Editors from 23 journals have sent a letter to officials at seven Japanese universities that once employed anesthesiologist Yoshitaka Fujii to demand they validate some 193 papers he has written and published, reports Retraction Watch's Adam Marcus. The editors say that if the papers are not validated, they will be retracted en masse. "Fujii, as we have reported, was fired by Toho University in late February, putatively for failing to obtain ethics approval for a handful of his studies," Marcus says. "That much may be true, but the integrity of his data has been in question for more than a decade." The editors have asked for confirmation on three items: that all the studies occurred as represented in the papers, that the original data was examined and verified as authentic, and that the appropriate approval was given for each study before it was conducted. If the papers are retracted, Fujii would hold the record for most retractions from a single author, Marcus adds, surpassing German anesthesiologist Joachim Boldt, who has 90.
ScienceInsider's Dennis Normile says that the journal editors likely won't get those confirmations. "According to Ken Takamatsu, dean of the university's faculty of medicine, Fujii told Toho's investigating committee that he had discarded the experimental data for all of the studies then being questioned, but he claimed there had been no fabrication," Normile says. Takamatsu tells ScienceInsider that there is no evidence of fabrication, but that the university doesn't think the papers are "truthful."