Researcher apologizes for ignoring early warnings about earthquake data

In 2016, three researchers published data they had collected on a series of devastating earthquakes that hit Japan earlier that year.

But, in late September 2017, one of the authors—Hiroyuki Goto—revealed that the Kumamoto Earthquake data contained “wide reaching errors”—and an outside expert had warned him the data might be problematic nine months earlier.  

Goto, an associate professor in the Disaster Prevention Research Institute at Kyoto University, issued two statements in which he acknowledged the errors, but did not indicate how they occurred. According to The Japan Times, Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology is investigating whether the data “was falsified or fabricated due to inconsistencies with other readings taken nearby.” A report in another Japanese paper, The Mainichi, notes that Osaka University—where one of the authors, Yoshiya Hata, works—is looking into the matter as well.

Continue reading Researcher apologizes for ignoring early warnings about earthquake data

Society recommends 9 retractions for co-author of researcher with record number of retractions

The Japanese Society of Anesthesiologists (JSA) has requested the retraction of nine additional papers by a co-author of fraudster Yoshitaka Fujii, after investigating allegations of fraud in dozens of papers.

According to the report, a committee investigated approximately 40 publications by Yuhji Saitoh of Yachiyo Medical Center and Tokyo Women’s Medical University and “identified ten publications with clear ethics violations, one of which has already been retracted.”

Saitoh has collaborated on many papers with Fujii, an anesthesia researcher with more than 180 retractions. As we reported, Saitoh resigned from the JSA when the investigation began, and the society permanently banned him. Continue reading Society recommends 9 retractions for co-author of researcher with record number of retractions

Case report of stem cell therapy in child didn’t meet “ethical standards,” says journal

A journal has retracted a recent case report about a stem cell therapy in a child with cerebral palsy, after discovering the study failed to meet “ethical standards.”

According to the journal, Regenerative Medicine, the ethical issue is that the authors failed to report the case to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare of Japan, which violates the country’s guidelines for conducting stem cell research. Unfortunately, we don’t know much more than that about what happened.

Laura Dormer, editorial director of Future Science Group, which publishes Regenerative Medicine, explained that the paper’s first author, Masato Kantake, requested the retraction because: Continue reading Case report of stem cell therapy in child didn’t meet “ethical standards,” says journal

Bone researcher is up to 17 retractions

A bone researcher has lost three more papers for scientific misconduct.

The new retractions bring Yoshihiro Sato’s total to 17 and put him on our Leaderboard.

According to the retraction notices, Sato asked the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry to retract three of his papers “due to scientific misconduct.” In the letter, Sato—who is corresponding author on all three papers—explained he included co-authors without their consent and that none of the other authors listed worked on the study or article.

In May, the editors issued expressions of concern while they investigated (1, 2, 3), and last month, the journal retracted the three articles.

Here’s the retraction notice for “Amelioration of osteopenia and hypovitaminosis D by 1alpha-hydroxyvitamin D3 in elderly patients with Parkinson’s disease:” Continue reading Bone researcher is up to 17 retractions

Authors retract Science paper after investigation reveals manipulated images

Researchers at a prominent Japanese university have retracted a 2015 paper in Science, after an investigation uncovered image falsification and fabrication.

Last September, the University of Tokyo began an investigation of seven papers from the lab of cell biologist Yoshinori Watanabe after receiving anonymous allegations. In May 2017, the university determined that five papers contained falsified or fabricated images, and announced the results of its investigation on August 1. Two of the papers were published in Science, two in Nature and one in EMBO Reports.

On July 1 2017, EMBO Reports issued an erratum to the 2011 paper flagged in the investigation, correcting issues in several figures. Here’s the retraction notice for “The inner centromere–shugoshin network prevents chromosomal instability,” the 2015 paper in Science and the first of the papers to be retracted: Continue reading Authors retract Science paper after investigation reveals manipulated images

JAMA tells readers: “Caution advised.” Here’s why.

Last week, JAMA issued some unusual notices, letting readers know they should use caution when reading an editorial and letters associated with now-retracted articles by a bone researcher in Japan.

