As is well known, Dr. Obokata was accused and fired for fabricating her paper on STAP cells.

Report on STAP Cell Research Paper Investigation http://www3.riken.jp/stap/e/c13document52.pdf

I wonder what her motivation was if that is the case. If STAP cells do not exist, sooner or later her paper will be recognized as invalid by the science community. However, someone said your scientific paper's being accepted by a prestigious journal would be prestigious enough if it would not be found as a fabrication.

  • Please explain the reason for the downvotes. Otherwise I cannot improve my question. Commented Feb 11, 2015 at 23:08
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    You are asking us if it is worth cheating and lying to have a paper published in a reputable journal. No academic with self respect will say anything other than no to that.
    – user141592
    Commented Feb 11, 2015 at 23:24
  • 1
    I think the headline question is a bit off, "What motivates scientists to fabricate results in prestigious journal articles?" might be better.
    – Bill Barth
    Commented Feb 11, 2015 at 23:48
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    I strongly disagree with the downvotes. This is a perfectly reasonable, if not important, question whose answer happens to be OF COURSE NOT!
    – JeffE
    Commented Feb 12, 2015 at 0:32
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    I down-voted because I suspect this question will degenerate the way the previous questions the OP asked about the exact same case did. If the OP used a different example, I would not down vote.
    – jakebeal
    Commented Feb 12, 2015 at 2:12

1 Answer 1


Only if you're either really (really) stupid or desperate, or naive enough to think that you'll never be found out.

The person in question here seems to have been a serial offender. And I'd be very surprised if anyone who offends so blatantly has no previous history. Fraudsters always start out small and relatively inconspicuous, but confidence and brashness grows until they're caught.

Yes, fraudsters seem attracted by the prospect of fame – but I can't grok why you'd submit a fraudulent paper to Nature. Seriously!? Of course you'll be found out! But no, it's not worth it. Ever.

  • "Of course you'll be found out!" What if it's a less important result and a less prestigious journal? Commented Feb 11, 2015 at 23:03
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    @MakotoKato Then you will probably also be found out, though maybe not as quickly as fewer people will read your paper.
    – user141592
    Commented Feb 11, 2015 at 23:05
  • @Johanna "Then you will probably also be found out" I guess probably is one of the points of my question. Commented Feb 11, 2015 at 23:10
  • @MakotoKato If anyone at all reads the article, there is a chance you will be found out. That will definitely ruin your career. People who risk their careers on "probably" probably have very short such with sudden ends.
    – user141592
    Commented Feb 11, 2015 at 23:15
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    @MakotoKato if no one is ever going to care about your "research" enough to realise that it is fraudulent, why risk it in the first place? It's always a no-win situation.
    – Moriarty
    Commented Feb 11, 2015 at 23:49

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