the era of modern allergy genetics started in 1997 with the Transatlantic Airway Conference at Key Biscayne, Florida. 20 years later, the paper of Ferreira et al. (1) marks the end of an era by reporting the largest study so far of asthma, „hay fever“ and atopic eczema in 180,000 cases. It is the result of an huge international effort of many named and unnamed scientists. Unfortunately, there are major impairments regarding scope of analysis, epidemiological and bioinformatics methods, interpretation and data release. Some issues even contradict nature genetics editorial policies (2), (3), (4). Continue reading Nature Genetics corrupted by 23andme→
It is a bit annoying. If you google for science delusion, you are only referred to Sheldrake. But this is not what I wanted, I was more interested in mad scientists. Not Frankenstein, not Moreau not Dr. Faustus not any literary character, some more real life figures. Also not Venter. But here comes something interesting
In 1951, entomologist Jay Traver published in the Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington [Traver, J. (1951). Unusual scalp dermatitis in humans caused by the mite, dermatophagoides (Acarina, epidermoptidae). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington, 53(1), 1-25.] her personal experiences with a mite infestation of her scalp that resisted all treatment and was undetectable to anyone other than herself. Traver is recognized as having suffered from Delusory Parasitosis: her paper shows her to be a textbook case of the condition. The Traver paper is unique in the scientific literature in that its conclusions may be based on data that was unconsciously fabricated by the author’s mind.
The author ( Matan Shelomi, Mad Scientist: The Unique Case of a Published Delusion Matan Shelomi, Sci Eng Ethics (2013) 19:381-388) believes that a possible retraction of the 1951 paper raises the issue of discrimination against the mentally ill – others may consider this as delusionary correctness.
Retractions are increasing anytime I look around retraction watch. A new PNAS paper now has the most thorough analysis of retractions:
A detailed review of all 2,047 biomedical and life-science research articles indexed by PubMed as retracted on May 3, 2012 revealed that only 21.3% of retractions were attributable to error. In contrast, 67.4% of retractions were attributable to misconduct, including fraud or suspected fraud (43.4%), duplicate publication (14.2%), and plagiarism (9.8%) …fraud has increased ∼10-fold since 1975.
Papers are not sacred – this what I have been advocating even after having personal distress after commenting on a PLoS ONE paper. Nevertheless, the new Nature editorial supports my view
What is needed, instead, is a system of publication that is more meritocratic in its evaluation of performance and productivity in the sciences. It should expand the record of a scientific study past an individual paper, including additional material such as worthy blog posts about the results, media coverage and the number of times that the paper has been downloaded.