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Fraud in hundreds of articles

A recent editorial in the journal Anesthesiology profiled a researcher who committed fraud in hundreds of scientific articles. An investigation by the Japanese Society of Anesthesiologists found that anesthesiologist Hironobu Ueshima fabricated data and committed other types of fraud, such as false attribution of authorship, in 142 papers. An inquiry by Showa University in Tokyo, where Ueshima worked, came to the same conclusion. So far, only six articles have been retracted.

“If all the 142 articles are ultimately retracted, Ueshima would become the third anesthesiologist with retractions numbering in the triple digits,” highlights the editorial, written by Evan Kharasch of Duke University, USA, the journal’s editor in chief. The other two were Yoshitaka Fujii of Toho University, Japan, who has had 183 articles retracted, and Joachim Boldt of the University of Giessen, Germany, with 105. “This is an ignominious distinction for both these individuals and our specialty. Perioperative medicine has a dominant presence in scientific misconduct,” lamented Kharasch.

Hironobu Ueshima was dismissed from Showa University last year, and three coauthors of his articles were also punished: Hiroshi Otake lost his position as head of the anesthesiology department, while Eiko Hara and Sakatoshi Yoshiyama had their doctorates revoked. The investigations into the group were sparked by a complaint from Australian anesthesiologist John Loadsman, who found evidence of misconduct in one of the articles and contacted Showa University.