Obokata to retract one stem cell paper


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how embarrassing ... I think she should quit

2 ( +9 / -6 )

how embarrassing ... I think she should quit

I think this was a save-face for Riken and she will be allowed to stay on. I find it hard to believe from her past actions and statements she would have agreed to retract anything nor would she have bowed-out quietly and would have fought any move to terminate her employment so this was probably a negotiated agreement between her lawyer and Rikan. Next, we will see Rikan hand out a demotion and pay-cut and she will then work quietly in the dungeons till the media finally tires of her.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

If Riken continues to soft-pedal on this , it will loose its "respected" status ........and cast a shadow on J's bio-engineering credibility. ...... In North American, Obagata - on the basis of the evidence at hand - would have been summarily dismissed ....Universities do not brook plagiarism nor falsification of data by students nor professors nor researchers. . . . .You are gone !!!!!

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Either she falsified the data or not....Compromise shouldn't be option C.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

For a scientist she is pretty darn good looking. I say give her a second chance.

-15 ( +3 / -18 )

For a scientist she is pretty darn good looking.

Which is probably how she got in her position to begin with.

9 ( +15 / -7 )

... and the media continues their campaign of misinformation...

has agreed to retract one of the two papers published in the respected journal Nature

No, she retracted her letter (non-peer reviewed) to Nature, not the actual article (peer reviewed).

The bottom line here is to get Obokata back into the lab, let her reproduce her experiments and results for her peers. If she can do that she's in the clear. But they won't let her back in the lab, and that's like asking someone to prove their innocence without access to evidence.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )


For a scientist she is pretty darn good looking.

Which is probably how she got in her position to begin with.

Exactly. I'm sure she had the credentials to be hired initially, but it's her looks (relatively speaking) and quirkiness in a field mostly devoid of other women that permitted her to succeed to the level that she has, contributed to the debacle that this research of hers has become, and has been the reason the media has devoted a disproportionate amount of their attention to her. In the words of my Japanese wife, who is herself a maverick yet successful leader in her business field here, someone of Obokata's mediocrity and caliber wouldn't have gotten as far as she has if she wasn't in a male-dominated field that pandered to her.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

But her lawyer said that she won’t withdraw the main paper, and insists she successfully created STAP cells on several occasions.

And yet she can't replicate it as proof.... interesting

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@ Which is probably how she got in her position to begin with.

This is science not some kind of public relations studies.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

If Riken continues to soft-pedal on this , it will loose its "respected" status ........and cast a shadow on J's bio-engineering credibility.

semperfi, you have to understand, the damage to Riken will be worse if Riken goes hard. That is because Riken will wind up forced to admit the more general culpability in this incident. Obakata might be the main player, but she is still being scapegoated for the failures of others too. Riken is betting that the world, including the scientific world, is not so logical as to put more stock in a general house cleaning than a general denial that a bunch of stuff didn't happen. Given what I know of people and logic, I am afraid that Riken is probably correct.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

No, she retracted her letter (non-peer reviewed) to Nature, not the actual article (peer reviewed).

No, a Letter is a type of peer-reviewed publication reserved for the kind of science that is so important that it should be rapidly processed.

Most journals publish several different kind of pieces, Letters (sometimes called Communications) are the most prestigious and have a strict page limit to allow for quick refereeing, Articles (Papers) are normal full length writeups, Reviews (often invited) are reviews of the field or of one's own work with new data rarely presented (although, sometimes also with new data), Comments and Replies (Letters to the Editor) for pointing out flaws in recent publications, and Errata (Corrections) for correcting minor flaws (often typos made in print). There are many others as well, of course, like opinion pieces that might not be peer reviewed. Every type of submission I wrote about above, however, with the exception of Errata, typically go through peer review.

For the types of submissions to Nature proper (as opposed to sister journals like Nature Materials), see For even more detail see, where Letters are clearly indicated as peer-reviewed material.

In a sense, then, Obokata is retracting the more prestigious of the publications, although to publish in Nature, this distinction between a Letter and an Article hardly matters. It is pointed out here that it should have in fact been the Article that should be retracted, not the Letter. In the comments someone pointed out that this might have to do with patent pending legalities.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

You people need to STOP going on about her looks, this ^%#$ never happens when men are involved, it should stop already for petes sake! Would hate to be a woman having to work with you lot!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

She looks to me like a plastic doll. It is hard to read her inner soul.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I find it veeeery interesting that most of the Japanese women I know (well, the clever ones) were wary of her from the start, mainly because of her childish way of speaking. "Fake," is what they said. They didn't really trust her as a woman, and now they certainly don't trust her as a scientist.

I've also heard unsubstantiated rumours that she was having a most un-mentor-like relationship with her older, powerful mentor, which might explain a lot about how she landed that gig in the first place ... ?

2 ( +6 / -4 )

All the people who thinks she got this position because of her beauty? DO YOU GUYS HAVE ANY IDEA ? what is Postdoc, specially in stem cell research field?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

She fabricated/plagiarized results and is lying to cover, plain and simple. Who gives a heck what she looks like? In academia, credibility is everything when publishing research and if you foul your name it's basically impossible to reclaim. If the institute wants to keep its credibility they shouldn't have compromised.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

She is real pretty. She should get a job now as a model or TV talento.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Did she just fail to cite references or did she deliberately fabricate data? In any case Waseda's reputation takes a hit for not checking her dissertation carefully.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

She's NOT pretty, just not horribly plain. Now, can we move on to her actual claims of scientific research?

2 ( +4 / -2 )


While I agree completely that the focus should be on the science, she is very pretty....

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Pride before a fall, why prolong the agony, Haruko Obokata should withdrawing all research and start again from the beginning.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

She's NOT pretty, just not horribly plain. Now, can we move on to her actual claims of scientific research? Huh?... Huh? Not pretty ? I agree the focus should be on her work but she is hot. And I don't care what anyone says.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Readers, no more comments on her looks, please.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"within weeks of her paper on so-called Stimulus-Triggered Acquisition of Pluripotency (STAP) cells being published, questions began to emerge, with fellow scientists saying they could not replicate her results."

Ans still no one has been able to do so. This is disappointing in the extreme.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I'm not getting the swirl on this...She (and her team) apparently used photos that were not of the actual experiment in some of the reports. That's the drama part of this whole thing and frankly is not of major interest to me. The part of interest to me is the scientific point of this whole event. She stands by the fundamental results of her experiment. The science part is whether her research is accurate or not. Hold a conference (doesn't have to be media there but make sure other scientists are there) and replicate the experiment under the conditions that she says is needed....After that, everyone can see if it worked or didn't work...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

If her experiments were done properly then others should be able to reproduce the results. Since that's not able to be done it calls into question the methodology. Once it was found out that the data was not accurate the scientific community would decide the whole thing was a house of cards and question the credibility of the researcher(s). She might still stand by the "fundamentals" but now she has to prove them again, and have the results duplicated independently. Everybody is going to be skeptical until that happens. And finding the grant money to do the work under those conditions is going to be difficult.

In other words, unless she finds a white knight her career is, basically, over.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

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