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Posts

April 21, 2014

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12:15 AM | Research leads to food and sport deals
The commercialisation of CSIRO research and technology reached an important milestone last week with agreements being signed in the food, sport and surveying industries. CSIRO has now created more than 150 companies and currently hold interests in around 30. It [...]testThe post Research leads to food and sport deals appeared first on Australian Science.

April 20, 2014

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11:41 PM | Brutal honesty: Author takes to PubPeer to announce retraction — and tells us she’ll lose PhD, professorship
Over the past week, there have been a number of comments on PubPeer — a site of which we’re big fans — about a 2007 paper in Oncogene. The comments suggested that the figures in the paper had problems. Some bands seemed to be duplicated, and one of the images looked very much like that […]
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5:00 PM | How to make graphene in a kitchen blender
Don’t try this at home. No really, don’t: it almost certainly won’t work and you won’t be able to use your kitchen blender for food afterwards. But buried in the supplementary information of a research paper published today is a domestic recipe for producing large quantities of clean flakes of graphene.  Read more
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5:05 AM | Weekly Science Picks
Indeed, it’s Sunday again. But, it’s not only Sunday. It’s Easter for all Christians all over the globe. Happy Easter to everyone! Also, it’s our time to recapitulate what have happened in this week. To be honest, the task was [...]testThe post Weekly Science Picks appeared first on Australian Science.

April 19, 2014

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6:19 PM | Introduction to Traditional Peer Review
Peer review was introduced to scholarly publication in 1731 by the Royal Society of Edinburgh, which published a collection of peer-reviewed medical articles. Despite this early start, in many... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

Bailar, J. (2011). Reliability, fairness, objectivity and other inappropriate goals in peer review, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 14 (01) 137-138. DOI:

Biagioli, M. (2002). From Book Censorship to Academic Peer Review, Emergences: Journal for the Study of Media & Composite Cultures, 12 (1) 11-45. DOI:

Benos DJ, Bashari E, Chaves JM, Gaggar A, Kapoor N, LaFrance M, Mans R, Mayhew D, McGowan S, Polter A & Qadri Y (2007). The ups and downs of peer review., Advances in physiology education, 31 (2) 145-52. PMID:

Bornman, L. (2008). Scientific Peer Review: An Analysis of the Peer Review Process from the Perspective of Sociology of Science Theories, Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge, 6 (2)

Brown, R. (2006). Double Anonymity and the Peer Review Process, The Scientific World JOURNAL, 6 1274-1277. DOI:

Callaham ML, Baxt WG, Waeckerle JF & Wears RL (1998). Reliability of editors' subjective quality ratings of peer reviews of manuscripts., JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association, 280 (3) 229-31. PMID:

Godlee, F., Gale, C. & Martyn, C. (1998). Effect on the Quality of Peer Review of Blinding Reviewers and Asking Them to Sign Their Reports, JAMA, 280 (3) 237. DOI:

Lee, C. J.,, Sugimoto, C. R.,, Zhang, G., & Cronin, B. (2013). Bias in Peer Review, JASIST, 64 (1) 2-17.

Spier R (2002). The history of the peer-review process., Trends in biotechnology, 20 (8) 357-8. PMID:

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2:11 PM | Weekend reads: How to rescue science, what “censorship” really means, worst paper of the year?
Another very busy week at Retraction Watch. There were a lot of gems elsewhere. Here’s a sampling: Biomedical research in the U.S. must be rescued, write four heavy hitters in PNAS. It’s “time to confront the dangers at hand and rethink some fundamental features of the US biomedical research ecosystem.” “If you’re yelled at, boycotted, […]
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12:15 AM | 2014 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science
The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science are Australia’s national annual awards for recognition of outstanding achievement in science and excellence in science education. Nominations are open to Australian citizens and Australian permanent residents. The five awards are: • The Prime [...]testThe post 2014 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science appeared first on Australian Science.

