexes. As a result, the authors judged that the reproducibility of the results could not be guaranteed and have requested retraction.

The paper’s corresponding author, Takahiro Mihara, of the department of anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Yokohama City University Graduate School of Medicine, tells Retraction Watch:

I feel the judgement is justified, although the reason for the retraction was honest errors.

We could not find contact information for Nakayama, and Mihira declined to say where she is now working.

Hat tip: Lemonstoism, author of World Fluctuation Watch

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