Posts Tagged ‘Kyoto Prefectural University’

Update on Matsubara

March 13, 2012

In December I posted about the suspicious goings on at Kyoto Prefectural University:

A Japanese investigative website (http://blog.m3.com/Retraction/) has found 12 published articles where manipulation of images is very likely. The suspicious images in the papers published by the Matsubara lab are carefully deconstructed by Abnormal Science in an ongoing series of posts: herehere and here.

Today Retraction Watch reports that the efforts of M3 (now discontinued) and Abnormal Science have not gone unnoticed:

The American Heart Association, which publishes a number of journals, has issued an Expression of Concern about five papers in three of their publications, following allegations of image manipulation. All of the papers include Hiroaki Matsubara, of Kyoto Prefectural University, as a co-author.

The notice begins:

It has come to the attention of the American Heart Association (AHA), in a public manner, that there are questions concerning a number of figures in several AHA journals’ articles…

The “public manner” was three posts last year on the Abnormal Science blog… alleging that images were manipulated in the manuscripts, and that histology slides were reused.

The notice continues:

After reviewing these concerns, we have asked the institution, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, to investigate the allegations. Until we learn the outcome, we feel it is best to post this Expression of Concern to alert our readers that concerns about these articles have been raised.

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Suspicious goings on at Kyoto Prefectural University

December 20, 2011

Hiroaki Matsubara

Hiroaki Matsubara  has been Professor of Cardiology and Vascular Regenerative Medicine at Kyoto Prefectural University’s School of Medicine since 2003 and was earlier at Kansai  Medical University.

A Japanese investigative website (http://blog.m3.com/Retraction/) has found 12 published articles where manipulation of images is very likely. The suspicious images in the papers published by the Matsubara lab are carefully deconstructed by Abnormal Science in an ongoing series of posts: here, here and here.

Joerg Zwirner of Abnormal Science comments:

(Part 1) Taken together, articles 1-5 are distinguished by the extensive reuse and mutual exchange of data, in particular Western and Northern Blot bands. A single band has been reused up to eigth times in distinct blots in Kidney Int. 2002. 
It is apparent that band images from ‘real’ blots may have been digitally reassembled into new blot images pretending to be derived from distinct experimental settings. Since ‘reconfigured blots’ have been densimetrically scanned and the results illustrated in tables and figures, we are presumably confronted with a case of severe data fabrication. …..

(Part 2) ….. The images on the left were derived from nude rats, the images on the right from C57BL/J mice. ….

Apparently, histological images have been modified by the exchange/addition of image fragments. According to the figure legend, “five fields from two muscle samples of each animal (n=10) were randomly selected, and capillary density was shown as the capillary/muscle fiber ratio.”

Can we call this practice experimental science or should we term it digital art?

Apparently, anything goes.

(Part 3)….. Of note, the only coauthor on all 12 articles is Hiroaki Matsubara. The sheer scope of the alleged manipulations in these 12 articles is reminiscent of the research misconduct investigations at Borstel/Germany into the work of Prof. Bulfone-Paus and at NUS/Singapore into the work of Prof. Melendez.

The Japanese M3 Blog is run by just one person with its readership mainly among doctors but apparently runs a serious risk of being shut down by legal threats as has happened with an earlier investigative blog.


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