« 福島原発汚染水 「凍土壁」だけでは解決しない | トップページ | マイナス金利 デフレ阻止に動いた欧州中銀 »

2014年6月 8日 (日)

(社説)STAP騒動 理研は再発防ぐ対応を

June 07, 2014
EDITORIAL: Riken needs more convincing steps to prevent research misconduct
(社説)STAP騒動 理研は再発防ぐ対応を

Once hailed as a great discovery that could require biology textbooks to be rewritten, a study on a new method of creating stem cells has returned to a sea of hypotheses where countless ideas are bobbing up and down.
 生物学の教科書を書き換える大発見かと思われた新万能細胞「STAP(スタップ)細胞」は、再び無数のアイデアが浮き沈みする仮説の海に戻ることになった。

Haruko Obokata, a biologist at the Riken Center for Developmental Biology, and all the other key authors of the main article on the newly created cells have agreed to retract the research, published in January in the journal Nature.
 理化学研究所の小保方(おぼかた)晴子氏をはじめとする主要著者全員が、論文の撤回に同意した。

The high-profile manner in which the claim of discovering STAP cells, for stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency, was announced drew much public attention to the research. As it has turned out, however, the study has no solid scientific basis. The research should be retracted.
 派手な展開で世間の耳目を集めたが、結果的には、根拠薄弱なものでしかなかった。撤回は当然であろう。

This is a sad coda to the STAP story. But the process leading to the denouement has rather indicated the health of the Japanese scientific community.
 残念な結末ではあるが、その経過を振り返ると、科学界としては健全さを示したといえる。

Like the immune system that reacts to threatening substances, the scientific community has demonstrated an ability to detect and remove a flawed study.
 からだの免疫反応のように、欠陥のある研究発表を見抜き、排除する機能が働いたからだ。

The community is not a clean room. The community has to deal with a considerable number of false, or even fraudulent, claims of “new discoveries.”
 科学界は無菌室ではない。不完全な「発見の証明」も少なからず入り込む。

But science has achieved credibility by establishing an effective system in which claims made by researchers are examined and assessed by others for verification.
だが、その客観性を第三者が調べ、異物であれば取り除く自浄作用を働かせて科学は信頼を得てきた。

After serious questions were raised about the STAP study, many researchers exchanged opinions, mainly via the Internet, and helped make a quick collective verdict. The process even raised hopes for a new approach to making effective use of the “collective wisdom” of scientists.
 今回、ネットなどを通じて多くの研究者が意見を交わし、迅速に結論を出した過程は、科学者の「集合知」を生かす新たな可能性さえ感じさせた。

In contrast, the way Riken handled the questions raised about the study has cast serious doubts on its loyalty to the basic principles of science. The research institute’s response to the problems that have come to light in connection with the study has been grossly insufficient.
 ひるがえって当の理研には、科学に対する忠実さの意識がどれほどあるのか疑わしい。これまでの対応は全く不十分だ。

That’s simply because Riken has failed to make serious efforts to identify the factors behind this misconduct and work out effective remedial measures.
 ひとえに、なぜ、この不正が起きたのかの調査が乏しく、今後の改善策も見えないからだ。

As things stand now, the STAP saga will end up being a simple research scandal and make no contribution to the scientific community.
このままではただの醜聞に終わり、科学界に何の貢献も残さないことになる。

Riken’s internal investigation committee focused its examination of the study on six of the many alleged irregularities and found two of them to represent misconduct. The in-house panel of experts didn’t make any further probe into the case.
 理研の調査委員会は、今回の論文をめぐる多くの疑義を6項目に絞って調べ、2項目を不正と認定して調査を終えた。

The panel’s mission was to swiftly determine whether research misconduct was committed. Its work failed to glean any important lesson that can be useful to prevent a recurrence. It didn’t try to find out background causes of the misconduct or the reasons for the co-authors’ failure to detect problems with the study in the process of compiling the articles.
 短期間に不正の有無だけを調べることが目的で、不正がなされた背景や論文作成過程で見逃された事情など、再発防止に役立つ教訓は導き出していない。

The inadequacy of the investigation was bitterly criticized both by the committee of outside experts for reform of Riken and at a meeting to explain the probe’s results to Riken researchers.
 調査の不徹底ぶりは、外部有識者による理研改革委員会でも、理研内部の説明会でも、強く批判されている。

A wide range of problems concerning the entire organization have come to the fore, including the ways Riken deals with personnel affairs and research projects.
 問題点は、理研の人事や研究の扱いなど組織全般に及ぶ。

When Obokata was hired by the institute, for instance, no letter of recommendation was submitted, even though its employment rules require two such letters.
小保方氏の採用の際、2通必要な推薦状が1通もなかった。

While related patent applications were made very quickly, few open discussions on the content of the study were held during the process of producing the articles.
関連特許の出願は極めて速かった一方、論文作成での開かれた議論はほとんどなかった。

Special treatment in employment runs against the common sense of the scientific community, which places great importance on equality and objectivity.
 特別扱いは、平等性や客観性を重んじる科学界の常識とは異なる。

In its single-minded pursuit of high-profile achievements, Riken, one of the nation’s leading centers of scientific research, appears to have lost the crucial power of self-purification that the scientific community has developed over time.
日本の科学研究の一大拠点である理研で、華々しい成果を急ぐあまり、科学界そのものが伝統的に培ってきた自浄作用を損なってはいないか。

Even if it needs to continue work to replicate the STAP research results, Riken should put higher priority on efforts to learn vital lessons from the episode and develop convincing measures for preventing a recurrence. That’s the only way to restore confidence in Riken and its researchers.
 仮説の段階に戻ったSTAP細胞の再現実験は続けるにしても、今回の教訓を導き、納得ゆく再発防止策を立てることがより重要だ。それしか理研と研究者の信頼を取り戻す道はない。

--The Asahi Shimbun, June 6

|

« 福島原発汚染水 「凍土壁」だけでは解決しない | トップページ | マイナス金利 デフレ阻止に動いた欧州中銀 »

03-英字新聞(朝日)」カテゴリの記事

コメント

コメントを書く



(ウェブ上には掲載しません)




« 福島原発汚染水 「凍土壁」だけでは解決しない | トップページ | マイナス金利 デフレ阻止に動いた欧州中銀 »