Publishing and research ethics as wicked problems (#WCRI2017)

Virginia Barbour, until recently president of the COPE, chaired the session on ‘publishing and ethics, wicked problems’. She pinpointed how basic training for scientists often neglects ethics (something some of us are trying to solve!), or how it’s easier each time to modify images sent to papers (a quick look at PubPeer will tell you…

Introducing QA in research (#WCRI2017)

Perhaps one of the most impressive initiatives related to training I heard during the conference was one about incorporating research quality assurance into PhD research training. Rebecca Davies, from the University of Minnesota, linked the concept of QA – Quality Assurance – to research at two levels: sound scientific principles (What do we do)  good…

The role of governments on Research Integrity (#WCRI2017)

Three speakers, all of them politicians, talked on the second plenary session of the 2017 World Conference on Research Integrity about the role of governments in fostering research integrity. Jet Bussemaker, a member of the Dutch Parliament (Ministry of Health) and an academic herself, talked about the importance of independent research in today’s society and introduced…

Pros and Cons of Open Data (#WCRI2017)

I am a firm defendant of Open Science. If the data is free for everyone to use, analyse and reanalyse, we can only benefit: find new results the originals authors were not looking for, realise errors that may have gone unnoticed by others. But I am, it seems, also very naïve. I realised this during…

PubPeer: the good, the bad… and the necessary? (#WCRI2017)

Today I want to start talking about Boris Barbour’s talk. He is one of the founders of PubPeer, and opened the first plenary session of the conference to explain the rationale behind PubPeer, its raison d’etre. His points: Not everything published is true – but what to do about it, other than complaining to colleagues?…

Transparency in animal research

Last Friday June 23rd I attended an open conference on animal research, organized by the PRBB-PCB Animal facility Alliance. The event took place at the PRBB and it was in line with the European Transparency Initiative on the use of animals in scientific experimentation. The PRBB Conference Hall, with a capacity of 250 people, was…

Peer review: the bad and the ugly

Peer review, they say, is like democracy: it isn’t perfect, but it’s the best we have. The miracle, really, is that it works at all. Those in charge of doing it (the reviewers or referees, experts in the field who are asked by journal editors to check a paper) are busy scientists who’d rather be…

On open peer review, reproducibility and registered reports

Jennifer McLennan, from the eLife journal, came a while back to my work to explain how this UK-based ‘new’ journal (2012) works. They receive about 700 submissions per month – that’s about 20 papers per week for each (paid) senior editor, of which there are about 40, to manage. Their top selling point is, according to…

The many shades of Responsible Conduct of Research

Just before the holidays, I went to a seminar by Michèle Garfinkel, Science Policy at EMBO. Since EMBO is both a funder and a publisher, she focused on RCR (Responsible conduct of Research), but also a lot on scientific publishing – which obviously has a lot to do with RCR. She touched plenty of subjects,…