Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Weekend reads: A call for retraction of therapy-breast cancer study; credit (and pay) for peer reviewers

with 4 comments

booksAnother busy week at Retraction Watch, with Ivan speaking in Coventry, UK. Here’s what was happening elsewhere on the web:

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Written by Ivan Oransky

May 17th, 2014 at 9:30 am

Posted in weekend reads

  • Sylvain Bernès May 17, 2014 at 11:58 am

    The EMBO report about guest and ghost coauthors costs US$35.00. For one day and one computer 🙁

    Regarding the entry with spurious correlations, the interesting stuff is not on the Business Insider site, but rather on the Vigen’s web site, which allows you to compute your own correlations.
    I thus discovered that there is an almost total positive correlation (r = 0.998) between the money spent on pets in US and the number of lawyers in California. Strangely, a negative correlation (r = -0.995) with consumption of whole milk is also observed. I conclude that lawyers in California don’t like cats.

  • Sergei Lukawitz May 17, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    “In general, whenever I’ve noticed an old problem (such as this) suddenly coming to the fore as urgent, there is a motivation that boils down to cold, hard cash behind it.”
    Mole is absolutely correct. Money and politics are behind this. Some people have plans to make money off this. Other people plan to get rid of inconvenient science facts this way.

  • yonemoto May 17, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    I did once put in a piece of data that ‘wasn’t shown’. It was basically a throwaway experiment from a separately conceived project, with a zero result… I think that’s perfectly fine.

  • mikessh May 18, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    Concerning “The NIH wants to ensure that preclinical research it funds considers females and males, according to Francis Collins and Janine Clayton”.

    Prior to my bioinformatics career I’ve worked for a several years in the field of immunology and cancer therapy. I’m quite amused with the statement “The over-reliance on male animals and cells in preclinical research obscures key sex differences that could guide clinical studies”.

    It is actually other way round.. Imagine an experiment with 24 mice, you can have 3 cages with female mice and everything will be fine, but guess what happens when you put 8 males in one cage? 🙂 So just from basic economy and efficiency reasons one would prefer female mice.

    Ok if you don’t trust me try to google it: “female balb/c” 1 970 000 and “male balb/c” 93 500.

    As for cell lines, I hope I don’t need to remind which cell line is “the oldest and most commonly used human cell line” (wiki).

    The two adjacent statements “Publications often continue to neglect sex-based considerations and analyses in preclinical studies” and “And it might be harmful: women experience higher rates of adverse drug reactions than men do” have corresponding citations included, and they are, well, quite expected. However, the “over-reliance on male” statements seems to be at least ungrounded..

    PS. “Typically, reasons for male focus in animal-model selection centre on concerns about confounding contributions from the oestrous cycle.” – if you’re not doing research on hormone biochemistry, I believe it will be one of the last things you’ll be concerned of 🙂
    PPS. I personally like the idea to balance samples of both sex a lot, this could result in lots of interesting findings if done wisely.

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