Archive by category | Ethics

Call for acid-bath stem-cell paper to be retracted

Less than 40 days after a team led by Haruko Obokata of the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in Kobe, Japan, presented two stunning papers claiming a method of using a simple acid-bath method to reprogramme mature mammalian cells back to an embryonic state – so called STAP cells – researchers in Japan, including one of the paper’s co-authors, are calling for them to be retracted.  Read more

South Korean Supreme Court confirms Hwang’s sentence

The South Korean Supreme Court has upheld a 2010 ruling which sentences disgraced cloning expert Woo Suk Hwang to a one-and-a-half-year prison term for embezzlement and violation of the country’s bioethics law. The term comes with a two-year probation, however, and if Hwang does not commit a crime during that period, he will not have to serve jail time at all. This is the final judgment on a trial that started in 2006 and reached its first verdict in 2009 after 43 hearings involving 60 witnesses.  Read more

Climate comments push open-access publisher to terminate journal

A German academic publisher that has journals of respected scientific societies among its titles has announced that it shut down its journal Pattern Recognition in Physics, citing what it calls nepotistic reviewing and malpractice. The firm, Copernicus Publishing of Göttingen, Germany, was responding to a recent special issue on ‘solar variability’. “The special issue editors ultimately submitted their conclusions in which they ‘doubt the continued, even accelerated, warming as claimed by the IPCC project’,” the publisher wrote in its statement.  Read more

New revelations on controversial stem-cell foundation in Italy

Following the leak last month of a treatment protocol for a controversial stem-cell therapy earmarked for a clinical trial to be sponsored by the Italian government, further leaks from police investigations and other revelations are emerging daily about the activities of the trial’s sponsor, the Stamina Foundation.  Read more

Patient’s suicide forces belated university investigation

In May 2004 Daniel Markingson, a patient with schizophrenia in an anti-psychotic drug trial at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, “stabbed himself to death in the bathtub with a box cutter, ripping open his abdomen and nearly decapitating himself,” as a magazine article would report six years later.  Read more

Taiwan scientist’s findings did not constitute defamation

The legal odyssey of Taiwanese environmental engineer Ben-Jei Tsuang has come to an end, as the petrochemical company that had accused him of libel did not appeal an earlier ‘not guilty’ verdict by the legally-required deadline of 20 November. The company had claimed that Tsuang’s release of data linking a petrochemical plant to increased cancer rates amounted to libel.  Read more

Immunologist calls on university to disclose details of misconduct claims

An immunologist accused last year by the National University of Singapore (NUS) of “serious scientific misconduct” relating to 21 research papers says he refutes the accusations, and is calling on the university to make public its report into the matter.  Read more

Initiative gets $1.3 million to verify findings of 50 high-profile cancer papers

One of the major concerns in biomedical research today is that many basic findings cannot be easily replicated by other labs. Might the literature be stuffed with flukes and unrepeatable results, not sufficiently checked out before publication, and rarely repeated by other labs? Such doubts have increased in the past year, especially after scientists at Amgen and Bayer reported that they had been unable to reproduce the vast majority of ‘landmark’ papers describing promising approaches to treat disease.  Read more