Waseda University checking dissertations for plagiarism in wake of STAP stem cell misconduct finding
Waseda University in Japan says it will be vetting every doctoral dissertation it awards its graduate-level students in Advanced Science & Engineering* for signs of plagiarism, according to a report in the Japan News, a site of the Yomiuri Shimbun. The paper reports that:
Waseda University is investigating all the doctoral theses submitted to [one of] its graduate-level scientific departments, to determine whether plagiarism or any other irregularities were committed, it has been learned.
If any serious misconduct is found, Waseda will consider revoking the doctorates awarded to the theses’ authors by its Graduate School of Advanced Science and Engineering, according to university officials who asked not to be named. Established in 2007, the graduate school has awarded doctorates based on about 280 theses.
Haruko Obokata, a co-author on two controversial Nature papers about STAP stem cells, received her doctorate from Waseda in 2011. An investigation by the RIKEN research institute, where Obokata worked when she published the papers, found at least two instances of misconduct in the work.
According to the Japan News:
Waseda established an investigation committee in March, suspecting that Obokata’s doctoral thesis includes text that was stolen from an overseas website.
The school is also investigating whether there was plagiarism, fabrication, falsification or any other forms of misconduct in theses other than Obokata’s. The school intends to finish its preliminary investigation as early as July, and conduct a more detailed probe if any serious misconduct is found.
There have been accusations on the Internet and elsewhere that several theses that resulted in doctorates from Waseda plagiarized other researchers’ work.
One of Obokata’s co-authors has requested a retraction of the Nature articles.
Update, 10:30 a.m. Eastern, 4/14/14: Corrected first two paragraphs to reflect that this review was only of one department.
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