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Meet one of science publishing’s sentinels: Rolf Degen – Retraction Watch (Alison McCook August 2016)0

Posted by Admin in on August 8, 2016

To many Retraction Watch readers, the name Rolf Degen will sound very familiar – for the last few years, he’s earned quite a few “hat tips” by alerting us to retraction notices published across a wide range of fields of research, as well as research on trends in science publishing. We spoke to him about his passion for “truth, wisdom, and the scientific enterprise.”

Retraction Watch: Your name with be familiar to many readers, so can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Rolf Degen: As a freelance science writer living in Germany’s former capital Bonn, since the early 1980s I have had the pleasure to share my enthusiasm for psychology, neuroscience and evolutionary biology by writing articles for major German newspapers and magazines as well as several popular science books. I always found it a privilege to make a living by pursuing questions like “Who am I, how did I become that way – and why am I not Brad Pitt?” For the longest part, my engagement was driven by unbridled obsession and a naive, unswerving trust in that incorruptible voice of truth and wisdom, the scientific enterprise. That is, until Retraction Watch and related voices disseminated the sobering recognition that, all too often, the so-called incorruptible voice has a skeleton in the closet. In my case, that painful insight turned long-standing blind infatuation into a love-hate-relationship…

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How to better flag retractions? Here’s what PubMed is trying – Retraction Watch (Ivan Oransky July 2016)0

Posted by Admin in on August 1, 2016

If you’ve searched recently for retracted articles in PubMed — the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s database of scientific abstracts — you may have noticed something new.

In fact, you may have had trouble ignoring it, which is sort of the point. “It” is a large salmon banner that looks something like this:

We were wondering if the aims were similar to those of the retraction database we’re beginning to build – i.e., to make retractions more transparent — so we asked the National Library of Medicine’s Hilda Bastian to explain the changes….

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Doctor who blew whistle on defunded study speaks – Retraction Watch (Alison McCook July 2016)0

Posted by Admin in on July 31, 2016

t’s rare for the U.S. government to revoke grants – but it happened recently, according to a report this week by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting (KyCIR). As the report notes, in March the government revoked $914,000 in funding awarded to Susan Harkema at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, after discovering problems with a study that examined whether the muscle relaxant baclofen helps paralyzed patients move on treadmills. (The university has denied it lost any government funding; a representative of Louisville Public Media, which houses the KyCIR, is standing by the story.) All of this has not been news to Steve Williams, a physician now based at the University of Washington, who has been raising questions about the study for years.

Retraction Watch: What was your role in the study in question, that’s now been defunded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILIRR)?

Steve Williams: I was the study physician who evaluated patients for enrollment.

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Embedding responsible conduct in learning and research into an Australian undergraduate curriculum (Papers: Lynette B Fernandes 2016)0

Posted by Admin in on July 25, 2016

Abstract: Responsible conduct in learning and research (RCLR) was progressively introduced into the pharmacology curriculum for undergraduate science students at The University of Western Australia. In the second year of this undergraduate curriculum, a lecture introduces students to issues such as the use of animals in teaching and responsible conduct of research. Third year student groups deliver presentations on topics including scientific integrity and the use of human subjects in research. Academic and research staff attending these presentations provide feedback and participate in discussions. Students enrolled in an optional capstone Honours year complete an online course on the responsible conduct of research and participate in an interactive movie. Once RCLR became established in the curriculum, a survey of Likert-scaled and open-ended questions examined student and staff perceptions. Data were expressed as Approval (% of responses represented by Strongly Agree and Agree). RCLR was found to be relevant to the study of pharmacology (69-100% Approval), important for one’s future career (62-100% Approval), and stimulated further interest in this area (32-75% Approval). Free entry comments demonstrated the value of RCLR and constructive suggestions for improvement have now been incorporated. RCLR modules were found to be a valuable addition to the pharmacology undergraduate curriculum. This approach may be used to incorporate ethics into any science undergraduate curriculum, with the use of discipline-specific topics. © 2016 by The International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 2016.

KEYWORDS: ethics education; ethics in science and scientific research; integration of research into undergraduate teaching; pharmacology; responsible conduct

Fernandes LB (2016) Embedding responsible conduct in learning and research into an Australian undergraduate curriculum. Biochemistry Molecular Biology Education. doi: 10.1002/bmb.20990