Sunday, December 03, 2006

Science on the Hwang Woo Suk saga

The journal Science, which published the now-discredited -- and fabricated -- research findings from Hwang Woo Suk's group, has a special page containing all the public statements made by its staff on its pages. The highlight of this page, of course, is the report of the committee that went into the journal's role to see if this fiasco could have been averted. The NYTimes reports:

After reviewing the paper record of how the Hwang reports were handled, a panel led by John I. Brauman, a chemist at Stanford University, yesterday recommended four changes in Science’s procedures.

A risk-assessment method should be developed to flag high-visibility papers for further review, the panel said. Also, authors should specify their individual contributions to a paper, a reform aimed at Dr. Hwang’s stratagem of allowing another researcher, Gerald Schatten of the University of Pittsburgh, to be lead author of one of the reports even though Dr. Schatten had done none of the experiments.

The panel advised online publication of more of the raw data on which a scientific report is based. It also suggested that Science, Nature and other leading journals establish common standards for reviewing papers to prevent authors bent on deceit from favoring journals with laxer standards.