“I am concerned about the rush to use blogging and social media to report early experience with a complex biological experiment. Most scientific experiments take time and many replications to work confidently, and early reporting may reflect a negative bias.”
“Journals are far too slow and frankly just too politically correct.”
“I suspect that in (a) hypothetical social media-less reality there would be no Nature or RIKEN investigations going on to help clarify certain elements of the STAP situation. I’m convinced there would also have been no detailed STAP protocol put out there in the public domain as we saw pop up yesterday. The two STAP Nature papers would also almost certainly still be behind pay walls instead of openly available via my request to Nature to make them that way.
“Yet at the same time dozens of labs would still be trying STAP-related experiments relatively in the dark and unconnected to each other, wasting time, reagents, and other resources. For a long time, in that hypothetical scenario, only Nature, RIKEN, and the STAP authors themselves would have entirely controlled the flow of information about STAP cells. With all due respect I don’t think that would have benefited the stem cell field.”
“I think this was a successful experiment – a lab meeting without borders. Imagine that a STAP researcher was reporting her results at a lab meeting – you and the hundreds of others in your worldwide lab would be obligated to give critical feedback. The authors shouldn’t feel any more personally attacked than they would if their colleagues in the meeting were criticizing their work. This should be familiar to everyone who works in a lab.”
“Consider that most papers submitted to journals last November 26th have still not been published. That’s not a random date – it happens to be the day NASA launched an Atlas rocket carrying the Mars Scientific Laboratory from Cape Canaveral.
“While, on Earth, scientific papers were languishing in editorial purgatory and peer review, bouncing back and forth while authors attempted to cater to some reviewer’s whim, maybe went to another journal, and then sat around in production for months while the awaited online publication, an SUV-sized robot made its way to another planet, landed with pinpoint accuracy on the surface and started beaming back pictures. NASA 1. Publishing 0.”