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Archive for May, 2013


Update June 5
Standards, who needs them? I am just back from the E-MRS spring meeting in Strasbourg, which was most enjoyable, though someone seems to have forgotten about the “Spring” bit. Meanwhile, out in the world of science we continue to witness ridiculous decisions regarding manipulated and falsified data by journals and a quite stunning self-justification by a materials scientist who looks to be the next serial fraudster. (more…)

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The saga of whether there is any substance in the claims by Stellacci of stripes on nanoparticles and that such stripes impart remarkable properties to these materials has taken a new turn. Readers may remember that important issues have been requests to journals and his previous and current employers, MIT and EPFL, to act on clear cases of data re-use and to enable access to the original data so that they could be subjected to rigorous analysis. (more…)

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The assiduous reader will recall that on March 22 I formally contacted MIT regarding the re-use of images in multiple papers by Francesco Stellacci. This includes one instance of an image being re-used to describe a different experiment, which so far has resulted in a correction.
MIT have got back to me stating that they don’t have a report for me yet (I guess Friday was a deadline for delivery of an interim decision), but will get back to me at the end of May. Like many of us, MIT will have their hands full dealing with financial fallout. Nonetheless, I hope that this does not distract them too much from the necessity to ensure academic integrity. I look forward to hearing from them in due course, though depending on their interim decision, I may be bound by confidentiality.

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Two recent retractions on Retraction Watch merit more than a passing mention, because they demonstrate, yet again, the wildly different and completely contradictory reactions of individuals and journals to data that turn out to be problematic. In one sense this is an update post on “Chalk and Cheese“, “Re-use of “stripes”“, “Correct correction?” and “Data re-use warrants correction at PNAS“. (more…)

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I was at the Chungku restaurant in Liverpool last night – excellent meal and, of course, stupendous views across the Mersey – a little bit of foresight books a window table! My attention was drawn once again to a mound on the other side of the water, which had puzzled me before. Rog was sitting next to me and he is not someone to shrink from a puzzle. I reckoned the mound (or small hill) had to be artificial. Plus in front and down river the waterfront was square, so artificial. Rog looked around on Google maps and reckoned this must have been the site of Bromborough docks.
This morning, perhaps due to being fortified by coffee, Rog solved the mystery. Both hypotheses were true. Bromborough docks, opened in 1931, were closed by an act of Parliament in 1986 and used as a landfill site. The entire site is now being developed as Port Sunlight River Park.

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