Category Archives: science

Replace Francis Collins as NIH Director

For decades the NIH has been the premier funding agency in the world, fueling the rise of the US as the undisputed powerhouse of global science. But in his eight years in charge of federal efforts to understand, diagnose and cure disease, current NIH Director Francis Collins has systematically undermined the effectiveness of the institution and overseen […]

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Exploring the relationship between gender and author order and composition in NIH-funded research

Last week there was a brief but interesting conversation on Twitter about the practice of “co-first” authors on scientific papers that led me to do some research on the relationship between author order and gender using data from the NIH’s Public Access Policy. I want to note at the outset that this is my first foray […]

Also posted in public access, women in science | Comments closed

The Imprinter of All Maladies

Any sufficiently convoluted explanation for biological phenomena is indistinguishable from epigenetics. Epigenetics is everywhere. Nary a day goes by without some news story or press release telling us something it explains. Why does autism run in families?  Epigenetics. Why do you have trouble losing weight? Epigenetics. Why are vaccines dangerous? Epigenetics. Why is cancer so hard to fight? Epigenetics. Why […]

Also posted in epigenetics, gene regulation, My lab | Comments closed

I’m Excited! A Post Pre-Print-Posting-Powwow Post

I just got back from attending a meeting organized by a new group called ASAPbio whose mission is to promote the use of pre-prints in biology. I should start by saying that I am a big believer in this mission. I have been working for two decades to convince biomedical researchers that the Internet can be more than […]

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The Villain of CRISPR

Eric Lander

There is something mesmerizing about an evil genius at the height of their craft, and Eric Lander is an evil genius at the height of his craft. Lander’s recent essay in Cell entitled “The Heroes of CRISPR” is his masterwork, at once so evil and yet so brilliant that I find it hard not to […]

Also posted in Berkeley, CRISPR, University of California | Comments closed

The current system of scholarly publishing is the real infringement of academic freedom

Rick Anderson has a piece on “Open Access and Academic Freedom” at Inside Higher Ed arguing the open access policies being put into place by many research funders and some universities that require authors to make their work available under open licenses (most commonly Creative Commons’ CC-BY) are a violation of academic freedom and should be […]

Also posted in academic freedom, open access, public access | Comments closed

Thoughts on Ron Vale’s ‘Accelerating Scientific Publication in Biology’

Ron Vale has posted a really interesting piece on BioRxiv arguing for changes in scientific publishing. The piece is part data analysis, examining differences in publishing in several journals and among UCSF graduate students from 1980 to today, and part perspective, calling for the adoption of a culture of “pre-prints” in biology, and the expanded […]

Also posted in open access, publishing | Comments closed

Sympathy for the Devil?

My Facebook feed is awash with people standing up for Tim Hunt: “The witch hunt against Tim Hunt is unbearable and disgraceful”, “This is how stupidity turns into big damage. Bad bad bad”, “Regarding the Tim Hunt hysteria”, and so on. Each of these posts has prompted a debate between people who think a social […]

Also posted in women in science | Comments closed

Ending gender-based harassment in peer review

A few days ago Fiona Ingleby, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Sussex (she’s an evolutionary biologist who works on sex-specific behavior and other phenotypes in Drosophila) sent out a series of Tweets reporting on a horrifically sexist review she had received after submitting a paper to PLOS ONE.  Shocking reviewer comments received for our MS on […]

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NIH Director Francis Collins’ ridiculous “We would have had an Ebola vaccine if the NIH were fully funded” meme

Almost as soon as the African Ebola epidemic hit the headlines, NIH Director Francis Collins was making the rounds arguing that we would have had an Ebola vaccine by now, if only Congress hadn’t slashed the NIH budget. Lest you think I’m taking his words out of context, here is what he said to a House Energy […]

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