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Ryoji Noyori, RIKEN President, has accepted some significant discrepancies in the process of preparing data for Japanese stem cell study published in the journal on stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency (STAP) cells, questioning the credibility of scientific community.
Some issues have been raised regarding credibility of the two articles which were published in the January 30 edition of Nature by 14 researchers from RIKEN, Harvard University and Tokyo Women's Medical University.
Earlier, it was announced by scientists from the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in Kobe, Japan, that they have led a discovery of stem cells using blood cells. But, now the scientists are considering retracting the study as they are not sure about outcomes of the research. The study was under intense scrutiny ever since its publication.
Although the research was criticized by some of the scientists as the researchers were unsuccessful in repeating their method to create these cells, it was considered as ground-breaking.
Masatoshi Takeichi, director of the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology, said that some mistakes seriously damaging credibility of articles have been discovered, ordering the co-authors to retract the articles.
Noyori, a Nobel laureate in chemistry, added that investigation is going on to withdraw such articles with discrepancies. Haruko Obokata, RIKEN researcher and Charles Vacanti, Professor at Harvard Medical School, co-authors of the research published in January 30, agreed to the retraction of the articles.
On interviewing four researchers and investigating six materials related to the articles from February 20 to March 12, committee found questionable images and suspected plagiarism in some of the items. The committee also found inappropriate handling of data in two of the items under investigation.
Shunsuke Ishii, investigation committee chairman, said: “Our investigation so far hasn't found anything that constitutes complete fabrication”.