Why Dr. Ketchum’s paper is taking so long

For those of you keeping up with Dr. K’s paper and hoping for its publication any day now, I found this little tidbit of information in Nature today that may answer why the process is taking so long.

Considerable hard data have emerged on the scale of misconduct. A metastudy (D. Fanelli PLoS ONE 4, e5738; 2009) and a detailed screening of all images in papers accepted by The Journal of Cell Biology (M. Rossner The Scientist 20 (3), 24; 2006) each suggest that roughly 1% of published papers are fraudulent. That would be about 20,000 papers worldwide each year.

Considering the subject of Dr. K’s paper, I imagine unprecedented caution is being taken, especially given the fact that 20,000 papers on so-called mainstream topics are “fraudulent.”  It’s bad enough to be fooled on a “legitimate” topic. It would be journalistic suicide to be fooled on a “fringe” topic.  I’m not saying Dr. K would commit fraud.  I’m just saying the journal that’s publishing her paper is making damn sure everything’s in order before they proceed with publication.

You can read the entire Nature article here –  The time is right to confront misconduct: After a generation of denial, research leaders are finally treating scientific fraud with the seriousness it deserves, says  Colin Macilwain.

Bigfoot has a new name

Working on Book Five, but had to take a break because I just got an email from a friend with some interesting Bigfoot news.  Dr. Ketchum may have dubbed our bigfooted friends feral humans. She’s registered the website FERALHUMANPROJECT.INFO.  I have a feeling that part of the problem with publishing the paper had to do with the use of the word Bigfoot or Sasquatch in the paper.  A journal may have requested they make a change that would make it easier to read without giggling. So, now we have feral humans with big feet… and oh BTW, they’re reported to be 8′ tall.  I have no idea what any of this means, but I do know that about five minutes after I post this someone is going to register the domain name Feralhumanproject.XXX.

Dr. Melba Ketchum: ‘We have the proof’

Dr. K seen here with her proof.

Dr. Melba Ketchum, the team lead in an ongoing study of possible Sasquatch DNA, made a rare public statement today about the progress of her team’s study. And, whether she intended for this to happen or not, the level of expectations have skyrocketed on both sides of the debate. Claiming to have evidence is one thing, but to actually say, as she did, that they have proof is an astonishing statement that will undoubtedly intensify scrutiny. She’s actually gone beyond saying they have proof. She’s intimated they have “extraordinary proof.” Here’s her statement as reported by Cryptomundo in its entirety.

Ok, for the sake of time (and I hope all of you understand), I will answer everyone publicly here. I keep getting a lot of emails from everyone wanting to know the status of the project. Though I cannot give details or timing, I will assure everyone that all is well and we are continuing to move forward. Good science cannot be forced or quickly completed. If it is not extremely thorough, then it will all be for naught and any paper rejected outright. So, I ask you to be patient and understanding and realize that extreme scientific overkill is required in order to convince a world full of skeptical scientists. “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof”. This is what we are doing. When we started this, I thought we would be finished in a few weeks, but instead as Sasquatch are known to do, they threw us curve balls even with their DNA which can be as elusive as they are. Thank goodness we are past that! As a result, we have assembled a renowned team, each of us with our own specialties to make this project “extraordinary”. If everyone will hang in there, I promise it will be worth the wait. We have the proof, now just give us the opportunity to present it in a form that will even convince skeptics. Thanks so much for all of your emails and support. Best wishes to all.

Now, it’s dangerous to read into these things, but I have to offer my opinion on what this statement is really saying. I think Dr. K is preparing us for the very real possibility that the paper won’t be published in 2011. The last release date we had was this fall. Erickson has stated on a number of occasions that the film will be released this fall in conjunction with the DNA analysis. Robert Lindsay has long reported a strained relationship between Erickson and Ketchum, so one wonders if Erickson will split from his previous statements and go ahead and release his documentary ahead of the report if it is indeed delayed again.