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For Better Science is 5 years old

My website is now 5 years old. A look back at what my readers and I achieved.

5 years ago today, I started my website, For Better Science, and I think there are two groups of people: those who really hate me and my work, and those who wish someone more respectable would do it. That was almost a joke: of course there are many fans, and I am very grateful for all your support, moral and financial.

My special big thanks go to Smut Clyde, my cherished and utterly unpaid contributor, as well as to my other pseudonymous collaborators Tiger BB8, Morty, Cheshire and my only named collaborator, the amazing Elisabeth Bik, plus others who probably rather don’t want to be named here (but you do know I mean you ;-). Huge thanks to you all!

And I am also very grateful to all the academic whistleblowers and patients or their families who use my site to share their concerns and evidence, named, anonymous and intentionally unmentioned. I am particularly proud of my investigation of the Paolo Macchiarini trachea transplant affair, which extended to his enterprising collaborators in Germany, UK and Sweden. Especially for that investigation, the contribution of Professor Patricia Murray and Elizabeth Woeckner cannot be exaggerated. Thank you so much, Trish and Liz!

Five years ago, on 28 October 2015, For Better Science came into existence with an article about the Swiss Open Access publisher Frontiers, which was followed by other posts, further endearing me to the OA community. It is among my top 10 most popular articles even now, and Frontiers’ reputation became somewhat dented, as scientists keep referencing my articles.

So, what else did I achieve together with my readers, contributors and whistleblowers?

  • Together with Patricia Murray and Liz Woeckner, we achieved a termination of an EU-funded phase 2 clinical trial with trachea transplants, run by Macchiarini’s former colleague Martin Birchall. Two related phase 1 trials tanked also. Now Patricia Murray succeeded to tank yet another clinical trial, by the company Celixir owned by Nobelist Sir Martin Evans.
  • France was rocked by several high profile research integrity scandals caused alone by my reporting. First, the star plant scientist Olivier Voinnet (stranded in Switzerland), then the CNRS chief biologist Catherine Jessus (resigned), then the CNRS interim president Anne Peyroche (dismissed), and even current governmental Minister for Research Frederique Vidal was caught with manipulated research data in her papers. These were just the biggest cases I reported which were picked up by the French media. This week the French Parliament will vote on enshrining a research integrity mandate into law.
  • Spanish cancer researcher Carlos Lopez-Otin ended up with 9 retractions and a huge pile of murdered mice (they knew too much). Outside of Spain, nobody would want to touch Lopez-Otin with a barge pole now (except his friend Guido Kroemer), in Spain St Carlos of Oviedo is now a martyr saint with a strange Opus Dei association.
  • In Sweden, former rector of the Karolinska Institutet and member of the Nobel Assembly, Karin Dahlman-Wright, was found guilty of research misconduct based on the evidence my readers supplied.
  • Also in Sweden, predatory conference scam by the fake professor Ashutosh Tiwari had to severely downsize and move its operations outside the Linköping University, Tiwari’s patron Tony Turner was made to retire, dismissed as editor of the Elsevier journal he founded and slapped with misconduct findings.
  • Smut Clyde and others cracked several paper mills which sell utterly fabricated “research” papers to paying customers in China. Many journals fell prey, and Chinese authorities announced a crackdown on the mill industry. Media reports on that scandal often, but rarely references the right contributors.
  • Top plant science journal The Plant Cell had to find a new Editor-in-Chief, as the newly recruited one was no good.
  • The highly restrictive Open Access mandate of Plan S became progressively diluted following protests by scientists on my site.
  • Former star of cancer research Pier Paolo Pandolfi lost his new position in Italy, after Michael Balter and myself reported his dismissal for sexual misconduct
  • Cancer researcher Jan van Deursen was so angry about my reporting on his job loss at Mayo Clinic over bullying charges that he decided not to go work in Texas and instead focus on suing me in Germany.

There were many more scandals and affairs my reporting kicked off, too many to mention here. Not all are resolved (see for example the Giorgio Zauli farce in Italy), and if they are, it is not yet public knowledge. In this regard, also the recent coverage of the hydroxychloroquine circus during the COVID-19 pandemic is work in progress.

Till today, I published slightly under 500 posts. I was accused of many things, including racism (towards French, Italians, Greek and Portuguese), misogyny and harassment (my reporting about BethAnn McLaughlin‘s fake western blots made me rather unpopular). Of course I was also accused of grinding the axe and personal grudges.