The notices — for papers by Yoshihiro Sato, now up to 14 retractions — remind readers not to heed the results of the now-retracted papers, and alert them to read any associated materials (specifically, an editorial in JAMA and letters in JAMA Internal Medicine) with caution.

The text of the notices describes them as “formal correction notices;” we asked Annette Flanagin, executive managing editor at The JAMA Network, why they chose that approach, instead of an expression of concern or retraction:

Continue reading JAMA tells readers: “Caution advised.” Here’s why.

Elsevier retracts entire issue after mistakenly publishing it online

Publishing giant Elsevier has retracted an entire issue of one of its journals because the contents — abstracts from a conference about child neurology — were never supposed to make it online.

We discovered the retraction after realizing that every aspect of the issue in Brain & Development had been retracted, including the cover, editorial board, and the contents.

We contacted Elsevier, and a spokesperson told us:

Continue reading Elsevier retracts entire issue after mistakenly publishing it online

Uni dings schizophrenia studies for problems with informed consent, other flaws

Psychiatry journals have retracted two papers evaluating a schizophrenia drug after a university in Japan flagged issues, such as a lack of written informed consent.

The papers—published in Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical & Experimental in 2012 and Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences in 2014—examined the safety and effectiveness of an antipsychotic drug in patients with schizophrenia.

According to the retraction notice in Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, the ethics committee at St. Marianna University School of Medicine in Kawasaki found that “the trial included subjects who did not satisfy inclusion criteria.” For instance, not all patients provided written informed consent. But the university found no evidence for data falsification or fabrication.

A spokesperson for Human Psychopharmacology told us: Continue reading Uni dings schizophrenia studies for problems with informed consent, other flaws

“Searching our souls”: Authors retract paper after researcher admits to fabricating data

Researchers at a prominent Japanese university have retracted a 2016 paper in a chemistry journal after the first author admitted to scientific misconduct.

According to the notice, Kyushu University investigated and verified that the first author had committed scientific misconduct.

We requested a copy of the misconduct report, which revealed that the researcher, Prasenjit Mahato, a postdoctoral fellow at Kyushu University who is no longer affiliated with the university, “admitted to falsifying research” in two papers on which he was first author: a highly cited 2015 paper in Nature Materials, which was retracted in 2016, as well as the 2016 paper in Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS), retracted earlier this month. The university investigated and confirmed misconduct in both papers.

We covered the Nature Materials retraction last year, but at the time, the paper’s corresponding author, Nobuo Kimizuka, only told us that the “matter has been under investigation by the formal investigation panel of our University.”

According to the five-page misconduct report — which we translated from Japanese using One Hour Translation and is also available in Japanese on the university’s website — in July 2016, a member of the lab (“Faculty Member B”) began to suspect a problem after he reviewed the data with Mahato (“the defendant”): Continue reading “Searching our souls”: Authors retract paper after researcher admits to fabricating data

Anesthesiology society bans co-author of researcher with record-number of retractions

The Japanese Society of Anesthesiologists has permanently banned a co-author of notorious fraudster Yoshitaka Fujii, after investigating many of his publications for alleged fraud.

According to the announcement last month (in Japanese), a committee investigated approximately 40 publications by Yuhji Saitoh of Yachiyo Medical Center and Tokyo Women’s Medical University in Japan. Saitoh resigned from the society once the investigation started; after the committee found evidence of data manipulation and fraud, the society decided it would permanently ban him as a member.

Saitoh was a frequent co-author of Yoshitaka Fujii, an anesthesia researcher with a record-breaking number of retractions (more than 180). Last year, anesthesia fraud sleuth John Carlisle and a co-author analyzed Saitoh’s papers — including many he didn’t co-author with Fujii — and concluded there was very low likelihood the sampling had been conducted randomly, among other potential concerns.

On May 9, the Japanese Society of Anesthesiologists issued the following statement, which we translated:

Continue reading Anesthesiology society bans co-author of researcher with record-number of retractions