OMICS group to start selling V I @ G R A

HYDERABAD.  Professional spam generator and non-conference organiser OMICS group are to start selling off-label V I @ G R A, The ScienceWeb have learned.

OMICS group were formed in 2008 and have created over 200 fake open-access journals that have never been read; many of them have not published a single paper.  They also organise non-conferences, fooling scientists into attending by announcing fake keynote speakers, such as Professor Optimus Unicorn.

When scientists actually turn up to OMICS group non-conferences, they find only a room containing 4 confused scientists and a table with some half-eaten custard creams on it.

The real value of the group is in the 1000s of real e-mail addresses that they have managed to scrape from the internet, which they constantly spam with invites to their non-conferences and non-journals.  To further exploit these e-mails, they are about to begin a concerted effort to sell them off-label V I @ G R A and C ! @ L 1 5.

In a related move, BITS conferences (China) are about to take over the Nigerian lottery, as well as bank accounts containing the lost fortunes of Royalty and politicians throughout the African continent that need to be transferred to a bank account in the West as soon as possible.

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This weeks paper of note

The Science Web would like to begin a series of mini-articles alerting our readers to papers of note.  This week, an article from the New England Journal of Bullshit detailing how the use of completely made-up scientific terms almost saved a boys life (but ultimately didn’t):

Wilson M. et al (2014) Probing genomic dark matter using unbiased next-generation sequencing and a cloud-enabled bioinformatics pipeline. NEJB 1:1-57


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STAP papers to be re-submitted to PLOS ONE

JAPAN.  The two controversial stem-cell papers recently retracted by Haruko Obokata of the RIKEN institute are to be re-submitted to PLOS ONE, The ScienceWeb has learned.

In the papers, Obokata claimed to be able to create embryonic-like stem cells simply by stressing normal cells with acid (the pH kind, not the hallucinogenic kind).  However, after several attempts to reproduce the findings failed, both papers were retracted.  The related research on stressing researchers with coffee is unaffected.

As the papers have now effectively been rejected by Nature, Obokata plans to spend two weeks re-formatting the text, ready for a submission to PLOS ONE.

“We thought about the obvious candidates, like PLOS Biology, Genome Biology, PNAS etc, but we thought we’d run into exactly the same problem as before – people would notice that the research is crap” a source from RIKEN stated.  “So we’ll just go straight for PLOS ONE, it should get published there with no real issues” they continued.

The habit of submitting to a high-impact journal, being rejected and then reformatting for PLOS ONE is becoming increasingly common in academic circles, so much so that certain researchers have sarted to miss out the first step entirely.  Those rejected from PLOS ONE simply submit to bioRxiv and move on.

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Top journals in bioscience release guidelines for publication

LONDON, UK.  The World’s top ten journals in the biosciences have come together to release guidelines that they believe scientists should follow to ensure publication, and The Science Web has gained exclusive access to these.  We print them below, without modification:

In order to ensure that we publish only the very best news-worthy stories, we encourage all of our submitters to follow the guidelines below.

1. First, choose an interesting, though controversial, topic; such as “the impact of the microbiome on health”, or “trans-generational epigenetic effects”.

2. We recommend that you carry out experiments on only a few, well chosen individuals.  Using a small numbers of subjects increases your chance of finding an effect; also, we simply don’t have the space to publish studies on larger numbers of samples.  Be wary of increasing the numbers, or checking in an independent population – your effect may disappear completely, and we would definitely not publish a negative result.  Don’t worry about the “small N” problem, we can simply extrapolate.

3. You should probably look at only a small number of well-chosen candidate genes.  Again, by limiting the number of genes you look at, you will increase the chance of finding a difference.  There’s really no need to look “genome-wide” – simply use your awesome encyclopaedic knowledge of the subject to pre-determine what the answer is – after all, you knew what you would find before even starting the study, didn’t you?

4. If at first you don’t find an effect, torture your data until you do.  This can be done by dropping “pesky” outliers from the dataset.  And remember, it doesn’t matter how small your effect is – simply fiddle with the scale on your graphs to make it look bigger!

