Elsewhere in Science, 9 May 2014


Each week, Science publishes a number of articles that are likely to be of interest to career-minded readers. Because those articles are published on the other Science sites, Science Careers readers could easily overlook them.

To remedy that, every Friday we’re pointing our readers toward articles appearing in Science—the print magazine as well as ScienceInsider, ScienceNOW, Science Translational Medicine (Sci. TM), and Science Signaling—that hold some relevance to careers in science and other technical fields. (Note that articles appearing in Sci. TM, Science Signaling, and Science may require AAAS—the publisher of Science Careers—membership, a Science subscription, or a site license.)

► In April, we reported that stem cell scientist Haruko Obokata (the lead author of the two STAP—stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency—papers in Nature) was found guilty of research misconduct by a RIKEN investigating committee. Obokata appealed the decision, but, as Dennis Normile reported in a Thursday ScienceInsider, “the same investigating committee rebutted the points of her appeal one by one and concluded ‘that there is no need to re-investigate the results of the committee’s investigation.’ “

The story got weird last week when we learned that Shunsuke Ishii, the chair of the RIKEN investigating committee that found Obokata guilty of research misconduct, is also under investigation for research misconduct. Then on Monday, Normile reported that images in papers published by three other members of the committee are raising questions, and that “the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper is reporting that RIKEN President Ryoji Noyori has asked all laboratory and research group leaders to check all of their previous publications for doctored images and plagiarism. The newspaper quotes an unnamed RIKEN official as saying the directive covers at least 20,000 publications.”  

► More research integrity news: In a News & Analysis story in this week’s issue of Science, Frank van Kolfschooten reported from Amsterdam “that a national research integrity panel has found evidence of data manipulation in the work of social psychologist Jens Förster, of the University of Amsterdam (UvA).”

“I do feel like the victim of an incredible witch hunt,” Förster wrote on the Retraction Watch blog.

► On Monday, we posted a Career Q&A with Amy Robinson, the creative director of the EyeWire citizen-science computer game. John Bohannon has more on the game, which “recruits volunteers to map out those cellular contours within a mouse’s retina,” at ScienceNow. 

► For a Tuesday Insider post, Kai Kupferschmidt interviewed Christian Drosten, a virologist at the University of Bonn in Germany, who is “among those leading the effort to understand Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and contain the disease.” The interview touched on authorship issues when Kupferschmidt wrote, “Others have charged that [Saudi Deputy Minister of Health Ziad Memish] demands to be a publication’s first or last author just in return for providing samples.” Drosten’s answer: Memish deserves it.

► Another House committee is “moving to block” the closure of a laboratory where scientists study a piece of our own planet, according to a Wednesday Insider post by Puneet Kollipara. The proposal would save the jobs of 108 employees and contractors.

► Also Wednesday at ScienceInsider, Hristio Boytchev reported on the latest development in the battle of a German neuroscientist against a campaign by animal-rights activists. While the work of neuroscientist Andreas Kreiter, a professor at the University of Bremen who researches the neurophysiology of the macaque brain, has met fierce resistance since the 1990s, the hostility reached an all-time high last April when a full-page ad against him and his work ran in national newspapers. This week, the scientific community came out in Kreiter’s support when the Alliance of Scientific Organizations in Germany issued a “sharply worded” article stating that the ad ” ‘crudely hurts the personal rights’ of the scientist” and “defames biomedical research as a whole,” Boytchev wrote. Kreiter’s university has filed libel charges against the activists’ organization.

►This week’s NextGen VOICES survey asks, “What is the most challenging ethical question facing young investigators in your field? How should it be addressed?” Responses must be submitted by 16 May. The best responses will be published in the 4 July issue of Science.

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