When science journalist Ivan Oransky co-founded Retraction Watch, a blog with the express purpose of making scientific retractions more public, he didn’t think he would be posting much.
“Adam Marcus, my co-founder, was quoted as saying, ‘yeah, we figured we’d post periodically, our mothers would read it, they’d be very happy, nobody would read it other than them.’ Obviously that hasn’t been the case,” says Oransky in this first of a series of podcasts on scientific integrity.
Now putting out almost a post a day and funded in party by a grant from the MacArthur Foundation, the blog has revealed - and no doubt helped drive - a boom in retractions the last few years.
What is leading to so much bad research, and just how is Oransky’s blog keeping scientists honest?
Oranksy points to science career pressures and financial incentives as part of the problem. He also explores the issue of cell line authentication, a particular quality concern in cancer research.
We couldn't resist the chance to pull this veteran journalist into our recent debate over whether the genomics revolution is delivering on its promise.
And finally, Oransky was at the now infamous woman's luncheon in South Korea last month when a nobel laureate, Tim Hunt, blew the crowd away . . . and not with brilliance.