Weekend reads: New revelations about CRISPR’d babies experiment; Impact Factor developer warns against using single metrics; is peer review just a game?

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The week at Retraction Watch featured eight retractions at once for a biochemist in Spain; a researcher who lost her medical license for her misconduct; and news of an upcoming retraction in a food journal. Here’s what was happening elsewhere:

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7 thoughts on “Weekend reads: New revelations about CRISPR’d babies experiment; Impact Factor developer warns against using single metrics; is peer review just a game?”

  1. Re He Jiankui and Michael Deem, the latter told the press he owns a “small stake” in two genetics companied founded by He. Were the “CRISPR babies” just about claiming to be first to do gene editing in humans by someone blind to the ethical issues that are the real reason it had not been done before by any number of competent scientists? Or was it about He becoming internationally famous for a world-first “accomplishment”, thereby making it easier for him to get investors to put money in his companies?


  2. “But, Oransky said, Inference doesn’t fit neatly into the same category as the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. Inference doesn’t claim to be peer-reviewed, and purports to be non-ideological. Rather, its editors grant writer plenty of leeway to publish their views…” It needs to be reminded that in the middle of the 20th century Science magazine was also not peer-reviewed, and in 1936 it published a one-page article of one Hans Selye, which effectively launched his career as the “father of stress”. In 1961, Science proudly published Selye’s animal model of “calciphylaxis” on its cover, picturing a rat shedding its calcified skin after a compound “stress” Selye subjected it to. How, in this case, is Science different from “misleading “journals” [created] in order to promote questionable research”?

    1. The 1936 paper was in Nature, not Science. The 1961 issue of Science in which Selye published a paper called “Cutaneous Molt Induced by Calciphylaxis in the Rat” (December 8, 1961) does not appear to have any cover that shows a rat shedding its skin, but I admit the resolution is so poor that I could be mistaken.

    1. Believe me, “stress” is not the only Science’s successful injection of non-existent scientific entities into the collective mind of the general public “since then”. However, it is extremely difficult to reverse the effect of their past actions.

      1. “I only have one example from 50 years ago, so I will vaguely allude to more and suggest that a mistake from decades ago can never be fixed.”

        1. It is a good example. It has never been fixed. Isn’t “stress” a household word? While we are talking, can you tell what breed was Selye’s rat? What breed was Pavlov’s dog? Now go to Science and try to find which mouse strain was used in one of those papers that made the lines in the general press.

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