Another of my societies has circulated the request from Director Scarpa of the CSR to supply screened lists of senior scientists to serve on study sections. Interestingly, the head of this one has downplayed the “screened” part of the request. So far, there is no chatter on either list respecting the implications of this request.

You can see some of the motivation for appearing to include professional societies here.

Comments from Kathy Wilson of The American Society for Cell Biology:

Staffing Panels

  • Have at least 10% junior people on each section. Their freshness and honesty can counteract some of the conservatism and self-interest.

Um…wow. Somebody gets it…

But then there’s:

Dr. Gregory A. Petsko, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

  • Assistant professors should not serve on study sections


Dr. Gail Cassell, American Society for Microbiology

  • No one beneath the associate professor level should serve, nor should those who have unsuccessfully competed in peer review. Peers should review grant applications.

same old drek about seniority. No explaining the reason why this is recommended…as usual.

Perhaps more telling in the Q and A:

Q: Particularly in this funding climate, it is important to use a lot of caution when using a merit-based system. We should continue to avoid cronyism and especially not bias against younger people.

No answer was supplied for Zerhouni, Tabak or Yamamoto. I’m picturing them on the dias looking at each other with blank looks…

There is still work to be done people. The comment period closes on the 7th…



August 28, 2007

Writedit has been cataloging the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) findings of scientific/research misconduct, as well as the odd retraction or two.

Young Female Scientist has a good take on the usual “the now-departed postdoc did it” issue including a set of instructions on how to not be a faker-facilitating PI. Go read it.

Two essential points.

First, many good PIs are deathly afraid of being victimized by cheaters in their lab operating without their knowledge. The usual finding of “the postdoc/grad student/tech did it” underlines this paranoia.

Second, readers of ORI findings who are familiar with labs in which suspicious data are common wonder a LOT about the complicity of the PI in such cases. The first comment to the Young Female Scientist post explores this.