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Obokata agrees to retract stem cell papers: RIKEN

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Out of curiosity, who were the fellow scientists that tried to replicate her results? Anyone know?

8 ( +10 / -2 )

@ohayo206

practically every scientist in the field of stem cells was trying to reproduce them without any success. This well-known site covered it quite extensively: http://www.ipscell.com/

wow, i'm in shock that she retracted both papers when she recently said she would only retract one of them. this really does call into question how much blame should be placed on vacanti et al and the magazine nature. how could they have missed something so huge.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Haruko Obokata's 'iken' (opinion) can't stand powerful RIKEN, poor girl will do whatever she is asked to do.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

There were couple dozen... and I'm more curious as to why you want to know the names... the most important factor was that this was supposedly an "easy path" to stem cells and when many have trouble replicating including one of the senior author Dr. Wakayama, nothing else really matters imo.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

She doesn't strike me as being a deliberate fraud, but I do wonder if she might have just deluded herself into believing she had made a discovery and manipulated others to fool them into playing along.

But she doesn't strike me as being a nut case either. So I'm rooting for her to resolve these issues and come back and prove these STAP cells aren't just a figment of her imagination.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

One of the weirdest stories of the year. I don't know if she lied or not, or if she made a mistake or not, but it's obvious the pressure on her from some of her oyaji sempai is immense. First, she refused to retract her papers. Then, she retracted some. Now, she agrees to retract all.

Come on,manybody can see that the "respectable" Riken is applyingbthe pressure, dirty style, here. I suspect some of the old boys have too much to lose and they want her to take the fall. Would love to see some serious reporting about this case, perhaps some real, western style digging? Yeah, yeah, I know, it won't happen...

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

For Haruko Obokata any other course of action would have just drawn out the process from today's inevitable conclusion.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Ah, the scapegoat! Tomorrow one of Riken's old, male scientists will miraculously produce Stap cells, mark my words.

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

"I suspect some of the old boys have too much to lose and they want her to take the fall."

I think you've been watching too many Hollywood movies. It's blindingly clear that she was highly irresponsible and loose with the truth, forcing the RIKEN officials to make an extremely difficult and embarrassing decision for the sake of science and the integrity of their institution.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

JLee - Riken's integrity is already under question for their irresponsible manner in which this affair was monitored and administered.

Since when do recently appointed junior associates have seemingly no-bounds criteria for publishing research. I say no bounds because Riken as the controlling supervising institution, apparently gave open license to Obokata - or - were delinquent in their expected senior supervisory & monitoring role. Either way, the buck stops with Riken.

Riken certainly has lost face in the science world, due purely to it's own inadequacies.

Sloppy leadership.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Most scientists themselves make a clear distinction between error and fraud. Error is acknowledged to be not only an inevitable but an important, indeed a natural part of the quest for knowledge. There is scarcely any opprobrium to getting it wrong if you do it right. Most scientist acknowledge that, in order for any scientist to reach beyond the routine of normal research, some will reach beyond their grasp. But the identification and correction of errors are among the engines that drive research. However by contrast fraud has other purposes and frequently diverts legitimate research into blind alleys. Thus it unravels the fabric of trust that is essential to the cooperative enterprise that modern science has become. Although it may be difficult in some situations to distinguish between deliberate falsification and inadvertent error, it is possible and important to do so in principle. In the end whether or not they function consistently and effectively, institutional mechanism to reduce the number and the significance of errors are an integral part of scientific research.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"Scapegoat," eh? Tell me, in the six months that Ms. Obokata has spent nearly every day hunkered down in conference with her numerous attorneys...did she ever once offer, request or demand to be allowed to prove to the world, in public, with peers watching, that her "relatively straightforward" method for producing Stap cells could actually be reproduced?

Why didn't she spend the time in labs, in Japan or in the US? Why no communication with Harvard University, a school with the world's largest endowment and surely the lab space necessary for Obokata to quickly perform what she claims to have done numerous times before? Instead, she disappears, stops researching, and becomes...a scapegoat?

I wonder how many critics of RIKEN here at JT had even heard of the group before they decided to despise it? To clean up a rather dirty idiom, I shall paraphrase: Hurry up and do your business, Obokata, or else get off the friggin' pot!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Since when do recently appointed junior associates have seemingly no-bounds criteria for publishing research. I say no bounds because Riken as the controlling supervising institution, apparently gave open license to Obokata - or - were delinquent in their expected senior supervisory & monitoring role. Either way, the buck stops with Riken.

