Speaker: Dr. Rosie Redfield
In late 2010 NASA-funded scientists claimed to have overturned a basic principle of biochemistry by finding bacteria that used arsenic in place of phosphorus. Science blogs and Twitter rapidly spread the word that the data were unreliable and the findings contrary to the known chemistry of these elements. These social media interactions led to an open-science collaboration that overturned the claims. The talk will consider the conflicting effects of secrecy and openness in such processes as peer review and pre-publication embargoes.
Rosie Redfield is a UBC microbiologist and Professor of Zoology; her RRResearch blog has highlighted open science in action since 2006. Her initial critique of NASA’s claimed arsenic-using bacteria led to a series of open-science experiments culminating in refutation of the results. She’s a firm believer in peer review, but thinks the publication embargo system should go.