Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
In a quote that has become part of medical school orientations everywhere, David Sackett, often referred to as the “father of evidence-based medicine,” once famously said:
Half of what you’ll learn in medical school will be shown to be either dead wrong or out of date within five years of your graduation; the trouble is that nobody can tell you which half–so the most important thing to learn is how to learn on your own.
Sackett, we are fairly sure, was making an intentionally wild estimate when he said “half.” [See note about these strikethroughs at bottom of post.]
But aA fascinating study out today in the Archives of Internal Medicine gives a clue as to the real figure suggests that he may have been closer than any of us imagined. Read the rest of this entry »
Unprecedented? Journal yanks transcendental meditation paper 12 minutes before it’s scheduled to publish
There’s a highly unusual situation brewing at the Archives of Internal Medicine. At 3:48 Eastern time on Monday, 12 minutes before the embargo lifted on the June 28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, the following message went out from its press office:
The editorial office of the Archives of Internal Medicine has made the decision not to publish, “Stress Reduction in the Secondary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Transcendental Meditation and Health Education in African Americans,” by Schneider et al, and the accompanying Commentary by Mehta and Bairey Merz that was to post Online First at 3 PM central time today.
The decision is to allow time for review and statistical analysis of additional data not included in the original paper that the authors provided less than 24 hours before posting. We apologize for the short notice, but hope you will understand and not run your stories on this study today.
We asked Archives of Internal Medicine editor Rita Redberg when the paper might be published: Read the rest of this entry »
Sometime in 2009, the University of Nottingham’s Uwe Vinkemeier thought something was wrong with two papers he read in Genes & Development, one from 2006 and one from 2009. The papers claimed to show how changes to a protein called STAT1 affect programmed cell death. So he did what scientists are supposed to do: He tried to repeat the experiments, to replicate the results.
So he submitted the results to G&D, which was initially willing to publish the data along with a rebuttal by the original authors. But everyone seemed to be dragging their feet. Read the rest of this entry »
Idea retraction: Did Picasso suffer migraines? Do ‘guitar nipple,’ ‘cello scrotum’ exist? Ask pigeons
Cephalalgia published a lovely piece online this month. The abstract is a refreshing bit of honesty:
It is widely believed that Pablo Picasso suffered from migraine. The main cause for this is our suggestion made 10 years ago that some of Picasso’s paintings resemble migraine auras. Here we critically look back at our own hypothesis. We conclude that, although the idea is still fascinating, there is no proof of Picasso suffering from migraine with aura.
In other words, say authors Michel Ferrari and Joost Haan: Go ahead, blame us for this important clinical finding, which we first described in an editorial in Cephalalgia in 2000. We’re retracting the idea, but not before we have some fun with it.
So we figured we’d do the same.
The authors describe a number of famous cases of historical diagnoses such as Hildegard of Bingen, an abbess and mystic of the 12th century whose work has led some to suggest she was a migraneur. It’s difficult to confirm such diagnoses, of course, and the authors draw a parallel to other pronouncements by doctors: Read the rest of this entry »
At a time when you can set up a Google alert to find out when your name appears anywhere on the Web — not that we’d know, of course — it puzzles us that some researchers are trying to get away with using others’ names on papers without their knowledge.
But they’re not just trying. Our recent experience suggests they’re actually getting away with it and seeing those papers in print. We’ve found at least six cases of that in the past few months. Of course, some eventually get caught.
We’d like to see journals taking a more vaccine-like approach to this problem. That’s the subject of our new column in Lab Times, where we’re now regular contributors. Excerpt: Read the rest of this entry »
While we don’t claim to be experts in working on the other side of the fence — eg as editors — Ivan was flattered to be asked by session organizers at the Council of Science Editors to appear on a panel on the subject. He was joined on the panel by:
- Science executive editor Monica Bradford
- Annals of Internal Medicine editor in chief Christine Laine
- American Association for Cancer Research publisher Diane Scott-Lichter
- Committee on Publication Ethics’s Liz Wager
Their presentations were chock-full of good tips and data. Bradford, for example, said that Science had published 45 retractions since 1997. And Laine recommended copying all of a manuscript’s authors on every communication, which could help prevent author forgery that seems to be creeping into the literature.
So we hope their slides will be online soon. In the meantime, Ivan’s slides are here (scroll down a bit so that the entire first slide, and navigation, are visible below the CSE banner): Read the rest of this entry »
We’ve both been at conferences — Adam at the Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists in Savannah, and Ivan at the Council of Science Editors in Baltimore, where he’ll be on a panel today about finding fraud — so we haven’t had a lot of time to run down retractions. But there were a few retraction-related developments in the past few days that we wanted to highlight for Retraction Watch readers:
First, another great investigation by The Cancer Letter and The New York Times, this one into the International Early Lung Cancer Action Program (I-ELCAP) run by Claudia Henschke and David Yankelevitz. The design and conclusions of that trial has been criticized by other pulmonologists.
The new investigation, however, reveals that an October 2008 review of the study found that the researchers couldn’t find 90 percent of the subjects’ consent forms. That, The Cancer Letter notes, could mean a huge number of retractions that could displace Joachim Boldt as the current record holder: Read the rest of this entry »
Yesterday, we reported that National Geographic had bought ScienceBlogs. We’ve now obtained a recording of a conference call between various members of National Geographic senior management, ScienceBlogs management, and ScienceBloggers — aka Sciblings — that adds some details.
What we’ve learned is that Nat Geo plans to assume control of operations, editorial content, and ad sales by June 1 of this year. And while a post from PZ Myers post said “basically, we’ve been bought,” and we had further confirmation last night of the contents of yesterday’s post from someone familiar with the situation, we want to make sure to point out, high up, that one of the first things that SEED CFO and vice president of finance and operation’s Vera Scavcic said on the call was that SEED would maintain ownership: Read the rest of this entry »
I have news. Scienceblogs is going to be folded into a new organization sometime soon — basically, we’ve been bought. I can’t discuss all of the details just yet, but let’s just say it is a prestigious national magazine with a healthy bottom line that will do us a lot of good.
Retraction Watch has learned, from a source familiar with the negotiations, that the buyer is National Geographic. We don’t have any details at this point, and Nat Geo has not returned a request for comment [see update at end], but we are confident in reporting this.
There has been some news over the past few weeks about Marc Hauser, the Harvard psychologist found guilty of misconduct by the university last year. First, because Harvard had listed him in a course catalog, The Crimson said that he might be teaching again, following a ban. But that turned out not to be the case, as The Boston Globe reported.
Today, Science lifted the embargo on a paper by Hauser and Justin Wood, now of the University of Southern California, showing that results published in the journal in 2007 — and later questioned — have held up. The abstract: Read the rest of this entry »