Dismissed Virologist Gets Job Back

A Japanese virologist fired from his university post for data fabrication will be reinstated.

Naoki Mori was canned by the University of the Ryukyus in Nishihara, Japan, last August after an internal investigation found that his group had manipulated image data in numerous papers. He took the matter to court. As a result of a 4 March court-mediated compromise, Mori told ScienceInsider that the dismissal will be converted to a 10-month suspension. He will be eligible to return to his post as professor in June.

Mori and his co-authors have now retracted 16 papers, according to Retraction Watch. More retractions could be on the way. University officials told ScienceInsider last year that the university's investigative committee raised questions about 38 papers published in 17 journals. Mori acknowledges having reused image data from his own previously published papers without proper citation. But he has continued to claim that his results and conclusions are accurate and unaffected by the image problem. “I think that the judges accepted our opinion,” he wrote in an e-mail to ScienceInsider.

Mori also said that some journals are considering accepting corrected papers. He did not identify the journals.

The university did not respond to e-mails from ScienceInsider. But local press report that the school is expected to issue a statement after an 8 March meeting of its education and research council.