Late researcher faked Kumamoto earthquake data, university finds

Damage from the 2016 Kumamoto earthquake, via Wikimedia

A researcher in Japan who published at least five papers about a deadly 2016 earthquake faked some of the data, Osaka University announced late last week.

Yoshiya Hata resigned his Osaka post and later died, according to media outlet NHK. He claimed to have studied the April 2016 Kumamoto earthquake, which killed at least 50 people, and injured thousands.

In October 2017, we reported that Hiroyuki Goto, of Kyoto University and one of Hata’s co-authors, had apologized because he said that the data contained “wide reaching errors.” One of the papers the two co-authored earned an editor’s note.

Hata’s findings were based on three temporary observation points, according to an investigation from Osaka University released on Friday. However, those data were from ground surface records obtained elsewhere.

The faked data appear to have made their way into five papers, in journals including Seismological Research Letters, Structural Engineering Journal, and Earth, Planets and Space.

In a statement, the university said:

The occurrence of such a case was truly regrettable, and it undermined the society’s overall trust in scientific research, and caused a great deal of inconvenience to everyone involved, including those affected by the earthquake.

Hat tip: Lemonstoism, author of World Fluctuation Watch

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