GlaxoSmithKline's research facility in Upper Merion, Pennsylvania.

GlaxoSmithKline's research facility in Upper Merion, Pennsylvania.

Montgomery County Planning Commission/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Elsewhere in Science, 29 Jan. 2016

Every Friday, Science Careers points to articles in the Science family of publications that are relevant to careers in science and other technical fields. Some of them are accessible to anyone, but access to articles appearing in Science Translational MedicineScience Signaling, and Science may require AAAS membership (AAAS is the publisher of Science Careers) or a site license.

► “Last week, federal prosecutors in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, announced the indictments of biomedical researchers Yu Xue and Lucy Xi, as well as three associates, for trade secrets theft, wire fraud, and other charges,” Mara Hvistendahl reported Tuesday at ScienceInsider. “The scientists stand accused of emailing and downloading proprietary data about [GlaxoSmithKline] products and sending it to contacts working for the Chinese startup Renopharma, which provides contract research services for early drug discovery, according to its website.” However, “[a]ttorneys are urging caution in evaluating the strength of [the] case,” which “bears some similarities, they say, to other recent cases involving Chinese American or Chinese defendants in which federal prosecutors abruptly dropped charges because of improper analysis or insufficient evidence.”

► “Germany’s excellence program gets good grades,” Gretchen Vogel reported this morning from Berlin. Moreover, “one of the best ways to build on the country’s Excellence Initiative, a decade-long program that was supposed to boost German universities to world-class status,” would be to “award millions of euros in extra funding to its 10 top-performing universities, an international commission recommended today.” “Since 2006, the federal government has poured €4.6 billion into the Excellence Initiative. … None of the universities that have benefited from the program so far has reached the top of the world rankings, but [commission chair Dieter Imboden, a physicist at ETH Zurich in Switzerland,] said such transformations take time,” Vogel wrote. “Although the initiative hasn't reached its goals yet, ‘it has set the system on the right path,’ Imboden told a press conference.”

► Later in the day, Vogel reported that “[a] documentary on Swedish Television … has prompted the Karolinska Institute ... in Stockholm to consider reopening its investigation into possible misconduct by surgeon Paolo Macchiarini.” The three-part series “presents evidence that before the surgeries, Macchiarini reassured patients by telling them that animal experiments had been successful when none had taken place. It also follows the story of a woman who received an engineered trachea as part of a clinical trial Macchiarini was conducting in Krasnodar, Russia. Her trachea had been damaged in an accident, but the injury was not life-threatening and she was relatively healthy before receiving the transplant. She did not survive.”

► The Letters section in this week’s issue of Science included responses to Science journals Editor-in-Chief Marcia McNutt’s 11 December 2015 editorial questioning the future of tenure. “Academic freedom that only tenure can provide is critical for the protection of scientists,” George Leikauf wrote, while Toby Walsh asked, “Wouldn't it be better to argue that we need to consider how tenure is awarded so all can profit from the freedom it brings…?” Check out the full comment section for more.

► During a December meeting in Havana, organized by AAAS and the Cuban Neuroscience Center, scientists from the United States and Cuba “discussed a biomedical research fellows exchange program for early and midcareer scientists in both countries,” Becky Ham wrote in the AAAS News & Notes section in this week’s Science. “One part of the exchange program, administered by the AAAS Center for Science Diplomacy and supported with a grant from the Lounsbery Foundation, may bring Cuban scientists to the United States as early as May, said Marga Gual Soler, project director at the AAAS center. She said the center is also working to identify funds to bring U.S.-based scientists to Cuba.”

► Although researcher Jörgen Johansson’s numerous battles with the bureaucracy hydra have taken a toll on him, they have made him stronger, he says. Read this week’s Science Careers-produced Working Life story for some advice about how you too can win your battles with the hydra.

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