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The Dark Side of Science: Misconduct in Biomedical Research

August 14, 2020

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Science builds upon science. Even after peer-review and publication, science papers could still contain images or other data of concern. If not addressed post-publication, papers containing incorrect or even falsified data could lead to wasted time and money spent by other researchers trying to reproduce those results. Several high-profile science misconduct cases have been described, but many cases are yet undetected. Elisabeth Bik is an image forensics detective who left her paid job in industry to search for and report duplicated and manipulated images in biomedical articles. She has done a systematic scan of 20,000 papers in 40 journals and found that about 4% of these contained inappropriately duplicated images. In her talk she will present her work and show several types of inappropriately duplicated images. In addition, she will show how to report scientific papers of concern, and how journals and institutions handle such allegations.


After receiving her PhD in Microbiology at Utrecht University in The Netherlands, Elisabeth Bikworked 15 years in the lab of David Relman in the School of Medicine at Stanford on the microbiomes of humans and marine mammals. In May 2014, she founded Microbiome Digest, an almost daily compilation of scientific papers in the rapidly growing microbiome field. From 2016-2019, she worked at two microbiome startup companies, uBiome and Astarte Medical. In March 2019, she left her job to become a science integrity volunteer and occasional consultant. She can often be found discussing science papers on Twitter at @MicrobiomDigest, writing for her blog ScienceIntegrityDigest or searching the biomedical literature for inappropriately duplicated or manipulated photographic images and plagiarized text. Her work has been recently featured in Nature:




Harvard John A. Paulson School Of Engineering And Applied Sciences