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(Nature)   Good: research group publishes study identifying new cellular proteins contributing to obesity & Type 2 diabetes. WTF: the data were apparently stolen and published under fake names   (nature.com) divider line 24
    More: Strange, W.T.F.?, Elsevier, PubMed, cell biologist, organizational behavior, scientific misconduct, scientific methods, insulin resistance  
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1126 clicks; posted to Geek » on 27 Sep 2013 at 3:51 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



24 Comments   (+0 »)
   
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2013-09-27 02:44:16 PM  
Kudos to subby for using data in plural.

/pedant
 
2013-09-27 03:00:07 PM  
I dunno what happened in TFA, but research theft can be a big problem. What I have heard of being more common is when someone takes a paper published in a different language, then translates it and republishes it as their own work. This can be very damaging, because it allows unqualified individuals to gain acceptance in their own circles, and before you know it the preeminent scientist of Nowhereistan hasn't got a damn clue what he's doing.

I love pointing this out, but research is  hard. Your average graduate student is paid something like $2500-$3000 per month. On the cheap end, you can have one graduate student and one research advisor work together for anywhere from 3-6 months. The advisor's time is no doubt split among many projects, but they probably contribute something like $1000 worth of time/effort per month. On the cheap end, a single published research paper is going to require at least $10,000 of investment, while more complex projects that require more time, multiple graduate students, multiple advisors, or undergraduate researchers are going inflate that number. One paper I worked on I would estimate at $50,000 once you break out the cost of paying the researchers involved. Once you figure in ancillary costs of keeping the lights on you double those figures.
 
2013-09-27 03:05:07 PM  

Fubini: $2500-$3000


Woops, that's wrong. The average graduate student makes $2000-$2500 per month (mainly based on cost of living adjustments). Typically somewhere between $25,000 and $30,000 per year.
 
2013-09-27 04:05:07 PM  
those whacky scientists
 
2013-09-27 04:29:53 PM  
Somebody is pissed since the patent isn't in place yet and the forthcoming obesity pill might get one upped coming to market.
 
2013-09-27 05:05:04 PM  
So...using the Crick/Watson model of research, where somebody else does most of the work and you get all the credit?
 
2013-09-27 05:05:51 PM  

Radak: Kudos to subby for using data in plural.
/pedant


I'll allow you your pet peeve, but 'data' as a singular mass noun is also correct.
 
2013-09-27 05:06:27 PM  
This sounds like something a displeased post-doc might do, especially if their boss is sitting on data, waiting for the big reveal that can get the manuscript in a high impact journal like Cell.  BBRC is a low impact journal where many an unfinished dissertation project gets cobbled up together and heaved into publication.  I wouldn't be surprised if the authors were once in Spiegelman's lab
 
2013-09-27 05:08:57 PM  

Fubini: I love pointing this out, but research is hard. Your average graduate student is paid something like $2500-$3000 per month.


Try $1800 or so a month.
/And I'm in farking PHYSICS.

*sees correction*

Nevermind!

At least my field of physics is one that's expanding rapidly, and overlaps a lot. Yaaaaay nanophysics. And fark people that leave @#%T#@ CRUCIAL STEPS OUT OF THEIR GODDAMN PAPERS. "Damnit, why can't we get this silver nanosphere synthesis to WORK!? What's going wrong?" *emails paper author.* "Oh! Well, obviously, you have to do the synthesis under nitrogen. It won't work under oxygen." "... At no point does your paper say that. At all." "Well, yeah, it's implied in our field of chemistry!" "........."

At least it was a collaborator that had to deal with that, and not me.
.. I'm still proud I got the nanorod synthesis to work perfectly after only two tries.
 
2013-09-27 05:13:36 PM  

Radak: Kudos to subby for using data in plural.

/pedant


Your welcome.


/I keed, I keed!
 
2013-09-27 05:16:07 PM  

piledhigheranddeeper: This sounds like something a displeased post-doc might do, especially if their boss is sitting on data, waiting for the big reveal that can get the manuscript in a high impact journal like Cell.  BBRC is a low impact journal where many an unfinished dissertation project gets cobbled up together and heaved into publication.  I wouldn't be surprised if the authors were once in Spiegelman's lab


In the comments, someone suggests that "Everyone within the muscle and fat metabolism research field knows that Bruce Spiegelman have experienced severe stalking by a researcher within the same field." It's not my field, so I don't know the back-story, but i find this intriguing...

