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May 8, 2014

Results of deliberation on STAP cell research paper appeal

On April 8, 2014, Dr. Haruko Obokata appealed the March 31, 2014 findings of research misconduct made by the investigative committee set up by RIKEN to look into the allegations related to the two STAP cell papers published in Nature.

In response to this appeal, the investigative committee deliberated on whether a re-investigation was warranted. The committee has reported on its conclusions to RIKEN, and this is now made public.

Given the conclusions of the committee, RIKEN has decided not to re-investigate the case. Hereafter, it will proceed with the necessary measures stipulated in RIKEN’s Regulations on the Prevention of Research Misconduct (Reg. No. 61, Sep 13, 2012).

Dr. Obokata has been notified of the investigative committee’s deliberations on the appeal and RIKEN’s subsequent decision, and has been advised to retract the one paper found to have instances of research misconduct.

Measures to prevent further instances of research misconduct

RIKEN’s office for internal reform, headed by RIKEN President Ryoji Noyori, has commissioned a Reform Committee of outside experts to deliberate and recommend measures to create a research environment that will prevent future occurrences of research misconduct. The Reform Committee is carrying on with its deliberations at the moment. Once it has made its report, RIKEN will undertake the recommended measures and otherwise work to regain public trust in its research activities.

Verification of the STAP phenomenon

A group headed by Dr. Shinichi Aizawa, special advisor to RIKEN, has begun efforts to verify the results of the STAP experiments. The results achieved by the group will be shared with researchers outside of RIKEN to encourage others in the scientific community to actively pursue similar efforts at verification.


Note: The committee’s full report is available in Japanese, but not in English yet. The English translation will be made available once it is completed.