Scientific integrity: dropping points

Scientific integrity has become a major issue in scientific research. The debate about scientific fraud, plagiarism, and other forms of scientific misconduct has its origin in some highly publicised cases of eminent scientists accused of publishing fake data. These observations raise many questions. One of the known misconducts is the deliberate dropping of data points, acknowledged by 15% of scientists surveyed in recently published integrity studies asking them about their behaviour in the previous three years. This misconduct originates in a wrong understanding of what scientific knowledge is, and how it is progressively constructed, argues Michel Morange, director of the Centre Cavaillès for History and Philosophy of Sciences at the Ecole normale supérieure, Paris, France.

Prices: numbers that don’t fit

This article has been produced as part of a data journalism initiative called ‘Medicamentalia – Vaccines ‘ brought to you by the Civio Foundation. It outlines some of the successes in vaccination campaigns from governments across the world. It also gives you a historical perspective on the key scientists who have been instrumental in developing vaccines of the past centuries. Find out more, it makes for an insightful reading.

The Scientists Dating Forum celebrated an event linking science and society in a relaxed environment for the first time

‘How democratic should science be?’ was the question that opened the first Scientists Dating Forum public event. In the evening of the 26th October, around 30 people meet in Flatherty’s Irish Pub (Barcelona) to discuss the participation of society in science while having a beer.

Biological mechanisms discovery by globally-distributed research force

Not every scientist has the comfort of a well-equipped lab. However, newly available open platforms for biomedical in silico discovery could soon spark the brains of millions of researchers forming a geographically-distributed work force across the globe. This no longer requires working in a high-tech lab to contribute to the discovery of new mechanisms in health and diseases. Meanwhile, new opportunities for trainees, scientists and patients to practice annotation of genetic databases, could push the boundaries of open science towards countries where it has not yet been possible to work on such projects. In the second part of a two-part series, Barend Mons from the Leiden University Medical Centre, The Netherlands, explains how it could work in practice, and how close we are to realising this initiative.

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Diabetes prevention requires multiple concerted strategies

Diabetes is one of the largest global health emergencies of the 21st century. On a global scale, there are an estimated 415 million people aged 20-79 with diabetes. These include 193 million who are undiagnosed. A further 318 million adults with impaired glucose tolerance are also at high risk of developing the disease. In 2015 alone, diabetes and its related complications will have caused 5 million deathsand cost 12% of the global healthcare spend. How can we slow, stop, or reverse the diabetes epidemic?

Mistrust towards policy-makers, not misplaced

This opinion piece by Ann Cahill, president of the International Press Association Brussels, critiques the public’s ability to hold decision-makers to account via media. The assessment is that the system has broken down, the old world has disappeared giving rise to a deep and unbridgeable divide between the professionals and the citizens, with vested interests manipulating a political class fed on buzz-words, the latest fad, or their own greed for power or wealth.

Innovator travels convoluted path to therapy trial

Read about the challenges that Stephane Huberty, an entrepreneur who is also a medical doctor, since he was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis (MG). This article accounts of the many meanders that he had to face on the path to bringing a disruptive innovation–a vaccine for MG–towards the market. This demonstrates that in innovation circles, there is no one-size-fits-all and that some innovations may not quite fit the existing innovation system as expected.

Clinical trials Eldorado based on quality, not cost

Central and Eastern Europe is proving very attractive to pharma and biotech companies for clinical trials. Highly motivated patients, well-qualified investigators, speed of trials and quality of data as well as lower costs are frequently listed attractions. All together, the population of Central and Eastern Europe represents greater number of people than that of either the United States or the five largest Western European markets combined. Besides, the region also offers a convenient location—at the heart of Europe—for drug and device industries to carry out clinical trials. This article explore in many details the many reasons that makes life science industry come back over and over again to these territories, which have gained their reputation through a combination of rigour, high education levels and historic legacy.

A new model for open innovation: the Structural Genomics Consortium

Open innovation is often suggested as a solution to enhance productivity in under-performing areas of research. Now, the strengths and weaknesses of a new open innovation model in drug discovery have been evaluated. Our evaluation focuses on the model adopted by the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC), a public-private, open access, not-for-profit organisation created in 2004.