Well, on the other hand, if they were too restrictive and this incident did not make the news, there would have been other articles published, criticizing them for being overly inflexible, hindering the rise of the young, getting in the way of a woman's legitimate rise, blah blah blah.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

BNlightened: '"Scapegoat", eh?'

Ummm... absolutely! Tell me... if you were a magazine or newspaper company and produced fraudalant news, printed it, then tried to sell it world-wide, upon whom does the responsibility rest for the error? The writer bears some, for sure, but ultimately it's the editors and the company who gave it the okay that are to blame. So far, what blame have you seen Riken take? How about Obokata's fellow researchers?

As to why she has not given over the key ingredient in her success to the media, that's another question that is obvious if you know even the slightest thing about patents. The second she proves her data completely in print or in practice, to a public that just wants a young woman smarter than them shot down, Germany or the US will have the patent before the media can write it down.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

if you were a magazine or newspaper company and produced fraudalant news, printed it, then tried to sell it world-wide, upon whom does the responsibility rest for the error? The writer bears some, for sure, but ultimately it's the editors and the company who gave it the okay that are to blame.

In what world? In every case I have ever seen where a writer or reporter has faked news or reports, it has been the writer or reporter that has taken the fall and rightly so. The writer or reporter is trusted with actually truthfully doing their job. Are you now also going to blame Nature as well for publishing it? No, the responsibility goes with the author(s).

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Poor woman! She put her heart and soul into that research and those RIKEN people order her to retract her papewrs!? That's outrageous!

She should just quit RIKEN, leave Japan and start over somewhere else!

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

slumdog: "In what world?"

In THIS world, my friend! Not sure which one you subscribe to, but even in Japan with lax laws against slander the Shukan Weekly or other mags, not only the writers, are punished for printing something. Obviously you've never worked in media. If you are an editor, your job is to read the content to be printed and EDIT it, and then ultimately give it the okay to be printed. That means what is printed is signed off by YOU. And let's make no mistake Rikuten had no trouble taking their share of the glory when the results were first let out.

"The writer or reporter is trusted with actually truthfully doing their job."

Who hires them and prints their words?

"Are you now also going to blame Nature as well for publishing it?"

Are you now going to come back down to earth and perhaps give a mature reply?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

... and as soon as the patents are withdrawn too there'll suddenly be a mad rush by a dozen scientists to publish "groundbreaking research" the looks suspiciously like STAP cells (but of course is named something else) and patent the multi-trillion dollar technology.

Of course nobody wants to publish research replicating Obokata's results while there's a shadow of a hope she could withdraw the research and they could make trillions. Altruism is one thing, but biotech is big money.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Ms. Obokata should have withdrawn her papers at the beginning of scandal instead of putting on a big fuss on a lost cause.

Hopefully, Japanese people and science community would be still able to forgive her wrongdoings and her get-fame quick schema (apparently Obokata’s papers were largely based on a hypothesis and little on the scientific proofs) allowing her to stay in her field.

A lesson should be learned form Ms. Obokata's case by Japanese public in particular, fighting for moral values is way better than fighting for so called “pride” and “glory”.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

In THIS world, my friend!

I do not know what cases you are talking about, so I can't comment about them. However, if a publication is complicit in faking something, of course they are going to be responsible. Are you suggesting that Rikken knew Obokata's work was faked (assuming that it is)? What proof do you have?

Are you now going to come back down to earth and perhaps give a mature reply?

? You suggested publications are responsible for writers faking things. Nature published her paper. So, if her paper is faked, wouldn't you be suggesting Nature is responsible? (You did realize I was talking about the journal and not the nature around us all, didn't you?)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

You've still got your looks, Ms. Obokata! In seriousness - can research scientists ever make a "comeback" from this type of situation? Curious...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

So she is disgraced, what of the other scientist who attached their names to her report. What of the university and the accreditation department...cause a fraud can't just walk into a laboratory and take up 12 months of investigation for the fun of it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Scientific achievement is verifiable. Scientific manipulation (especially, data) is a new game in town, and is being used for various reasons with quantum leap justification! Regardless, the new scientific discovery will continue.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Many scientists tried and failed to reproduce the results but many irregularities were noticed http://www.ipscell.com/stap-new-data/ and some have even suggested that the STAP cells were other pluripotent cells (ES cells) that some how got mixed up.http://gahalog.2chblog.jp/archives/52271112.html http://www.ipscell.com/stap-new-data/#comment-24420 In my humble opinion, a big reason why it took this long for the papers to be retracted is because those around handled Dr. Obogata with reverence, and sympathy, because they were afraid to be labelled a chauvinistic old men as they are now still being labelled, even though there is this this much contravening evidence.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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