Boston Blog

BU biolab delayed; highlights from the Network

The construction of the controversial BU BSL-4 lab in the South End is almost complete, but it probably won’t open until 2009, rather than this fall as first planned, according the Globe today. That’s because the environmental review being done by the NIH is taking longer than expected. The original review had been sharply criticized by scientists and by the courts and BU was order to do it again.

We have had some really popular and interesting discussions lately on NN that I wanted to draw your attention to.

*Plagiarism and self-plagiarism*: An “analysis of Medline”: (described in _Nature_ last week) uncovered many instances of duplicate papers being published and it led this week to one “retraction”: One of the researchers behind this analysis has “weighed in”: on this “discussion”: about whether this is a growing problem (some say yes), the challenges of dealing with the problem (eg how do you check if an author has submitted the same manuscript to two journals at the same time?), what can be done to change a culture that rewards having a long list of publications, and when it is acceptable to publish similar but separate reports of your work in different places.

The discussion sparked this cynical, but hilarious tongue-in-cheek “blog post”:, giving tips on how to pump up your publication record.

In another forum, we got lots of “responses”: in December and earlier this month to a “commentary”: published in _Nature_ in December about the ethics of using *cognition-enhancing drugs*, and their use in academia.

To follow up, the Nature News team decided to do an online “survey”: asking people if they use these sorts of drugs (many reportedly do to enhance concentration) and whether they think healthy people should be allowed to use them. Stay tuned for further stories from the news team in which we’ll hear more about the results of the survey.

This week, _Nature_ also ran two pages of “letters to the editor”: on this topic.

There’s also been some “conversation”: about whether more journals should allow Asian researchers to publish their names in their own language, in addition to the English version, to deal with the challenge of figuring who, say, Wei Wang is. Wei Wang translates in eight distinct Chinese names.


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