It's hard to see what anyone would gain from this. As of now, malice seems like the clearest explanation.
 
2013-09-27 05:20:27 PM  
For those that can't download the paper, this is the withdrawal notice from Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications:

BBRC has been targeted by a scheme to defraud our editors, reviewers and readers with submission of
a manuscript with falsified author and institutional information and therefore wholly unverifiable
scientific claims. The manuscript has been withdrawn. We consider such abuse of the editorial and peer
review system with the submission of fictional content unethical and it wastes the valuable time of all
those who contributed to the evaluation of this manuscript. We are currently exploring which local
authorities would have jurisdiction, and will with such authorities explore the question of whether this
also constitutes a criminal case of internet fraud and we anticipate turning over to them all of the information we have been able to attain from EES regarding the source of the fraudulent submission.
 
2013-09-27 05:22:17 PM  

TabASlotB: BBRC has been targeted by a scheme to defraud our editors, reviewers and readers with submission of
a manuscript with falsified author and institutional information and therefore wholly unverifiable
scientific claims. The manuscript has been withdrawn. We consider such abuse of the editorial and peer
review system with the submission of fictional content unethical and it wastes the valuable time of all


*Grumpycat GOOD.jpg*
 
2013-09-27 05:33:35 PM  
I bet it was someone that was going a lot of the leg work and not getting any attributation.
 
2013-09-27 05:50:48 PM  
Oh, the poor little mercenary researcher, my ass bleeds for him.
 
2013-09-27 06:16:11 PM  

WyDave: So...using the Crick/Watson model of research, where somebody else does most of the work and you get all the credit?


Came here to say that, although half the problem is the Nobel people not wanting to award someone posthumously. In a case like that where someone died so young, they should have made an exception.
 
2013-09-27 06:21:02 PM  
Release data via, ah, theft, before big corn shuts it down.
Or patent isn't fully registered yet, since [sarcasm] you need a fully detailed product description along with a working model to patent it[/sarcasm].

i.imgur.com


/I also have an engine that runs on 100% water(salt or fresh), but if I release it, I will be killed by Koch drones.
 
2013-09-27 07:18:24 PM  

Fubini: I dunno what happened in TFA, but research theft can be a big problem. What I have heard of being more common is when someone takes a paper published in a different language, then translates it and republishes it as their own work. This can be very damaging, because it allows unqualified individuals to gain acceptance in their own circles, and before you know it the preeminent scientist of Nowhereistan hasn't got a damn clue what he's doing.

I love pointing this out, but research is  hard. Your average graduate student is paid something like $2500-$3000 per month. On the cheap end, you can have one graduate student and one research advisor work together for anywhere from 3-6 months. The advisor's time is no doubt split among many projects, but they probably contribute something like $1000 worth of time/effort per month. On the cheap end, a single published research paper is going to require at least $10,000 of investment, while more complex projects that require more time, multiple graduate students, multiple advisors, or undergraduate researchers are going inflate that number. One paper I worked on I would estimate at $50,000 once you break out the cost of paying the researchers involved. Once you figure in ancillary costs of keeping the lights on you double those figures.


I don't know what field you work in, but in my field (biochemistry), you're looking at $27500 in salary per student, plus $4000/yr in health insurance, plus $3500/quarter in tuition (at a public university). That's $45000 in salary plus benefits plus costs. At the same time, a typical research project will run $1000 a month in supplies (what my lab budgets), and it typically takes 3-5 years to produce a paper on a new project. 4 years on average is $48,000 in costs * 1.4 (an extra 40% for overhead that the university takes, which is 20% here, plus professor salary + support staff like techs) * 4 years is 268,000 + (4 years * $45000 in salary) = $450,000 give or take.

So figure $450,000 per paper, perhaps $500k at a private school with higher tuition. It's the same in private industry, though the rewards there are billion dollar patents instead of tenure.
 
2013-09-27 07:20:28 PM  

Apik0r0s: Oh, the poor little mercenary researcher, my ass bleeds for him.


