Science 21 March 2014:
Vol. 343 no. 6177 pp. 1299-1300
News & Analysis

Irreproducibility Dogs New Reprogramming Method

Dennis Normile, Gretchen Vogel | 1 Comments

As scientists around the world attempt to reproduce a new way to make stem cells—so far without success—Science has learned that several co-authors on the feted papers have not yet made the cells either.

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Not knowing anything on this particular case I cannot comment on specifics. However, having worked 15 years for RIKEN in the role of principal investigator (Laboratory Head) I can report that RIKEN has a very soft interpretation of “research misconduct”. I personally had been severely harassed (and finally found unsuitable to continue my work at RIKEN) because I was not willing to tolerate events, that I my word constitute “research misconduct”, such as plagiarisms, blackmail to gain inappropriate co-authorships, and publication of results that are inconsistent with better knowledge of the authors or that are described in an intentionally misleading way. My suggestion would be that Japanese figures of authority should, instead of occasional deep bows, provide “society” (be it the “ordinary people”, as they are termed in Japan or scientific communities) with best knowledge information and enforce appropriate ethical guidelines.

Professor Thomas Knöpfel, London

Submitted on Sun, 03/23/2014 - 09:43