Former university president up to ten retractions

Akihisa Inoue

The former president of Tohoku University in Japan has just had a tenth paper retracted, because it duplicated one of his earlier works.

One of the most recent retractions by materials scientist Akihisa Inoue, late last month, was of a paper in Materials Transactions that had duplicated a now-retracted paper and was subject to an expression of concern in 2012: Continue reading Former university president up to ten retractions

Science standing by for updates as university finds fraud in earthquake paper

Damage from the 2016 Kumamoto earthquake

A researcher at Kyoto University in Japan faked some of the data in a 2017 paper in Science about the deadly Kumamoto earthquake, the university said.

According to media reports about a press conference held today, Kyoto found that the paper’s first author, Aiming Lin, had committed misconduct, including falsification of data and plagiarism. They recommended that Lin retract the paper, and said he would face sanctions, while his co-authors were cleared of wrongdoing.

Science editor in chief Jeremy Berg tells us: Continue reading Science standing by for updates as university finds fraud in earthquake paper

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. Continue reading Late researcher faked Kumamoto earthquake data, university finds

New study finds “important deficiencies” in university reports of misconduct

via NASA

Retraction Watch readers may recall the name Yoshihiro Sato. The late researcher’s retraction total — now at 51 — gives him the number four spot on our leaderboard. He’s there because of the work of four researchers, Andrew Grey, Mark Bolland, and Greg Gamble, all of the University of Auckland, and Alison Avenell, of the University of Aberdeen, who have spent years analyzing Sato’s papers and found a staggering number of issues.
Those issues included fabricated data, falsified data, plagiarism, and implausible productivity, among others. In 2017, Grey and colleagues contacted four institutions where Sato or his co-authors had worked, and all four started investigations. In a new paper in Research Integrity and Peer Review, they describe some of what happened next:

Continue reading New study finds “important deficiencies” in university reports of misconduct

How to investigate allegations of research misconduct: A checklist

Do investigations into research misconduct allegations need better standards? The Association for the Promotion of Research Integrity (APRIN) in Japan, a group of volunteers who “commit themselves to the promotion of research of high integrity” and provide “e-learning material for research ethics education,” thinks so. Today, we present a guest post by Iekuni Ichikawa, who chaired an APRIN committee that recently came up with a new checklist for such investigations, about the effort.

The procedures currently employed by various institutions in Japan are highly variable; hence there is a risk that complainants or respondents might be treated unfairly and that the public might not be informed of the facts of the matters. We organized the Research Misconduct Investigation Standardization Committee of APRIN in July 2017 to propose standardized procedures for handling investigations of alleged research misconduct. Here, we present the “Checklist for Investigating Allegations of Research Misconduct,” the fruits of our discussions. Continue reading How to investigate allegations of research misconduct: A checklist

Japanese stem cell fraud leads to a new retraction

Last March, we reported on the retraction of a 2017 paper in Stem Cell Reports by Kohei Yamamizu and colleagues for widespread fabrication of figures. Turns out the problems were at least five years older than that.

Yamamizu had received a pink slip from his institution, the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA), which had put the blame for the misconduct squarely on his shoulders. (The director of the institute, Nobel winner Shinya Yamanaka, also took some of the blame in a public statement in which he said he bore “a strong responsibility for not having prevented research misconduct at our institute.”)

Yamamizu has a new retraction, but this time’s a bit different. Here’s the notice for the paper, “Protein Kinase A Determines Timing of Early Differentiation through Epigenetic Regulation with G9,” which appeared in Cell Stem Cell in June 2012 (Yamanaka was not a co-author on either study).  Although the statement acknowledges the internal investigation, it doesn’t mention misconduct or name Yamamizu: Continue reading Japanese stem cell fraud leads to a new retraction

Aerospace researchers in Japan up to three retractions

Rachid Amrousse

A pair of researchers in Japan has lost their third paper in a UK journal, which cites problematic images and an institutional investigation for the move.

The 2016 article, “Novel Rh-substituted hexaaluminate catalysts for N2O decomposition,” was written by Rachid Amrousse and Akimasa Tsutsumi, of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, in Sagamihara. It appeared in Catalysis Society & Technology, a publication of the Royal Society of Chemistry, and has been cited seven times, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science.

According to the retraction notice: Continue reading Aerospace researchers in Japan up to three retractions

When researchers from a particular country dominate retraction statistics, what does it mean?

Iekuni Ichikawa

The Retraction Watch Leaderboard of authors with the most retractions is a frequent source of comment and speculation. Why do only men appear on it? And what fields and countries are represented? Here, Iekuni IchikawaProject Professor at Shinshu University and Emeritus Professor of Pediatrics at Vanderbilt University, as well as a co-founder of the Association for the Promotion of Research Integrity (APRIN) in Japan, takes a look at a recent story that referenced our leaderboard — and what those figures really mean.

The authors of Retraction Watch often take pains to point out that the relative rarity of retractions — despite dramatic increases in their rates — make studying them a challenge. But it is often difficult to resist seeking out truth in retraction numbers.

As a case in point, in August Science published an article by Kai Kupferschmidt about research misconduct in Japan that quoted data from the Retraction Watch Leaderboard, pointing that out that although “half of the top 10 are Japanese researchers…only about 5% of published research comes from Japan.” Continue reading When researchers from a particular country dominate retraction statistics, what does it mean?

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: Continue reading Japanese university revokes PhD following a retraction

A year ago, an academic society recommended nine papers be retracted. Journals have retracted only two.

Last year, an academic society recommended that journals retract nine papers by a researcher in Japan who collaborated with a notorious fraudster. Only two have been retracted.

The researcher is Yuhji Saitoh of Yachiyo Medical Center and Tokyo Women’s Medical University, who co-authored many papers with Yoshitaka Fujii, an anethesiologist who holds the dubious distinction of having retracted more papers than any other. Already, Saitoh has retracted 39 papers, many of which were co-authored by Fujii. But it turns out Saitoh was not an entirely innocent bystander: After receiving allegations of misconduct, the Japanese Society of Anesthesiologists (JSA) investigated approximately 40 publications by Saitoh.  

The JSA investigation into Saitoh’s work was prompted, at least in part, by a 2016 analysis (that we covered) from two anesthesiologists— John Carlisle and John Loadsman—who examined dozens of Saitoh’s papers, 23 of which he didn’t write with Fujii. Carlisle and Loadsman identified several potential concerns with Saitoh’s work, including that it was unlikely the sampling had been conducted randomly.

Continue reading A year ago, an academic society recommended nine papers be retracted. Journals have retracted only two.