Transgenic mouse company pays academics who cite them in papers


#1

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#2

Wow… that’s… problematic. To say the very least. If you’re getting paid to cite their work, it’s hardly disinterested use of knowledge is it?

I do wonder if they pay no matter how the citation is used? Like if you’re being critical of their work, will they still pay out?


#3

It’s a bit fishy but looking into it 1) No actual money is involved, just credit towards buying more mice from them for future experiments – people aren’t going to make money on this given the cost of transgenic mice, just save a bit on their bill. 2) Technically if you use their mice in the first place you should cite them – that’s how it works. It’s actually not clear what Cyagen hopes to get from this.


#4

It sounds like the free samples that physicians are given by the pharma companies. Sure, it’s not exactly bribery, it just smells like it.


#5

Hot diggity! I’m gonna write me some papers! Anybody got one of them Markov-chain doohickeys?


#6

Hey! Transgenic??? Are you saying that Mickey is gay???


#7

More citations, I’d imagine…

Can’t it still be considered bribery if it doesn’t involve money? I’d say it can be read that way. The big issue with this one specifically is that it skews the supposed objectivity of the scholar, in a very real way.


#8

Get David Mazière and Eddie Kohler to write up a paper. They could get free transgenic mice for life!


#9

It’s a little weird because they are paying in scrip good for future orders; but also paying based substantially on impact factor; and they are also paying for something(mention of supplier, for things that aren’t utterly standardized commodity research ingredients) that would seem to be standard.

I’m not entirely sure how the arrangement is supposed to work: If I want to use their mice anyway, I win because all I have to do is write a decent methods section and a I get free mice. If I think that their mice are dodgy and unreliable, I both won’t be as enthusiastic about getting my next order free and won’t be very keen on risking my ability to get today’s paper written and published by using mediocre mice just in the hopes of getting free mediocre mice later.

It’s too convoluted and slightly-skeezy feeling to just be a straightforward sale; but it also seems like it wouldn’t be too motivational compared to pure bribery, since all the risk is up front and all the rewards are deferred.

Can anyone comment on how close this company’s bespoke mouse services are to becoming a generic lab ingredient? I could see that, if ‘transgenic mouse’ is gradually slipping from something new and exotic enough that the supplier would always be relevant, and toward being something like the long list of reagents where supplier is irrelevant, they might be hoping to encourage authors who could go either way to go their way. If it’s a matter of ‘always mention’ or ‘why would you mention that?’, though, this just seems odd.


#10

The supplier is irrelevant. There are many companies that provide the services. Many academic institutions have on-campus core facilities that perform the same service.


#11

The scientific equivalent of paid product placement…


#12

@japhroaig - got any good transgenic mouse recipes?


Also heard this story about academic publishing on the radio this morning:

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/aug/14/australian-academics-seek-to-challenge-web-of-avarice-in-scientific-publishing


#13

Have I been.publishing transgenic mouse recipes all these years for free??


#14

Can anyone comment on how close this company’s bespoke mouse services are to becoming a generic lab ingredient?

Mice aren’t quite commodities yet and still require citation because even the same strain of mouse from two different suppliers are not genetically identical. In addition, their microbiomes certainly won’t be the same either and microbiome variation is beginning to be recognized as an important factor in explaining experimental (lack of) reproducibility.


#15

How much did BB get paid for writing this and mentioning the company?

It better have been in the millions!


#16

This is making a scandal out of nothing.

Basically the company offers coupons if you let them know that you published a paper using their product. That does not change the scientific literature in any way. You are already required to list all suppliers of all reagents in the Methods section of your paper. This is doubly so for something custom and complicated, like a transgenic mouse. However, the company cannot monitor all published papers to see if researchers used their product, so they ask scientists to let them know.

I looked at the comments at the original blog, and mostly they are by people who saw their ill informed suspicions of corruption in science confirmed. There are plenty of problems in science, but this particular occasion isnt one of those.


#17

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