Photo by Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images.
A Japanese anesthesiologist is likely to clinch the world record for most retractions by a single author after a panel found that he fabricated 172 papers over the last 19 years, Science reports.
An investigation of 212 of Yoshitaka Fujii’s 249 published papers found that he had invented patients, forged evidence that medication was administered, and signed on as co-authors other scientists who had no idea they were affiliated with his research.
“It is as if someone sat at a desk and wrote a novel about a research idea,” the committee investigating Fujii’s work wrote in a June 29 report. The study found that Fujii started fabricated results in 1993 and continued the pattern during stints at three different institutions.
If the journals that published Fujii’s papers decide to retract them, which is likely, the Japanese scientist will clinch the world record for most retractions with nearly double the previous record-holder, German anesthesiologist Joachim Boldt, who fabricated 90.
Fortunately, nothing he published was regarded as very important, which is how his vault of fabricated material went undetected for decades. Popular Science offers some of his compelling titles, including “Antiemetic efficacy of low-dose midazolam in patients undergoing thyroidectomy,” and “Low-dose propofol to prevent nausea and vomiting after laparoscopic surgery.”