University of Tokyo says 43 published papers should be retracted due to irregularities
An investigative panel at the University of Tokyo has concluded that a research group from the university's Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences should retract 43 papers published between 1996 and 2011, as they contain false data and other irregularities.
The research group was led by Shigeaki Kato, a widely known endocrinologist who headed a national project that was granted 2 billion yen in funding between 2004 and 2009. More than 20 researchers are listed as co-authors of the papers in question. While Kato denied involvement in any falsification in an interview with the Mainichi Shimbun, he said he "would accept the university's decisions."
The investigation was sparked January last year in the wake of allegations from an outside source. Kato resigned from his position March last year to take responsibility.
In an investigation on a total of 165 papers published after Kato's arrival in 1996, the university discovered fabricated data including photoshopped and partially deleted materials.
The university's investigative team concluded that 43 papers should be retracted and said that another 10 needed to be revised. The papers cover a wide range of topics, from fat-cell increases associated with obesity, to DNA multiplication through cell division.
Although the university believes that Kato wasn't directly involved in falsification of the data, it held that the way he managed the research resulted in misconduct.
"The papers damaged the university's social credibility while greatly affecting the future of young researchers," a member of the investigation panel said.
According to Kato, he was in charge of checking experimental results and revising papers.
"I think my team members rushed to obtain successful results. I'm sorry for troubling the university, the institute, and the science committee and I'm working on retracting the papers," Kato commented.
July 25, 2013(Mainichi Japan)