JAPAN. The two controversial stem-cell papers recently retracted by Haruko Obokata of the RIKEN institute are to be re-submitted to PLOS ONE, The ScienceWeb has learned.
In the papers, Obokata claimed to be able to create embryonic-like stem cells simply by stressing normal cells with acid (the pH kind, not the hallucinogenic kind). However, after several attempts to reproduce the findings failed, both papers were retracted. The related research on stressing researchers with coffee is unaffected.
As the papers have now effectively been rejected by Nature, Obokata plans to spend two weeks re-formatting the text, ready for a submission to PLOS ONE.
“We thought about the obvious candidates, like PLOS Biology, Genome Biology, PNAS etc, but we thought we’d run into exactly the same problem as before – people would notice that the research is crap” a source from RIKEN stated. “So we’ll just go straight for PLOS ONE, it should get published there with no real issues” they continued.
The habit of submitting to a high-impact journal, being rejected and then reformatting for PLOS ONE is becoming increasingly common in academic circles, so much so that certain researchers have sarted to miss out the first step entirely. Those rejected from PLOS ONE simply submit to bioRxiv and move on.