Thursday, April 3, 2014

Dr. Obokata and STAP Cell

Because I find no English articles on STAP Cell news from April 2nd, I'll use a few excerpts from the Japan Times' article on 3/15/2014.

"During Friday’s news conference, which lasted around four hours, Riken President Ryoji Noyori, winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize in chemistry, strongly criticized Obokata. “An unskilled scientist dealt with a huge amount of data in an extremely sloppy way without a sense of responsibility,” Noyori said in reference to her."

I've heard of his negative opinion on the media multiple times, but nothing from Dr. Obokata.  She's been forbidden by the Riken to speak up before the media.  She should speak up.  There is something wrong with this society, stopping individual rights just to speak up.

"Obokata has admitted she processed images to make the research papers appear more attractive, according to Riken senior researcher Shunsuke Ishii, who is leading the internal investigation."

I don't know if the Japan Times reporter interpreted Ishii's words or Ishii actually used the comparable word, but I believe above "attractive" is not appropriate in this case.  According to Asahi Shimbun of April 2nd, Dr. Obokata said she wanted to make the photo clearer for viewers. I thought if the photo was dark, lightness helps, and many times, more contrast helps to see the detail. What's wrong with Ishii and Noyori and other faceless unfair minded people to judge that to be falsifying attempts without letting Dr. Obokata respond before the media?

"Obokata has told the Riken inquiry team that she had no idea the act was inappropriate, Ishii said. “I wonder if she has had no chance to learn research ethics,” he said."

To be fair, I suggest this kind of scrutinizing acts on all the science papers, starting with Dr. Noyori's.  Have the twitter user 11jigen gather the like-minded users on the Internet and go ahead and scrutinize Dr. Noyori's past papers including his incomplete, unpublished papers, just like what it was done to Dr. Obokata.  According to the Riken's standards, I think it isn't too late to discredit even Nobel Prize winners if someone wants to judge any intention malicious. 

As far as I’ve read, Ishii had met with her twice.  Being an only 30 years old and scientist, not a lawyer, she was ill prepared.  Apparently Riken was already planning to discredit her before a fair process and also already planned their new project to prove the experiment starting April 1st.  That was four days ago.  Talking of ethics and integrity, they have none.

Both Riken and Obokata san believe STAP cell exists, and any work to prove is very difficult.  But so far, Obokata san and her team have been responsible for this great, unprecedented discovery.  Don't you think Riken owes her open communication free from pressure from the beginning?  

For Noyori to have said that Obokata has no sense of responsibility is extremely judgmental and rude.  The world audience hasn’t heard of her side of the story. It's completely one sided.

Let me know your opinion on this.  I can't wait to see she speaks for her defense.  There must be a good explanation on two experiment notebooks with no dates and other details. 

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