Japan’s RIKEN research center has found misconduct in work that led to two controversial Nature papers, purporting to show an easy way to create stem cells, that have been dogged by criticism for months.
Here’s an excerpt from today’s statement about “six items [RIKEN] has been investigating:”
Regrettably, of the six items, the committee judged two to be instances of research misconduct. Those involved will be strictly dealt with as per the provisions of RIKEN’s internal regulations, and RIKEN will deliberate and implement measures to ensure that this does not happen again.
And here are next steps:
The report concludes that there were two instances of research misconduct. Time will be allowed for an appeal to be made, as stipulated by RIKEN’s regulations, after which disciplinary measures will be taken, including calling for the retraction of the papers.
Those who were not found to have been involved in research misconduct still bear a heavy responsibility for their administrative negligence which allowed the research misconduct to occur. These individuals will also be subjected to disciplinary measures in accordance with RIKEN’s regulations.
RIKEN says it will also establish a committee of outside experts
to review RIKEN’s overall organization from the perspective of the inherent problems that led to the current case of misconduct, and to deliberate and recommend measures for creating a research environment that will prevent future occurrences of research misconduct.
They will also try to verify the STAP phenomenon:
Verification of the STAP phenomena can only be done through scientific inquiry by third parties. To facilitate this process and to encourage active discussion within the scientific community, RIKEN has established its own internal group to verify the results of the STSP experiments. This group will be headed by Dr. Shinichi Aizwa, special advisor to RIKEN, and will share the results of its own rigorous experiments with researchers outside of RIKEN.
The president of RIKEN also issued a statement, as did the director of the institute’s Center for Developmental Biology.
We wrote our most recent Lab Times column — titled “Here We Go Again” — on the incident. The column was filed several weeks ago, before many recent developments.
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