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Posts Tagged ‘Science and Technology Committee’


I’m looking for an explanation for these data. Can anyone figure out how 1-3 below add up? I don’t think the answer can be “science”, “evidence based decision making” or “square root of 36”, but I am happy to be corrected.

1. A subject of a previous posting (and here), an image from a Nature Materials paper is re-used for a different experiment in a subsequent PNAS article. This warranted a correction.

2. Recently posted on Retraction Watch, a rapid retraction in PNAS, after an error was pointed out by a Nobel Laureate

3. Another recent posting on Retraction Watch on a retraction at Translational Research. This retraction was preceded by a correction, where the re-used data were replaced by other data. The correction states “figures 4A∼4I were incorrect”, without any allusion to the re-use of data. Only after an investigation by Nagoya City University and the University requesting a retraction did the journal pull the paper.

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The triennial review of the UK research councils has resulted in an excellent and challenging response, submitted by the Council for the Defence of British Universities (download document here). One important aspect of this document is that it highlights the shift in the tension between funding of near-term and blue skies research, exemplified by the growth of the non-science and non-budget sections of research proposals over the last decade or so. There has been a steady push from government over the past decades for “blue skies research” to “pay its way” and for the marketing of the innovation resulting from research. Research councils have responded by shifting resource to near-term research. An interesting counterpoint is from government itself, in the form of a nice quote from David Willetts on page 4 of the document “Governments picking winners can easily become losers picking government programmes”.
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An article in the Times Higher Education indicates that research misconduct in the UK will attract sanctions to both the investigator and to institutions, should the latter engage in any form of cover up or not investigate claims of misconduct properly. This follows criticism by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee regarding the complete absence of any action on research misconduct (I prefer the word “fraud”, it is basic Anglo Saxon and is in my mind the perfect descriptor) by government funding agencies. That is, there has never been in the UK any action by a funding agency following proven claims of misconduct.
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