I’m adding two new ones and an old favorite to the Blogroll today.

Eric’s Idle Musings
are new to me. A post on “just finish the thesis already!” drew my eye and the one on Machiavellian paper authoring sealed the deal.
I think I’ve noticed Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde in comments here and there but don’t recall reading the blog. She ponders why we read retractions outside of our fields, networking and introduces us to the concept of the “pal-reviewed journal“.
post doc ergo propter doc is the old favorite. I imagine my readers are already fans. In reality, I think the only reason this one wasn’t on my blogroll already was because you can find the link on just about every other other science blog! Recent stuff on pseudonymous blogging and the relative importance of choosing a PI versus a scientific project is of interest.

I’m adding two new ones and an old favorite to the Blogroll today.

Eric’s Idle Musings
are new to me. A post on “just finish the thesis already!” drew my eye and the one on Machiavellian paper authoring sealed the deal.
I think I’ve noticed Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde in comments here and there but don’t recall reading the blog. She ponders why we read retractions outside of our fields, networking and introduces us to the concept of the “pal-reviewed journal“.
post doc ergo propter doc is the old favorite. I imagine my readers are already fans. In reality, I think the only reason this one wasn’t on my blogroll already was because you can find the link on just about every other other science blog! Recent stuff on pseudonymous blogging and the relative importance of choosing a PI versus a scientific project is of interest.

SIIIIIGGGGHHHH

This just gets sadder and sadder…
Ashley Youmans, aka Ashley Alexandra Dupre, aka “Kristen”:

… writes that she left home at 17 to begin “my odyssey to New York.”
“It was my decision, and I’ve never looked back,” she writes. “Left my hometown. Left a broken family. Left abuse. Left an older brother who had already split. Left and learned what it was like to have everything, and lose it, again and again.
“Learned what it was like to wake up one day and have the people you care about most gone. I have been alone. I have abused drugs. I have been broke and homeless. But, I survived, on my own. I am here, in NY because of my music.”

I previously noted a new website (brokenpipeline.org) and glossy report on the career “pipeline” problem currently experienced by biomedical research science in the US. This report catalyzed more discussion in the blogosphere on the issue (SciGuy, Jonathan Gitlin, Greg Laden, Dr. Free-Ride; Update 3/13/08: Orac, Harvard Science on a related Congressional hearing, The Neurocritic, Chris Seper). My readers from the past year will recall that I’ve discussed these issues at some length.
My readers will also recall that I have some pointed views on what I see as cultural biases against young investigators at the stage of grant review that have little (specifically) to do with the amount of money available. That is today’s topic for discussion.

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As we discussed contemporaneously here at DrugMonkey, Nature published a retraction last week of a paper from the laboratory of Nobel Prize winner Linda Buck. At his eponymous blog, fellow ScienceBlogger Greg Laden also posted a piece on the retraction. Unfortunately, Laden’s piece egregiously misrepresented both the impetus for the retraction and the relationship of the retracted work to Buck’s Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine (there is absolutely none). PhysioProf, ScienceBlogger and enthusiastically engaged member of the biomedical research community, clearly pointed out Laden’s errors in the comments to that piece.
In a further unfortunate development, Laden refused to acknowledge his multiple mistakes, dug in his heels, and stood by his mischaracterization of the significance of the retraction. Only after extensive back and forth between PhysioProf and Laden, and after numerous other commenters rightly took Laden to task for his blunders, Laden belatedly edited his post to try to correct his errors, to explain why he made those errors, and to editorialize quite broadly on the nature of blogging (and blog commenting), the social organization of the biomedical research enterprise, and publication ethics.
Continuing the unfortunate nature of this entire series of events, Laden’s broad editorializing–which also occurred in part via his own comments to both his piece on the retraction, as well as another meta-piece and comments thereto discussing, inter alia, the disagreement over Laden’s analysis of the retraction–contained a number of additional gross misconceptions about how modern biomedical research occurs, the ethics of authorship in biomedical research, blogging ethics, the nature of so-called “trolling”, and how the Nobel Prize is awarded. PhysioProf is fascinated by each of those topics, and Laden’s series of blunders provides us an excellent context in which to explore them, which we do in detail below the fold.

