Author Archive

March 30, 2011

Conflict of Interest: Do you have anything to declare?

by Louise Ogden

Are scientists rolling in it?

Funding bodies, such as The Wellcome Trust or the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), here in the UK have strict guidelines on how and where they give the money, along with a strict policy on scientific misconduct. All of the funding bodies peer review the grant applications they accept before handing over the dosh. And this is for obvious reasons, funding bodies and charities, like The Wellcome Trust, need to make sure they are funding good science, done by good scientists.

The journal, Science, has also published a handy collection of links for laboratories who are applying for funding on the do’s and don’ts of grant applications. But that mostly applies to US institutions.

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March 30, 2011

Scientific Fraud: The effect of peer review

by Louise Ogden

Is peer review doing enough?

How effective is peer review at picking up scientific misconduct? That’s a difficult question to answer. In most cases, peer review is effective at detecting bad science, for example, an ignored result, too few control groups, over enthusiastic interpretation – but how about misconduct?

The US government have defined scientific misconduct as “fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results.” and the Office for Research Integrity (ORI) is the place to go if you suspect someone is not playing by the rules.

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March 25, 2011

Where the American authors worked

by Louise Ogden

In one of my previous posts, I looked into the locations of the authors of our papers. An overwhelming majority were working in the US in 2005, which led me to take a closer look at which institutions these researchers were coming from.

It’s tough to say with such a small sample, but from an outsider’s point of view it does appear that American scientists had a better chance of being published in Nature during that year. But I was wondering, whether there was a preferred town, city or state? Are East Coast universities more likely to get articles published then West Coast? Or is there a pretty even distribution across the states?

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March 24, 2011

The C3 community

by Louise Ogden

The C3 Community

When investigating the citing articles of my original paper, “Structures of complement component C3 provide insights into the function and evolution of immunity“, it was clear that there were some names that turned up more than others.

It’s been discussed in previous posts that this could be a potential source of bias, or at the very least, an indication of the size of the community surrounding that paper and thus, the most prevalent researchers in that field.

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March 21, 2011

Where in the world do our authors come from?

by Louise Ogden

The countries where our authors were working in 2005

The articles we have all been investigating, here at Science Media Watch, were published in the journal, Nature, in 2005. As discussed in our various posts about the data and the results, the range of subject areas was quite wide. Nature will publish papers from almost any area of science, but do they have a propensity towards certain laboratories or countries?

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March 15, 2011

Faking a Thesis: Gaddafi, Grants and Ghostwriters

by Louise Ogden

The recent uprisings in Libya have brought the government, and its leader, under the scrutiny of the rest of the world. Colonel Gaddafi has spent decades in charge of the Libyan people, and it has long been rumoured that his son, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, could be his father’s successor.

Saif has been seen in recent weeks warning the Libyan people that there will be “rivers of blood” if the rebels did not step down and accept Colonel Gaddafi as their leader. Quite surprising, considering Saif is often thought of as a reformer, with a mind to improve the liberty of the Libyan people if and when he is given his father’s role.

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