Archive by date | December 2006

Statements of competing interest

Philip Ball’s column in this week is about Richard Doll, and whether he should have stated in his publications that he received consultancy fees. The Nature journals’ policy on competing interests is summarized here. As ever, we welcome comments from scientists about the practice of declaring such interests, whether financial, ethical or personal, in published papers. How relevant are any or all of these conflicts to the strength of the scientific conclusions reported in a peer-reviewed paper? In particular, we welcome feedback about our own policy, via comments to this post.  Read more

What scientists think about animal experiments

This week’s Nature devotes its entire News Feature section to the topic of laboratory animals, with articles about Nature’s poll to find out what scientists really think about the use of animals in research; attitudes to research on primates; and the implications of the expected explosion in the number of mice used in experiments, as mouse disease models proliferate and are refined. All these features, and more, are collected in a special web focus. Join the discussion of these pieces and the reaction to them in the news blog .  Read more

Web visibility

In today’s Nature, Masao Ito and Thorsten Wiesel of the Human Frontier Science Program write in Correspondence about the lack of international visibility of many Japanese scientists, in that they are very difficult to find by search engines and indeed in publication databases. (The full text of the Correspondence is on the continuation sheet of this post.)  … Read more

RSCC plots

In tomorrow’s Nature (14 December issue), Bernard Rupp suggests in Correspondence that peer-reviewers can judge the quality of structures by using the “RSCC” plot, rather than requiring the full coordinates. Prof Rupp says: “Generated as a part of validation during structure deposition, these plots can be produced without any additional work by authors. The plots can be provided with the manuscript or as supplemental material to convince reviewers of the model quality in critical areas, without forcing authors to reveal coordinates and structure factors prematurely.”  … Read more

Nature Publishing Group articles in OARE portal

Nature Publishing Group has joined with other leading science publishers to develop a web portal called OARE (online access to research in the environment). The project provides countries in the developing world with free or reduced cost access to the scholarly environmental record, and is modelled on the HINARI and AGORA projects for health and agricultural communities, respectively, in which NPG is already a partner.  Read more

Policies on data fabrication

There is much comment in Nature and elsewhere this week about the two fraudulent stem-cell papers published in and retracted from the journal Science. Science‘s editors commissioned an external committee to report on its handling of the papers, in the light of which the journal is likely to begin extra scrutiny for “high risk” papers. For more details, see Nature’s news story in the current issue (vol 444, pp 658-659; 7 December 2006), and this special feature.  Read more