I'm sure you have a legitimate criticism of Dr. Spiegelman other than your usual hate speech about conspiracies involving a certain ethnic group.

Oh, wait.  You don't.  You're just more of a coward than your friends in the pointy hoods.
 
2013-09-27 07:30:44 PM  

prometa: I don't know what field you work in, but in my field (biochemistry), you're looking at $27500 in salary per student, plus $4000/yr in health insurance, plus $3500/quarter in tuition (at a public university). That's $45000 in salary plus benefits plus costs. At the same time, a typical research project will run $1000 a month in supplies (what my lab budgets), and it typically takes 3-5 years to produce a paper on a new project. 4 years on average is $48,000 in costs * 1.4 (an extra 40% for overhead that the university takes, which is 20% here, plus professor salary + support staff like techs) * 4 years is 268,000 + (4 years * $45000 in salary) = $450,000 give or take.

So figure $450,000 per paper, perhaps $500k at a private school with higher tuition. It's the same in private industry, though the rewards there are billion dollar patents instead of tenure.


Your annual cost data sounds about right, but one paper per 3-5 years is low by current standards.  The first paper may take that long, but there's always follow-up papers, reviews, etc.  Most graduate students, especially at an elite institution like Harvard, graduate with a lot more than 2 papers.

According to PubMed, Spiegelman published 12 papers in 2012 alone.  His lab has 14 researchers plus support staff, so it's pretty close to 1 paper/researcher/year.  I'd bet those 12 papers/year cost a lot less than the ~$6M/year you're projecting.  (And no one would accuse Spiegelman of just churning out crap-- 3 in Cell and 1 in Nature in 2012 alone.)
 
2013-09-27 08:01:07 PM  

Fubini: I dunno what happened in TFA, but research theft can be a big problem. What I have heard of being more common is when someone takes a paper published in a different language, then translates it and republishes it as their own work.


I know two different scientists here in the States that this has happened to.  One mathematician had his work (two papers) stolen and re-published by some guy in India.  The other guy had his work stolen by a guy in China.  All of the stolen work was re-published in European journals with slightly different titles.
 
2013-09-27 11:11:27 PM  

prometa: Fubini: I dunno what happened in TFA, but research theft can be a big problem. What I have heard of being more common is when someone takes a paper published in a different language, then translates it and republishes it as their own work. This can be very damaging, because it allows unqualified individuals to gain acceptance in their own circles, and before you know it the preeminent scientist of Nowhereistan hasn't got a damn clue what he's doing.

I love pointing this out, but research is  hard. Your average graduate student is paid something like $2500-$3000 per month. On the cheap end, you can have one graduate student and one research advisor work together for anywhere from 3-6 months. The advisor's time is no doubt split among many projects, but they probably contribute something like $1000 worth of time/effort per month. On the cheap end, a single published research paper is going to require at least $10,000 of investment, while more complex projects that require more time, multiple graduate students, multiple advisors, or undergraduate researchers are going inflate that number. One paper I worked on I would estimate at $50,000 once you break out the cost of paying the researchers involved. Once you figure in ancillary costs of keeping the lights on you double those figures.

I don't know what field you work in, but in my field (biochemistry), you're looking at $27500 in salary per student, plus $4000/yr in health insurance, plus $3500/quarter in tuition (at a public university). That's $45000 in salary plus benefits plus costs. At the same time, a typical research project will run $1000 a month in supplies (what my lab budgets), and it typically takes 3-5 years to produce a paper on a new project. 4 years on average is $48,000 in costs * 1.4 (an extra 40% for overhead that the university takes, which is 20% here, plus professor salary + support staff like techs) * 4 years is 268,000 + (4 years * $45000 in salary) = $450,000 give or take.

So figure $450,000 ...


In my field, biochemistry, we're at about 26k/year (32k if you're on an elite fellowship).  The other costs you're listing are on the low end--tuition is way more than that at most universities (I'm at public), and health insurance costs aren't considered part of salary. Most places I interviewed at did NOT offer health insurance; notably, I picked the one that did. I spend over 1k/month on supplies.  A single paper may take 3-5 years to produce, but in my experience, it's 3-5 grad-student-years, of which the last year produces 95% of the data.  (Average across my year--I know one VERY promising student who has published something like 4 ground-breaking MS papers in his 4th year, while other students are still languishing.)

