Venkata J. Reddy appears to have manipulated findings in one R01 grant application. In recent years, bans are less common than having research supervised. What’s also unusual is that the sanction appeared to have begun two years ago, in 2013, because it lifts August 26, 2018. The report, which is scheduled to published tomorrow in the Federal Register, says the debarment has a “joint jurisdiction,” suggesting another agency may be involved. [See first update at end of post.]
Grant reviewers at the U.S. National Institutes of Health are doing a pretty good job of spotting the best proposals and ranking them appropriately, according to a new study in Science out today.
Danielle Li at Harvard and Leila Agha at Boston University found that grant proposals that earn good scores lead to research that is more cited, more published, and published in high-impact journals. These findings were upheld even when they controlled for notoriously confounding factors, such as the applicant’s institutional quality, gender, history of funding and experience, and field.
Taking all those factors into consideration, grant scores that were 1 standard deviation lower (10.17 points, in the analysis) led to research that earned 15% fewer citations and 7% fewer papers, along with 19% fewer papers in top journals.
Li tells Retraction Watch that, while some scientists may not be surprised by these findings, previous research has suggested there isn’t much of a correlation between grant scores and outcomes:
Surgeon Paolo Macchiarini, who is under investigation for allegedly downplaying dangers of an experimental surgery, has been cleared of some misconduct allegations by the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm.
Macchiarini, a thoracic surgeon, has made headlines for repairing damaged airways using tracheas from cadavers and even synthetic tracheas, both treated with the patients’ own stem cells to assist in the transplant.
In a letter to Vice-Chancellor Anders Hamsten dated last month, KI’s Ethics Council refuted a number of accusations leveled against Macchiarini by Pierre Delaere at KU Leuven in Belgium, who had suggested the surgeon had engaged in scientific misconduct, including fabricating data.
A Michigan judge has ruled against a motion by PubPeer to protect the identity of an anonymous commenter, and asked the post-publication peer review site to give her any information they have about the commenter.
According to one of the lawyers present, the site said in court the only identifying information it has is an I.P. address. The judge will decide March 24 (Tuesday) whether or not to share the I.P. address with the lawyer representing a cancer researcher who has demanded PubPeer release information about those who have written anonymously about his work.
An article that ranked University of Missouri-Kansas City number one in an area of business school training is set to receive an expression of concern. The move follows months of questions over the ranking’s legitimacy, following revelations such as a relationship between the authors and both the school and its top ranked researcher in the field.
In 2011, the business world got a bit of a surprise: In the field of innovation management, the study of how entrepreneurs convert good ideas into profit, the number one school – according to an article in the Journal of Product Innovation Management — was UMKC. Not Harvard, not Stanford, not any other institution that normally tops these types of rankings. UMKC’s Henry W. Bloch School of Management was also home to the number one researcher in that field, Michael Song.
The good news: Policy makers and the public seem to be increasingly taking scientific research seriously. The bad news? People who don’t like researchers’ findings seem to be increasingly coming after researchers and their universities. And some of those people are powerful.
For one of the comments on the site, the judge has asked to hold another hearing on March 19.
After the work of Fazlul Sarkar of Wayne State University appeared on the post-publication peer review site, he wasn’t happy about it. In October, he sued the site’s commenters, demanding that PubPeer release the names of his accusers. Sarkar, who has not been found to have committed research misconduct, claims he lost a lucrative job offer at the University of Mississippi as a result of the posts.
In December, PubPeer’s attorneys asked the judge to dismiss the motion; today, Hon. Sheila Ann Gibson of the Wayne County Circuit Court agreed to do so for all but one comment.
David Vaux, a cell biologist at the Walter + Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, explains how Nature could do more to remove bias from the peer review process. He previously wrote about his decision to retract a paper.
Last week, Nature announced that they are to offer authors of papers submitted to Nature or the monthly Nature research journals the option of having their manuscripts assessed by double-blind peer review, in which reviewers are blinded to the identity of authors and their institutions. Until now, papers sent to Nature, and most other journals, have been reviewed by a single-blind process, in which the reviewers know the identities and affiliations of the authors, but the authors are not told who the reviewers are. The goal of double-blind peer review is for submitted papers to be judged on their scientific merit alone, and thus to reduce publication bias.
While Nature should be applauded for this move, the way they have implemented it leaves room for improvement.