Journal of unpublication
This is just getting embarrassing. I missed it when Drugmonkey blogged about it, but at least The Scientist did credit him (yo!).
Two highlights from this article that really stuck out to me:
investigation at the Mayo Clinic concluded that one of the lab's researchers, Suresh Radhakrishnan, "tampered with another investigator's experiment with the intent to mislead"
Um, seriously? This is like something out of a premed organic chem lab! Scary!! Can't leave that shit unattended for even one minute!!
But if you got a weird result, wouldn't you, um, at least, do it, like, OVER AGAIN? Or have someone else try to reproduce it, just in case you were doing something weird?
Does that mean these authors either
a) didn't reproduce the results multiple times or
b) he tampered with the results MULTIPLE TIMES??
Gah! That's one of my worst nightmares. That somebody (let's say for example, my PI) might tamper with my samples! But that's why I try to do everything several times several ways to make sure I'm not imagining it. Still, I don't know if I would be able to detect it if someone were sneaky and consistently screwing around with my stuff.
And as Drugmonkey quoted from the PNAS article, I guess this is the problem:
"..In no case did these repeat studies reveal any evidence that the B7-DCXAb reagent had the previously reported activity."
The missing ingredient was the tamperer!
The other thing from The Scientist article was a point I keep hammering like a very dead horse:
I was surprised about this retraction from [Journal of Experimental Biology]" -- the lab's first publication about B7-DCXAb -- "because the groups involved enjoy an excellent reputation in the field," said Melero of the University of Navarra.
Yeah, because reputation determines the OUTCOME of your experiments.