April 18, 2014

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5:00 PM | Authors retract study suggesting magnesium prevents Alzheimer’s in mice
The authors of a 2013 Journal of Neuroscience study suggesting that “elevation of brain magnesium…may have therapeutic potential for treating [Alzheimer's disease] in humans” have retracted it after finding errors in the work. Here’s the original abstract: Profound synapse loss is one of the major pathological hallmarks associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and might underlie […]
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2:35 PM | Moon dust probe crashes
A NASA spacecraft that studied lunar dust vapourized into its own cloud of dust when it hit the far side of the Moon, as planned, in a mission-ending impact on 17 April. Launched last September, the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) finished its primary mission in March. In early April, on an extended mission, it made close passes as low as 2 kilometres above the surface, gathering science data on more than 100 low-elevation orbits. Mission controllers deliberately crashed […]
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1:30 PM | Doing the right thing: Physicists retract paper after becoming aware of “a fundamental error”
The authors of a paper in Physical Review Letters have retracted it, after another researcher pointed out a mistake. F. Sattin and D.F. Escande write in the notice for “Alfvénic Propagation: A Key to Nonlocal Effects in Magnetized Plasmas” (which is behind a paywall) that after the paper was published, they “we became aware of […]
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11:30 AM | The biotech industry with Rob Carlson
In this interview, I speak to Dr. Rob Carlson, a Principal at Biodesic, an engineering and strategic consulting firm in Seattle that provides services to governments and corporations around the globe. At the broadest level, Dr. Carlson is interested in the future role of biology as a human technology. He is the author of the book Biology is Technology: The Promise, Peril, and New Business of Engineering Life, published in 2010 by Harvard University Press; it received the […]
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3:24 AM | Stem cell researcher in Korea up to half a dozen retractions
Almost two years ago, we brought you — with the help of Trevor Stokes — the story of a stem cell researcher in Korea whose publication record, and career, unraveled after evidence of image manipulation surfaced in her work. We’ve reported on four retractions, all in Antioxidants & Redox Signaling, by Soo-Kyung Kang, formerly of Seoul […]
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12:15 AM | The Future of Solar Power Technologies in Australia
As the cost of fossil fuels go up around the world, and the impact of climate change becoming increasingly avoidable, people are looking for reliable, alternative sources of energy. With the favourable climate in Australia, it’s a no-brainer that solar [...]testThe post The Future of Solar Power Technologies in Australia appeared first on Australian Science.

April 17, 2014

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9:35 PM | Females have penises! And a Spanish news outlet breaks an embargo
Embargo Watch has some penetrating news about a real cock-up. Here’s the top of an email from Cell Press to its media list today: The following paper and press release is no longer under embargo due to a breach in Cell Press’s embargo policy by a news outlet. The paper is publishing online in the […]
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7:13 PM | Publisher to pulp existing copies of science communication book because of plagiarism
The publisher Taylor & Francis has decided to pulp all existing copies of a 2012 book on science communication, and suspend electronic copies indefinitely, after it became clear that the text was plagiarized from the work of another author. The book, Clear and Concise Communications for Scientists and Engineers, was written by energy and environmental […]
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3:30 PM | Heart study retracted because it was submitted without permission of most of the authors
A group of authors in South Korea has lost their 2012 paper in Clinical Cardiology because, well, they weren’t a group after all. The paper, “Correlation of Electrocardiographic Changes and Myocardial Fibrosis in Patients With Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Detected by Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging,” came from corresponding author Hyun Suk Yang, of Konkuk University School of […]
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1:45 PM | String of PNAS embargo breaks continues with one from Sacramento Bee
For the fifth time this year, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) had to lift the embargo early on a study because of an embargo break. From the PNAS news office this morning at 8 a.m. Eastern, days ahead of the Monday afternoon scheduled embargo time: Due to an embargo break, PNAS […]
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1:30 PM | Data highjinx forces retraction of tumor paper in JBC
The Journal of Biological Chemistry has an illuminating retraction notice — we’re happy to be able to say — about a 2001 article from a group of researchers at the National University of Singapore. The paper, “Intracellular acidification triggered by mitochondrial-derived hydrogen peroxide is an effector mechanism for drug-induced apoptosis in tumor cells,” was written […]
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12:15 AM | Science & Cooking
I can hardly think of a more appealing nexus of the sciences, for most of us and for obvious (and delicious) reasons, than food. Add a kind of engineering to the mix, and you get the study of cooking. Back [...]testThe post Science & Cooking appeared first on Australian Science.

