A gastroenterology journal has issued an extensive expression of concern about a 2013 paper by Yoshihiro Sato, a Japanese endocrinologist who has posthumously been climbing the Retraction Watch leaderboard. (He’s now ranked number three, ahead of Diederik Stapel.)
To call the statement an “expression of concern” is like calling Charles M. Schulz a talented cartoonist, or Escoffier a pretty good cook. Indeed, the journal expresses so much concern, about, well, so much, that we’re not sure what in the paper would be left unscathed.
Sato, formerly of Hirosaki University, currently has 77 retractions for a range of misconduct-related issues including likely data fabrication and duplication.
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 mediareports 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.
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:
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
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
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.
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 Ichikawa, Project 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.