Saturday, December 02, 2006

Breaking News: Extraordinary Claims to Require Extraordinary Proof

There's more fallout from last year's blockbuster South Korean stem cell paper that was later shown to contain fabricated data. A panel including the editor-in-chief of Science is developing new guidelines to evaluate the most newsworthy manuscript submissions -- because the classic system of peer review is obviously not catching the frauds. USAToday has more:
"The environment for science has changed," says Science editor-in-chief Don Kennedy. The report noted the rewards of publishing in Science, or its rival journal Nature, such as "enhanced reputation, visibility, position or cash rewards is sufficiently high that some may not adhere to the usual scientific standards." Kennedy said Science will follow the panel's recommendations, including:
* Higher scrutiny of studies with surprising, newsworthy or political impacts.
* Reporting the roles of all authors and co-authors.
* Establishing common review standards with other journals.
"Science says that it is committed to change, so one should take them at their word and see what follows," says science misconduct expert Nicholas Steneck of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
E..."current peer review procedures are based on trust," says Brian Martinson of HealthPartners Research Foundation in Minneapolis. "The report makes clear that is an increasingly risky position to take."The panel estimated that about 10 papers a year will require this extra scrutiny, which suggests to us that the panel itself is still a little deluded about the situation.
More from the Washington Post...

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