Statement by Science Editors on Korean Stem Cell Probe
In response to findings by Korean investigators of fabricated data in a May
2005 Science paper on patient-specific embryonic stem cells, the editors of
Science issued a statement on 23 December urging a prompt conclusion of the
retraction process for the paper.
An investigating committee of the Seoul National University released
preliminary findings on fabrication of results in the paper by Woo Suk Hwang and
his colleagues. Hwang, the lead author, and Gerald Schatten of the University of
Pittsburgh, the corresponding author, had already asked that the paper be
retracted because of questions raised about some of the data.
In the statement, the editors of Science said, "We are continuing to move
forward with a formal retraction of the 2005 paper." The process typically
requires written consent from all authors of a paper before the retraction is
finalized. Science has yet to receive consent forms from the 23 co-authors of
the paper in addition to Hwang and Schatten. "If a statement is not provided in
a timely manner by the authors or the investigation committee on behalf of Seoul
National University, we will move forward with an editorial retraction," the
editors of Science said. The retraction would be made by the editors even
without the formal consent of all the co-authors.
Science also updated an Editorial Expression of Concern, posted online the
previous day, about the 2005 paper and another by the same research group in 2004.
The expression of concern, to be published in Science on Jan. 6, is an official
notice to the readers of the journal regarding the status of the papers. It
notes that, given questions about the 2005 paper, the editors also are
undertaking a careful review of the widely hailed 2004 Science paper by Hwang
and his colleagues that reported the first derivation of embryonic stem cells
from a cloned human embryo.
Both the investigating committee and Science are pursuing possible problems
with the 2004 paper. Science will continue to communicate the results of the
inquiries as they become available.
Science has issued a chronology on the current controversy.
The text of the new statement as well as previous updates can be found
The text of the Editorial Expression of Concern can be found here.