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Nature retracts two stem-cell papers

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The journal Nature has retracted two papers on the topic of stem cell research. According to an editorial by the publisher, 'Soon after the papers were published on 30 January, cracks appeared in the edifice... errors were found in the figures, parts of the methods descriptions were found to be plagiarised and early attempts to replicate the work failed.'

The editorial goes on to say that the RIKEN research centre in Japan, where most of the work was carried out, conducted an inquiry and found inadequacies in data management, record-keeping and oversight (go.nature.com/2vrjxs). In addition, one author was found guilty of misconduct (go.nature.com/tnxuhy). 

The two papers have now been watermarked to highlight their retracted status, but will remain hosted on Nature’s website. As Nature explained, 'In our opinion, to take down retracted papers from journal websites amounts to an attempt to rewrite history, and makes life needlessly difficult for those wishing to learn from such episodes.'

The editorial concludes that 'We — research funders, research practitioners, institutions and journals — need to put quality assurance and laboratory professionalism ever higher on our agendas, to ensure that the money entrusted by governments is not squandered, and that citizens’ trust in science is not betrayed.'