Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Meet the first-ever Retraction Watch intern. And: Thanks, readers

with 13 comments

cat ferguson

Cat Ferguson

In March, we asked Retraction Watch readers for some financial support. A number of you contributed and continue to, for which we’re very grateful.

One of the things we wanted to do with those funds was hire other writers, specifically an intern. So we’re pleased to introduce the first-ever Retraction Watch intern, Cat Ferguson.

Ferguson, whose first post will go live later today and who will join us in earnest next week, just graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz’s Science Communication Program. She has already written for the New Yorker online, and for New Scientist, among other outlets.

Here’s what she had to say about writing that New Yorker piece:

I loved it. I loved asking people to justify their actions and digging through documents to get at the truth. Ultimately what I loved most was the feeling of holding people accountable for their actions, ones that I feel are hurting the scientific community at large.

Fun fact about Ferguson: She had all of her teeth extracted in January. Or maybe she didn’t.

Please join us in welcoming Ferguson into the Retraction Watch fold. And if you’d like to make sure we can hire more terrific interns, please consider a contribution to our growth:

$25 a year for “doctoral student”-level support

$100 a year for “PI”-level support
(you get a Retraction Watch T-Shirt!)

Want to bundle for your whole lab?
Make a one-time contribution?
Or express your commitment more strongly?
Be our guest:


Written by Ivan Oransky

June 9th, 2014 at 11:00 am

Posted in RW announcements

  • Miguel Roig June 9, 2014 at 11:50 am

    Congratulations, Cat!!

  • Neuroskeptic (@Neuro_Skeptic) June 9, 2014 at 12:17 pm


  • Rolf Degen June 9, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    Welcome! But you need teeth for doing retractions.

  • blatnoi June 9, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    Ah! It’s my nemesis who got the intern job instead of me! (Though, now that I think about it, she’s definitely more qualified and is on location…) 🙂 Good luck!

  • Dave June 9, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    I want a Retraction Watch T-shirt.

  • Karen June 9, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    Cat, I really appreciated your New Yorker article on Santa Cruz Biotechnologies. (I would have said “loved”, but the deplorable, despicable animal husbandry conditions were horrifying.) Congratulations on the intern gig, and I look forward to more of your science-themed investigative journalism!

  • Eye-opener June 10, 2014 at 6:42 am

    Dear Cat,

    Good luck with advancing science by helping to retract the invalid stuff.

    The piece on Santa Cruz Biotech is an eye-opener. Although they are a huge player in the antibody field, their products cannot really be trusted, as they are often of rather lousy quality. More often than not their antibodies are highly cross-reactive with non-target proteins, making their scientific value questionable. Your piece gives some indication as to the causes. By the way, the antibody industry with Santa Cruz being one of the prime examples developed an artful skill of cropping the images in the catalogues to disguise the problem of cross-reactivity. Here we go, Retraction Watch. It is, to say the least, surprising to see the poor quality of many antibody products and the inadequate information provided (e.g. about epitopes, positive and negative controls, treatment of antigens used etc), given that these reagents are used in highly sensitive and medically enormously relevant high-tech applications. Unfortunately this is a wider problem beyond Santa Cruz that needs to be addressed. The travails of Santa Cruz regarding animal welfare are one more reason to avoid this company. I only wonder how antibody producing animals are treated in countries where government thinks the rule of law does not apply to them, let alone their goats and rabbits.

    • Cath Ennis (@enniscath) June 10, 2014 at 8:23 pm

      My former lab used to call them Santa Crap antibodies

      • michaelhbriggs June 11, 2014 at 2:56 am

        I thought Santa Cruz was Spanish for “cross reactivity”

      • David Hardman June 11, 2014 at 3:04 am

        In reply to Cath Ennis (@enniscath) June 10, 2014 at 8:23 pm

        How many antibodies worked? 1 out of 10, 2 out of 10, 3 out of 10…..?

  • Seshat June 10, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    Welcome to the RW team, Cat! I am looking forward to see your contributions.

  • Mauricio Tuffani June 10, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    Wellcome, Cat! Congratulations!

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