April 16, 2014

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6:00 PM | Expression of Concern tarnishes copper oxide paper
Articles, like lawn furniture, aren’t supposed to rust after just two months. But the Journal of Materials Chemistry A has issued an Expression of Concern for a February 2014 paper by a group of chemists from India over possible problems with several figures in the article. The paper, “Hierarchically macro/mesostructured porous copper oxide: Facile synthesis, […]
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3:30 PM | Integrity of data “undisputed” in paper pulled for plagiarism
I shot the sheriff But I didn’t shoot no deputy, oh no! Oh! I shot the sheriff But I didn’t shoot no deputy, ooh, ooh, oo-ooh. —Bob Marley A group of pharmacologists in Japan has retracted their 2004 article in the International Journal of Pharmaceutics for plagiarism. But not, they note, for any other reason. […]
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1:30 PM | Multiple data errors force retraction of paper about preemies
A group of neonatal researchers in Caen has lost their 2013 review article in Archives of Disease in Childhood Fetal & Neonatal Edition for a variety of problems with their analysis of the data. The article was titled “NIDCAP in preterm infants and the neurodevelopmental effect in the first 2 years,” and its first author was […]
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11:17 AM | New agricultural trends to feed the world
The agriculture sector needs to double food production by 2050 to meet growing global populations – a tremendous feat considering the challenges posed by climate change, water shortage and how the increase in farming land is not catching up with demand. That’s why scientists are up to their ears looking for ways to sustainably increase production of crops capable of withstanding different environmental stresses.  Read more
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7:42 AM | Q&A on dynamic documents
At GigaScience one of our major goals is to take the scientific publishing beyond dead trees and static PDFs to a more dynamic and interactive process, much like science itself has embraced the Internet to become more networked and data driven. One way we have done this is by enabling the histories and analyses from papers to be visualized and executed through our GigaGalaxy server (see our recent posting on this), but on top of integrating workflows into our papers through citable DOIs, the […]
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12:15 AM | Chocolate bytes with virtual mouth this Easter
Here’s something to chew over. Easter chocolates, along with our favourite everyday foods, could taste just as good but be healthier in future, thanks to new technology that is revealing the science of chewing. CSIRO’s 3D mastication modelling, demonstrated for [...]testThe post Chocolate bytes with virtual mouth this Easter appeared first on Australian Science.

April 15, 2014

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8:41 PM | Highlights from the Keystone Symposium on Stem Cells & Reprogramming
I recently attended the joint Keystone Symposium “Stem Cells & Reprogramming” and “Engineering Cell Fate & Function” at the beautiful Resort at Squaw Creek. In addition to gorgeous weather, there was an amazing lineup of talks demonstrating the power and promise of stem cells and cell/tissue engineering. Here are just a few of the highlights from the meetings:  … Read more
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3:15 PM | NIH/Harvard team loses aging study to manipulated data
Age has retracted a 2012 article by a group of scientists from the National Institutes of Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston after an NIH inquiry turned up evidence of data manipulation in the work. The article, “Aging decreases rate of docosahexaenoic acid synthesis-secretion from circulating unesterified α-linolenic acid by rat liver,” came […]
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1:30 PM | How common is scientific misconduct in Nigeria?
We’ve only covered one retraction from Nigeria. But as we’ve often noted, retraction rates don’t necessarily correlate with rates of problematic research, so the low number doesn’t really answer the question in this post’s title. Lucky for us, a group of authors have started publishing surveys of Nigerian scientists on the subject. In a new […]
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10:28 AM | OpenSciLogs – A Glimpse of the Future of Science Blogging
Guest blog post by Paige Brown, SciLogs.com blogging manager and Ph.D. student in the Manship School of Mass Communication, Louisiana State University.  Read more
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12:19 AM | Events
Grab your calendar, plan ahead — biotech events through June, including the annual BIO Convention.  Read more
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