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Stemming the Tide - Letís pay science and math teachers more.
City Journal ^ | 16 January 2009 | Marcus A. Winters

Posted on 01/20/2009 7:55:40 PM PST by neverdem

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To: metmom
Or more realistically, if it doesn't pass peer review, it isn't science.

That's what people would like folks to believe, but it just isn't so. There was plenty of science before there was peer review. In fact, most of science was done before there was peer review. Science and Nature are more likely than not to pan anything that is not pro-global warming. Because anti-global warming is not science? No, because they've already adopted a position and they're not going to budge.

I have personally witnessed non-scientific intransigence on a paper of my own for Nature. It didn't have anything to do with the science. We completely nailed that part in multiple ways. It was that publishing our paper would mean that Nature would have to admit that they had peer-reviewed and published a paper that was based on a seriously defective set of experiments. The mutation of a transmembrane domain the other researcher had used was not as he had published because the DNA he sent us, which he claimed to have been used in his experiments, had a single base deletion mutation immediately upstream of the TM domain and two base deletions immediately downstream, meaning that this entire region was frame shifted and created a completely different amino acid sequence than was published.

I had created the mutation based on his published sequence and had gotten different results than what he had published. I wrote to him, got a sample of his original and mutated DNA, sequenced them both, and then discovered the deletions that caused the frame shift. At first I thought this could be why he was getting different results. But when I expressed his frame shifted mutation in two different cell lines (one of them the one he used for the paper), I got expression levels that were even worse than when I was using his published sequence that I had inserted in the transmembrane domain.

I used both his published sequence as well as his actual unintentionally frame-shifted mutant to duplicate other experiments he had done, but the results were wholly different.

No one knows what DNA he had actually used to get these results, but it certainly was neither the published sequence nor his accidental frame-shift mutant. He claimed to the reviewers that his "original DNA" had no single base deletions. What he sent to us did. I had it sequenced right out of the tube. In his original paper, he had gone on to do other experiments based on the results he had claimed to have gotten with the mutant. That is, their meaning would have relevance only if his sequence would do what he had claimed it would do. We demonstrated using his cell line and our cell line, using his construct and our construct, that those results could not be obtained.

We couldn't get published because, one of the reviewers said, his paper had done so much more work that we had not "addressed". We said that that other work rested upon results that couldn't be replicated with either his actual DNA or with his published sequence of that DNA and that all that was necessary to do was to demonstrate that.
151 posted on 01/23/2009 6:51:14 PM PST by aruanan
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To: aruanan
We couldn't get published because, one of the reviewers said, his paper had done so much more work that we had not "addressed". We said that that other work rested upon results that couldn't be replicated with either his actual DNA or with his published sequence of that DNA and that all that was necessary to do was to demonstrate that.

That sounds like a raw deal. Fight it.

152 posted on 01/23/2009 6:57:26 PM PST by Coyoteman (Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.)
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To: aruanan

Thanks for sharing and of course you’re right; anyone that thinks science is somehow immune to ideology and politics is generally a left wing liberal lunatic themselves trying to undermine science to fit their agenda in the first place.


153 posted on 01/23/2009 6:57:58 PM PST by tpanther (The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing---Edmund Burke)
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To: Coyoteman
That sounds like a raw deal. Fight it.

Thanks. Well, let's just say that was a wasted couple years of a post-doc fellowship in a really, really unpleasant laboratory environment, though the confocal microscopy was fun. The funny thing is when I was trying to get in touch with this particular researcher I called his university and asked the department secretary if he was there and she said that he was "still there," with a certain sound in her voice that indicated that they were glad that he soon no longer would be. Ha ha ha.

I was just looking over some of the reviewers' comments. Given what I know about expression levels of muscle acetylcholine receptors in both COS and HEK293 cells, I know they didn't know what they were talking about. If we got normal levels of expression using wild type subunit DNA and failed to show the greater than 50-fold expression level the guy claimed for his mutation (either as published or using his frame-shifted version), the problem in expression wasn't due to our cell-expression system.
154 posted on 01/23/2009 7:19:45 PM PST by aruanan
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To: aruanan
I was just looking over some of the reviewers' comments. Given what I know about expression levels of muscle acetylcholine receptors in both COS and HEK293 cells, I know they didn't know what they were talking about. If we got normal levels of expression using wild type subunit DNA and failed to show the greater than 50-fold expression level the guy claimed for his mutation (either as published or using his frame-shifted version), the problem in expression wasn't due to our cell-expression system.

In science evidence wins out. Fight it.

That's what this whole thing is all about--evidence wins out. But sometimes it requires a bit of persistence to overcome human foibles.

If you got bad reviews from just one reviewer--get a couple of good reviews from recognized experts on your own and resubmit the article with those reviews attached. Have those positive reviewers contact the editor. There are a lot of ways to get around a single bad review. Go for it!

155 posted on 01/23/2009 7:53:19 PM PST by Coyoteman (Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.)
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To: aruanan
Because anti-global warming is not science? No, because they've already adopted a position and they're not going to budge.

It was that publishing our paper would mean that Nature would have to admit that they had peer-reviewed and published a paper that was based on a seriously defective set of experiments.

Sounds like there's more ego involved than anything.

I've noticed that there's a tendency when some change coming down the pike in scientific thinking, that one never hears the words, *We were wrong about _______*.

Usually what seems to happen is that the issue is dropped for an appropriate amount of time and then the new proclamations are made without reference to the older ones as if the new ones had been what scientists had believed all along.

I've noticed it to be especially prevalent in the medical community and in regards to global warming/cooling, but maybe that's only because they are so prominent.

It sure rots that you got such a raw deal on all your work for what probably amounts to politics.

156 posted on 01/23/2009 7:53:58 PM PST by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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