Archive by category | Breaking News

Retraction reaction

Nobel prize-winning neuroscientist Linda Buck has retracted a 2001 Nature paper. In the retraction in this week’s Nature, the authors report difficulty replicating the data and ‘inconsistencies’ between the original data and figures and data printed in the paper. Buck told Nature reporter Heidi Ledford that the figures and data in question were contributed by the first author, Zhihua Zou, who was unavailable for comment.  Read more

Anti antidepressants

By now, you’ve likely read a shocking headline questioning the effectiveness of the latest generation of antidepressants. Kirsch et al. report that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are only slightly more effective than placebos at reducing depression in a meta-analysis of US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) data. Are these data really worth all the fuss?  Read more

Harvard open-access policy – can you please be more specific?

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) at Harvard University voted Tuesday to adopt an open-access policy, providing a free repository for finished papers, according to a recent press release. This move will allow for greater dissemination of scholarly work conducted at Harvard, says Stuart Shieber, a professor at FAS. Shieber states that a combination of a restrictive publishing system and the “astronomical” cost of journals have led the Harvard professors to support such a venture. An official description of the proposal that was actually discussed by the FAS on Tuesday is here.  Read more

When it rains…it pours

I don’t know what it is about Jim Watson and my blog posting, but every time I mention him (as I did in my previous entry), something else pops up and I have to talk about him again. While doing my morning reading, I stumbled upon an entry from the DrugMonkey blog that was simply too good to pass up. Jim Watson is more mixed race than anyone thought, with 16% of his genes likely to have come from an African great-grandparent, as reported in the Sunday Times.  Read more

Watson steps down from CSHL position – a lot of hot air

In a statement issued today, Dr. James Watson resigned as Chancellor of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. This is an important event for CSHL, which is now relieved of making more difficult decisions regarding Dr. Watson’s future. Although Watson’s fund-raising abilities were unparalleled, and he built the lab to what it has become today, in order for CSHL to move forward, he had to leave.  Read more

He said what??

James Watson, current chancellor of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, shared the Nobel Prize in 1962 for his contributions leading to the discovery of DNA structure. I guess his expertise in molecular biology and genetics has also provided him with a unique insight into the relationship between intelligence and race.  Read more

Dissemination before peer review.

The physics community already has theirs. Now biology has its own site dedicated to the informal discussion of unpublished results. A new site launched this week, Nature Precedings, allows scientists to upload unpublished manuscripts while they are under consideration at a journal, perhaps inciting conversation and feedback regarding the work even before the article is accepted. In this day and age of caution and paranoia surrounding results (go to any scientific meeting these days and count the number of presentations that focus on published results vs. those that highlight unpublished ones), how do you think this will impact the neuroscience and publishing communities?  Read more