Category Archives: science

Apotheosis of cynicism and deceit from scholarly publishers

The Association of American Publishers, who lobby on behalf of most for-profit and society scholarly publishers, have long opposed moves to make the scientific literature more readily available to the public. But, as open access publishing has gained traction and funders increasingly demand free access to the work they fund, the AAP’s defense of the […]

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The Past, Present and Future of Scholarly Publishing

I gave a talk last night at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco about science publishing and PLoS. There will be an audio link soon, but, for the first time in my life, I actually gave the talk (largely) from prepared remarks, so I thought I’d post it here. An audio recording of the talk […]

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The Immortal Consenting of Henrietta Lacks

Rebecca Skloot has an essay in today’s New York Times discussing the recent publication of the genome sequence of a widely used human cell line.¬†Skloot, as most of you already know, wrote a book about the history this cell line ¬†– known as HeLa for Henrietta Lacks, the woman from whom they were obtained. In […]

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No celebrations here: why the White House public access policy is bad for open access

I am taking a lot of flak from my friends in the open access community about my sour response to the White House’s statement on public access to papers arising from federally-funded scientific research. While virtually everyone in the open access movement is calling for “celebration” of this “landmark” event, I see a huge missed […]

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Please review our new paper: Sequencing mRNA from cryo-sliced Drosophila embryos to determine genome-wide spatial patterns of gene expression

It’s no secret to people who read this blog that I hate the way scientific publishing works today. Most of my efforts in this domain have focused on removing barriers to the access and reuse of published papers. But there are other things that are broken with the way scientists communicate with each other, and […]

Also posted in EisenLab, gene regulation, My lab, open access | Comments closed

Restructuring the NIH and its grant programs to ensure stable careers in science

It is an amazing time to do science, but an incredibly difficult time to be a scientist. There is so much cool stuff going on. Everywhere I go – my lab, seminar visits, meetings, Twitter – there are biologists young and old are bursting with ideas, eager to take advantage of powerful new ways to […]

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How academia betrayed and continues to betray Aaron Swartz

As news spread last week that digital rights activist Aaron Swartz had killed himself ahead of a federal trial on charges that he illegally downloaded a large database of scholarly articles with the intent to freely disseminate its contents, thousands of academics began posting free copies of their work online, coalescing around the Twitter hashtag […]

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Darwin’s Tangled Bank in verse

My daughter has to memorize a poem for a school performance, and asked me if I knew a good poem about nature. There are, of course, many good ones, but I really wanted her to have the most poetic thing ever written about nature – the last paragraph of Darwin’s Origin of Species – rendered […]

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Is the NIH a cult?

As many of you know, I spent a fair amount of time last month engaged in debates about the wisdom of California’s Proposition 37, which would have mandated the labeling of genetically modified foods. While many of these discussions were civil, one particularly energetic fellow accuse me of having been brainwashed by the “cult of […]

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Retraction action, what’s your faction: the dangers of citation worship

If you ask scientists to list words they are most afraid to hear associated with their work, I suspect “retraction” would rank high on the list. Retraction is a kind of death sentence, applied only when papers contain serious methodological errors or were tainted by fraud. So the recent retraction of a PLoS Pathogens paper […]

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