Science speaks about cloning controversy

At a press conference today (December 16), Science editor-in-chief Donald Kennedy and deputy editor for life sciences Katrina Kelner presented their side of the story in the ongoing controversy over a cloning paper the journal published this year. Since the article, last author Gerald Schatten of the University of Pittsburgh has pulled out of a collaboration with his Korean co-authors, and first author Woo-suk Hwang admitted to both illegally obtaining eggs and tampering with images. Both Sch

By | December 16, 2005

At a press conference today (December 16), Science editor-in-chief Donald Kennedy and deputy editor for life sciences Katrina Kelner presented their side of the story in the ongoing controversy over a cloning paper the journal published this year. Since the article, last author Gerald Schatten of the University of Pittsburgh has pulled out of a collaboration with his Korean co-authors, and first author Woo-suk Hwang admitted to both illegally obtaining eggs and tampering with images. Both Schatten and Hwang have since requested the journal retract the paper, once they obtain permission from the other co-authors. Science and Seoul National University (SNU), Hwang?s institution, are investigating the research. During the conference, Kennedy defended the journal?s peer review process. Although the study was accepted faster than average, it was reviewed by more than the average number of reviewers, who looked over edits before publication. ?At the time of publication, we felt on ethically solid ground,? he said. Both Kennedy and Kelner noted there was likely little the journal and the study reviewers could have done to have foreseen the paper?s now-obvious flaws. Kelner said the journal plans to begin including checks for irregularities in some photos, but that would not have spotted the image problems in the current paper. Kennedy noted that this is certainly not the first time that authors have retracted published data, and the journal is going to take a ?harder look? at an earlier paper by Hwang?s group, published in 2004, and the investigation will be guided by the character of errors that emerge from the 2005 article. ?We?re going to be giving (the 2004) paper extra scrutiny,? he said.

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