Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

It's a Given

In an opinion column at The Scientist, Lisa Cosgrove — associate professor at the University of Massachusetts and research lab fellow at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University — says bias in research is "unavoidable," and it's time the scientific community faced the issue rather than pretending it doesn't exist. And disclosing financial conflicts of interest isn't enough, she adds. "Many argue that subjectivity in the research process and the potential for bias can be eradicated by strict adherence to the scientific method and transparency about industry relationships," Cosgrove says. "Together, scientists believe, these practices can guarantee evidence-based research that leads to the discovery and dissemination of 'objective' scientific truths. The assumption is that the reporting of biased results is a 'bad apple' problem — a few corrupt individuals engaging in research fraud. But what we have today is a bad barrel." It has been shown over and over that transparency alone isn't enough, and that objectivity doesn't necessarily result from "adherence to the scientific method," she adds.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.