Academic social network ResearchGate helps debunk stem cell "breakthrough"

ResearchGate, the 4-million-strong academic social network, has just scored a major victory in its quest to turn the research process upside-down – its platform proved instrumental in the debunking of a major stem cell study, which on Friday resulted in a very apologetic roll-back from the Japanese institute that put out the original study.

An investigation into a supposedly groundbreaking stem cell study in Japan has discovered “inappropriate handling” of the data. It was reported in January that dipping cells in acid could cheaply and quickly convert them into stem cells. Questions were raised about the images used in the scientific report and other research groups have failed to reproduce the results. The interim report has not found any evidence of research misconduct. Stem cells can become any other type of tissue and are already being investigated to heal the damage caused by a heart attack and to restore sight to the blind.

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