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The Broken Pipeline

March 11, 2008

A group of research institutes have apparently banded together to discuss the dismal prospects of younger and transitioning research scientists, producing a slick overview document hosted at brokenpipeline.org. Participating institutions include Harvard, Brown, UCLA, Vanderbilt, Duke Medicine, Partner’s Healthcare and Ohio State University Medical Center.
[h/t: coturnix]

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YHN and other parent bloggers (Abel Pharmboy, Dr. Free-Ride, DuWayne Brayton) have been musing on what DuWayne called “the conversation that never ends”. To wit, the conversation that parents anticipate having with their children over the use of recreational psychoactive substances and their attendant risks. The discussion touched on several topics related to parental involvement in teen alcohol consumption which led me to a simple proposal for your consideration DearReader.

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A bare double-handful of weeks post-assimilation I’ve struck a bit of a quandary with respect to readership. As expected, our traffic has jumped up quite a bit. A veeeery slow day around here matches some of our better days on WP. Nice that. But what with the recent transition and the increased traffic and whatnot, its a bit hard to tell much about “our” reader demographics. And yet we have reason to identify at least a couple of “our” readers.

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Lab Slavery

March 7, 2008

It may come as a surprise to some grad students and postdocs to find that the NIH strictly prohibits

labor obtained by any of the following methods: the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.

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Apologies DearReader, we’ve been slacking in our duties around here (writedit is, of course, up to date). The NIH “Enhancing Peer Review” website has the Final Draft of the NIH 2007-2008 Peer Review Self-Study available as a PDF. The NIH is furthermore soliciting comments on this draft, a final chance to get in your two cents on the various issues at hand.

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Welcome, Jane!

March 6, 2008

ScienceBlogs welcomes new blogger, Jane, of See Jane Compute! Her blog is here, so stop by and check it out:
http://scienceblogs.com/seejanecompute

Evidence? Here.
Any exculpatory evidence? You bet.
That’s all I got.
(except a h/t to the back chan, er, that thingum to which we must not refer. and Ack. and since we embrace the diversity, this. I’m out.)
Update 3/6/08: evolgen brings the snark, razib brings the data, Greg Laden discovers his whiteness.

Updated 3/11/08: Apparently Alice is under the impression that this post was making fun of racial diversity issues. It was……sort of. It is true that I think bringing the funneeez can help in grappling with SeriousTopics. If we get too serious however, we have a chance of ending up with a totally perplexing message like this one. I’d rather if I’m going to post something obtuse and perplexing that at least you get a chuckle out of it…

Updated 3/12/08: More on racial diversity in scienceblogging from ScienceWoman, Green Gabbro and Dr. Free-Ride.

Nature published a retraction today of a paper from the laboratory of Nobel Prize winner Linda Buck. The study used a trans-synaptic tracing method to determine ascending axonal projection patterns in olfactory cortex. Here is the substance of the retraction:

During efforts to replicate and extend this work, we have been unable to reproduce the reported findings. Moreover, we have found inconsistencies between some of the figures and data published in the paper and the original data. We have therefore lost confidence in the reported conclusions.

Let’s interpret the significance of the retraction, as well as an interesting comment made by someone in the field:

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The peer-review of scientific papers is in one sense democratic and in another sense highly authoritarian and dictatorial. What is most important is that the scientific peers with the most appropriate level of expertise review a given manuscript which is seemingly democratic. What is most critical, after all, is that the science itself be reviewed with the greatest scrutiny and held to the highest standard, right? The identity, status and formal credentials of the reviewers are less important than is the specific type of expertise.
So what is up with Editorial Boards?

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I’m following up on some blogging resulting from a recent post of mine on the effect Len Bias’ death (apparently) had on population level perception of the riskiness of trying cocaine. This will verge on the type of link-vomitus that is much despised by the PhysioProf, so consider yourself warned!

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