On the other end, though, I have to question.  I spent 3 years in "failed" projects.  Some of them revealed useful information about the proteins I focused on--metal preference, buffer preference, methods of purification--but I never did find the golden ticket (enzyme activity).  Later it turned out one wasn't even an enzyme in the classical sense, but rather a chaperone.  The data I collected is still valuable for followup studies, but will never be published.

I'm publishing on the one that worked.  Where do I publish--and how do I convince my PI to publish--on the others?
 
2013-09-27 11:14:45 PM  

Felgraf: Fubini: I love pointing this out, but research is hard. Your average graduate student is paid something like $2500-$3000 per month.

Try $1800 or so a month.
/And I'm in farking PHYSICS.

*sees correction*

Nevermind!

At least my field of physics is one that's expanding rapidly, and overlaps a lot. Yaaaaay nanophysics. And fark people that leave @#%T#@ CRUCIAL STEPS OUT OF THEIR GODDAMN PAPERS. "Damnit, why can't we get this silver nanosphere synthesis to WORK!? What's going wrong?" *emails paper author.* "Oh! Well, obviously, you have to do the synthesis under nitrogen. It won't work under oxygen." "... At no point does your paper say that. At all." "Well, yeah, it's implied in our field of chemistry!" "........."

At least it was a collaborator that had to deal with that, and not me.
.. I'm still proud I got the nanorod synthesis to work perfectly after only two tries.


I know your frustration!  I'm working on figuring out CRISPR-based genetic modifications of mammalian cells for my lab, and the people publishing papers in this field do NOT provide a full methods section.  "We transfected the ds-oligo with the CRISPR plasmid" is NOT enough info.  How many ug of DNA of each did you use?  Did you alter this for different cell types?  So many questions.  Supplemental methods lets you answer those, but people aren't using it that way...yet. Probably never, because leaving out crucial details gives your lab the advantage, and science still works that way.

I read a paper a few years back where a group tried to repeat experiments present in scientific literature.  Something like 26% of experiments were repeatable, AFTER contacting the labs involved for tips & tricks.  This points to something seriously wrong.  (I believe this study was biochem focused--anyone else recall it/have a link?)
 
2013-09-27 11:56:42 PM  

Aestatis: Felgraf: Fubini: I love pointing this out, but research is hard. Your average graduate student is paid something like $2500-$3000 per month.

Try $1800 or so a month.
/And I'm in farking PHYSICS.

*sees correction*

Nevermind!

At least my field of physics is one that's expanding rapidly, and overlaps a lot. Yaaaaay nanophysics. And fark people that leave @#%T#@ CRUCIAL STEPS OUT OF THEIR GODDAMN PAPERS. "Damnit, why can't we get this silver nanosphere synthesis to WORK!? What's going wrong?" *emails paper author.* "Oh! Well, obviously, you have to do the synthesis under nitrogen. It won't work under oxygen." "... At no point does your paper say that. At all." "Well, yeah, it's implied in our field of chemistry!" "........."

At least it was a collaborator that had to deal with that, and not me.
.. I'm still proud I got the nanorod synthesis to work perfectly after only two tries.

I know your frustration!  I'm working on figuring out CRISPR-based genetic modifications of mammalian cells for my lab, and the people publishing papers in this field do NOT provide a full methods section.  "We transfected the ds-oligo with the CRISPR plasmid" is NOT enough info.  How many ug of DNA of each did you use?  Did you alter this for different cell types?  So many questions.  Supplemental methods lets you answer those, but people aren't using it that way...yet. Probably never, because leaving out crucial details gives your lab the advantage, and science still works that way.

I read a paper a few years back where a group tried to repeat experiments present in scientific literature.  Something like 26% of experiments were repeatable, AFTER contacting the labs involved for tips & tricks.  This points to something seriously wrong.  (I believe this study was biochem focused--anyone else recall it/have a link?)


Maybe this one:

Forensic bioinformatics and reproducible research in high-throughput biology
KA Baggerly, KR Coombes - The Annals of Applied Statistics, 2009
 
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