5. Speculate wildly and inaccurately about the significance of your results; don’t worry if your results, only ever observed in a tiny population on a small number of genes, and completely unreplicable, have very little real-world significance – simply make stuff up about how it impacts our understanding of e.g. human evolution or the existence of alien life

6. Ignore statistics, almost completely.  Definitely do not correct p-values, it only makes them less significant. We don’t have space for error bars

7. Please do not put any interesting methodological information in the main paper – our readers are not interested in *how* you did it; bury that in the supplement


There we are!  The Science Web are proud to bring you this exclusive guide on how to get published in only the very best high-impact journals.  Enjoy!

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Pharmaceutical companies wish science would just **** off!

LONDON.  A spokesman for a group of some of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world has stated that he wishes science would just **** off and leave big pharma companies alone.

Pressure has been building in recent years to force pharmaceutical companies to reveal the details of all clinical trials after high profile cases such as Seroxat, where manufacturer GSK published only one of five trials carried out.

In more recent times, it has been revealed that Tamiflu is no better than a hug from your mum when treating flu symptoms.  The UK government is under attack for spending almost £0.5 billion stockpiling a drug that reduces the effect of symtpoms by just a few hours.  Critics have pointed out that “a few hours” is far less time than patients would have to spend in queues, or on hold, waiting to actually get the drug.

“I’m sick of this crap” said the pharma spokesman, who wishes to remain anonymous.  “All of these scientists expecting us to do science.  What do they thing this is?  University?  We’re not in the business of doing science, we’re here to sell drugs to rich people and **** everyone else.  Science should just **** off and leave us alone”.

Dr Gold Benacre, son of Jesus, Lord God of all that is Holy in Science, open-science advocate, wit and general good egg, responded “If people get flu, I will personally come round and give them a hug.  This will be far better than Tamiflu, and the cost of my bus fare will be far less than 400 million quid!”

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Neanderthals just “trailer trash”, claim scientists

ALABAMA.  Some scientists have reacted with fury to the news that humans and neanderthals interbred, claiming that Neanderthals were just the ancient equivalent of “trailer trash”.

Neanderthals are an extinct species of human under the genus Homo, though their exact relationship to modern humans is hotly debated, as is their extinction.  Many suspect that a large population of Neanderthals still exists in the Northern UK city of Middlesborough, where the characteristic flat forehead is prevalent and natives have only a limited capacity for language.

The interbreeding theory has brought a furious reaction from certain quarters.  “Why, they’re just trailer trash, that’s all!” said Prof JF Christ of the University of Alabama.  “Most humans didn’t have anything to do with them!  Just a few stupid humans, got drunk on fermented apples and gone done something they regretted in the mornng.  Then look what happened!”.  Dr Christ is referring to the theory that Neanderthals contributed several “disease risk” genes to modern humans, including Type II diabetes, Chrohn’s and Lupus.

However, many disagree with the comparison of Neanderthals to “trailer trash”.  “There is considerable evidence that Neanderthals were good parents, which is more than can be said for those who impose bigoted beliefs on their own children” countered Prof D Arwin of the Rationality Insitute of New York.

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Satirical news site Genomeweb set to close

NEW YORK.  The satirical news site Genomeweb, which publishes “news” stories about genomics, is set to close down after getting exactly zero laughs in its 17 year history.

GenomeWeb began in 1997 publishing hilarious hyper-real stories about genomics and science, culminating in the classic “Genome scientists at genomics institute set to do more genomics“.  However, the hyper-realism proved too much for readers, who just assumed it was a genuine, yet really bad, news site.

“The problem is that our comedy is just too meta” said Graeme Web, founder of the site.  “At first we couldn’t believe it – we’d write really stupid stories, and people would believe them.  Then we’d write more and more ridiculous things, brand them as news, thinking that eventually the penny would drop – and it never did” he continued.

The ScienceWeb, as a genuine news site, are sad to learn of the demise of Genomeweb, one of the funniest and most under-rated satirical news sites on the internet.  There exists a small but dedicated community who remain huge fans of the hyper-real sarcasm of Genomeweb, and who will never forget classics such as “Scientists need big computer for big data”, “Scientists buy big computer for big data”, “Large GWAS finds lots of SNPs”, “Researchers think genes might be responsible for genetics”, “Other researcher say ‘Don’t forget about Epigenetics’”, and the unforgettable “Idiotic researchers sequence totally irrelevant genome”.

Genomeweb – we will miss you!

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