Here are the 10 most successful articles from the last five years:

  1. Vitamin D for COVID-19
  2. Didier Raoult, the chloroquine genius
  3. Ashutosh Tiwari’s scams
  4. Didier Raoult is mad
  5. The Full Service Paper Mill (thanks to Smut Clyde and the team!)
  6. Gregg Semenza’s ignoble western blots
  7. Is Frontiers a predatory publisher?
  8. Research misconduct and bullying in Manchester
  9. Macchiarini’s secrets in Barcelona
  10. Full list of Macchiarini’s victims

But among the least read articles, there are some German classics which I think are unduly neglected:

  1. Bremen rector is not a plagiarist
  2. How to legally do illegal human experiments
  3. DFG Senator shows how to science
  4. Brain Drain from Moscow to Düsseldorf
  5. Saving Doctor Joussen
  6. Why Macchiarini is still professor
  7. The Pride of Ruhrgebiet
  8. The proper channels
  9. Dr Plentz cures cancer
  10. Hannover heart business

Some of my articles got me sued and sentenced in court, you can read details here and here. One of the lawsuits is still ongoing. But even where I did not win in court, I won the bigger game: my articles are still there, with all the evidence, if you google their names, you will know what they did to people. Your financial support is very important to me, please keep it up if you can. In any case, please spread the word of For Better Science!

Donate!

If you are interested to support my work, you can leave here a small tip of $5. Or several of small tips, just increase the amount as you like (2x=€10; 5x=€25). Your generous patronage of my journalism will be most appreciated!

5.00 €

There is also a “subscription” option, where you can support my site monthly, choose the plan below or contact me to suggest another one. You can cancel your monthly donations any time. Pick your monthly amount, if you like:

There is also a Patreon option, and I made a PayPal pool. You may have noticed I allowed some WordPress advertisement on my site, I hope you don’t mind.

If you wish to contact me, use the contact form below, or via social media (preferably not Faceborg). I am always on Twitter, consider following me!

Otherwise: I offer seminars and workshops for graduate students and postdocs (these days online). For this, and any other issues – get in touch:

Thank you all! To the next 5 years and beyond!


15 comments on “For Better Science is 5 years old

  1. Happy Birthday!!!!

    Like

  2. keep doing the good work. small donation from me to acknowledge your personal courage.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. NMH, the failed scientist and incel

    Thank you for all that you do. You and your compatriots are singlehandedly showing how much published stuff is crap, a light that needs to be shined so that the system can change to a better one.

    Just think of how much the world would be a better one if we didnt have big egos in the pursuit of fame and power causing so much crap to be created. But then you would be out of a job.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Challenger

    Congratulations. Example of how one fearless man makes big difference. Keep going.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Happy anniversary! 🥂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Happy birthday! You’re a good hooman.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Happy birthday! - Ocasapiens - Blog - Repubblica.it

  8. May the Force be with you!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks for your work Leonid. Too bad it is needed, but it clearly is.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thanks so much for your dedications in trying to raise awareness in research integrity. I have learnt a lot from your work. Keep up with the good work.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thank you for your fantastic blog and the quality articles you and your team write in spite of the risk of court cases. You surely make this world a better place.

    Like

  12. If I use my own credit card and not a friend’s to leave you a tip, will you know my identity? Or if I sign up for Patreon, are you going to know the identity of people who donate through that? I want to be able to donate anonymously as I don’t have many friends anymore… and not sure about my options.

    Like

    • I would know your name then… There is still the anonymous “cash in the envelope” option (my postal address is listed) 😉

      Like

      • Okay, that’s a better option; not sure it’s legal but it’s something I’ve done before and the cash always made it through unconfiscated. It still requires a back address from the sender. However, I can use a friend’s house (which is better than using their credit card), and leave their name off the back address as well. It’s more risky so I’ll do a trial with a small amount. Plus you would know it was from ‘blatnoi’ since you know my general geographic area, so it’s not perfect unfortunately… And because of the coronavirus and quarantine requirements I can’t leave here.

        I’m not sure how fast shipping is these days due to the coronavirus. Last time I sent a present to someone overseas it took three months. Granted, it was a small package.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. NMH, the failed scientist and incel

    Ill give my favorite marxist-leninst, Moderna stock holding, antifa leader $$$ when I have some. It will be dirty american money in a white paper envelope, he probably should run it under UV light to make sure the american microbes are zapped. Maybe held up to a car exhaust pipe for a CO dose as well.

    Maybe Thomas Webster could use a handout as well. Interesting to see someone who seems to be so good at shilling himself being taken down for the count.

    Like

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