In spite of the Riken Institute’s recommendation that stem cell researcher Haruko Obokata retract her paper, she remains committed to stand by her research and has no plans of withdrawing it, according to her lawyer, Hideo Miki. Obokata came under fire when the government-funded research center said that she falsified data on a controversial research on stem cells.
Just last week, Riken came out with the results of their in-house investigation saying they stand by the results that Obokata has falsified data with “malicious intent” making the results of her research on stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency (STAP) cells fabricated. The institute also said that she has committed serious research misconduct with her actions. Miki announced that his client stands by her paper, saying that she still believes her conclusions are valid. “The retraction would mean she did not conduct any experiments and therefore achieved nothing,” said the lawyer. Obokata has defended herself against the accusations, saying “she was anxious to complete the papers” and submitted the study early in case someone would come out with a new discovery that would render her own useless.
The allegations on the credibility of Obokata’s study surfaced after a copy of her research has been published in the British scientific journal, Nature. In it, the creation of STAP cells was described in an easy and innovative way, which industry experts hailed as a breakthrough initially. Riken has since withdrawn the paper published and have already met to discuss sanctions to be imposed on Obokata and fellow researchers.