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Archive for March 22nd, 2013


The latest posting on Raphaël’s blog is the most comprehensive catalogue of data re-use in the papers by Francesco Stellacci on the phase separation of ligands on gold nanoparticles into stripes. As Raphaël notes, this information has been communicated to the Ombudsman of EPFL.
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The tension between peer-reviewed publishing and the reaction to papers once published in blogs, tweets and other internet media has come to light in comments on my postings on the stripy nanoparticle debate. This led me to post on the subject, “blogs and science“. An article on the last moves in the debate on the claims of DNA with a sugar-arsenate backbone by Rebecca Rosen last July. provides ample evidence for the importance of such debate. Note that the authors of the original flawed study stayed firmly behind the “wall” of the publishing process, stating that blogs, tweets and other media were not appropriate routes for scientific discourse.
Historically, science has spent more time engaged in various forms of informal discourse (letters, lectures, sometimes heated) than restricted to the sole channel of the peer reviewed literature.
In any event, Rebecca Rosen’s article is well worth reading.

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An excellent discussion has started on this Retraction Watch post on Brian Deer’s proposals to make life more difficult for dishonest researchers.

Retraction Watch

brian-deer-d-fullBrian Deer’s name will no doubt be familiar to many Retraction Watch readers. Deer, of course, is the award-winning investigative reporter known for his reporting on numerous medical issues, including Andrew Wakefield’s now-retracted research into autism and vaccines.

Deer is giving a talk next week at the UK’s “Evidence Live” conference,and has a proposal that he hopes will make it more difficult for dishonest researchers to hide their misdeeds — and make it easier for journals to retract fraudulent papers. He has expressed concern before that voluntary codes have no teeth. Deer is proposing an amendment to the ICMJE’s Uniform Requirements for the Submission of Manuscripts to Biomedical Journals:

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