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.
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.
In 2016, the institution began an investigation of seven papers from Watanabe’s lab after receiving anonymous allegations. In August 2017, the university announced the result: Five papers contained falsified or fabricated images. One — a 2015 Science paper — has already been retracted.
When someone has to retract a paper for misconduct, what are the odds they will do it again? And how can we use that information to stop repeat offenders? Those are the questions that Toshio Kuroki of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and Akira Ukawa of RIKEN set out to tackle in their new paper, appearing in Accountability in Research. Not surprisingly, they found that people with multiple retractions are more likely than others to have another — and when people have at least five retractions, the odds are significantly higher.
Retraction Watch: Why did you decide to examine the chances of researchers retracting additional papers?
Kyoto University has “punitively dismissed” a researcher found guilty of falsifying nearly all of the figures in a 2017 stem cell paper.
According to an announcement Wednesday, the university fired the paper’s corresponding author, Kohei Yamamizu, after determining he had fabricated and falsified datain all but one figure in the 2017 Stem Cell Reportspaper. The findings of the investigation, which were announced in January, found that Yamamizu, whoworked at the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA), was the only person responsible for the manipulation.