Amy Bishop, the Stephen Glass of biology?

Ruchira Paul points me to a blogger who's been digging through Bishop's recent published works, and there's a lot of fishy stuff in there. You have to read it to believe it. Here's the conclusion:

There is no question that Dr. Bishop is smart. But it also seems very evident that she suffers delusions of genuis. Far from establishing a record of accomplishment warranting the grant of tenure, since joining UAH Dr. Bishop took a long nap on her one true laurel -- her affiliation with Harvard .

Evidence strongly suggests that Dr. Bishop used her husband, her family and by all appearances the sham 'Cherokee Labsystems' to fabricate a record of recent accomplishments. Her use of essentially an online vanity publisher further diminishes her professional stature.

It should have been no surprise to Dr. Bishop that the University easily saw through the smoke and mirrors and that she would not receive tenure. But an oversized ego can be blinding.

It seems clear that Dr. Bishop re-wrote the rules for herself. Rather than face the reality that she needed to conduct real research and publish substantial, scholarly work in peer reviewed journals, Dr. Bishop tried to cheat her way to tenure. And, when that failed, it appears Dr. Bishop premeditated a new plan: if you don't accept what I publish, you will perish.

Some readers mentioned putting her kids on a paper as a co-author. But it might not have been an isolated incident.

More like this

A lot of the details here are interesting in that many of them by themselves don't seem necessarily problematic. The kids for example could have done real work (and it seems like the oldest kids are finishing highschool so they are old enough that it isn't intrinsically implausible). What we really seem to see here is a general pattern, where many data points themselves each of which looks a little off but understandable. The general pattern however seems more clear.

Unfortunately, it looks like the blogger doing this digging has their own axe to grind:

Maybe we will discover that Dr. Bishop is just a run of the mill sociopath for whom killing those in her way, whether they be colleagues or family, registers no greater blip on her emotional chart than, say, severing the spines of live animals to determine if she can induce neuron recovery by first subjecting the soon to be paralyzed animals to varying doses of nitric oxide, which, but the way, is fatal when overdosed, and which just so happens to be a fair restatement of Nos. 8 and 9 on Dr. Bishop's essentially static "research plan" since she arrived at UAH.

Put aside my obvious and impossible to disguise disgust with scientific research predicated on torturing animals. What still remains is that Dr. Bishop has been regurgitating the same static research plan for years:

So I don't know how much of this is good analysis but a glance through shows that most of it seems correct. The only part the author seems to get wrong is their emphasis on how Bishop didn't update her research on her webpage for a long time. That seems like perfectly normal behavior and I have to wonder how much familiarity the blogger in question has with academia.

"Unfortunately, it looks like the blogger doing this digging has their own axe to grind"

And also has clearly not ever seen the inside of a neuroscience lab. She shows a picture which, apparently, is Bishop's nerve incubating gadget, and calls it 'jury-rigged'. Looks fine to me, nicely done.

I don't know if it works as advertised, but the fabrication of the widget is perfectly ok.

While it is true that Bishop's academic accomplishments were very deficient for someone of her career stage, there is a lot in the linked blog post that is totally uninformed bullshit.

The information turned up is interesting, but the blogger doesn't seem to know much about academic science. The overall pattern certainly paints a different picture than I'd been reading, and it seems to shed some light on things, but a lot of the specifics (which are painted as scandalous) are perfectly ordinary.

Oh no! She kept her research description of the department web site the same for 5 years! Seriously? In my experience, faculty web pages are often out of date, especially when it comes to the core description of research interests.

It is certainly nice to see that people are starting to clue in on the fact that Amy Bishop certainly padded her academic record.

And the children in question are not "finishing" highschool.

One has finished, but would have been in the 11th grade at the time the vanity press paper was published. The other was 13 at the time and the other was 11. She also claimed that her co-author children (although not identified as such in the paper's credits) were her employees at a non-existent lab.

The sad thing here is that the very people who should be bringing this information out are the very people who are trying to make excuses for Bishop's paltry academic record.

The blogger who uncovered Bishop's seemingly fraudulent behaviors is an attorney. She freely admits that she is not totally familiar with the inner workings of academia.

But hey, you could be as stupid as a box of rocks and know that it isn't kosher to try and pass off a vanity press published paper, supposedly co-written by under age children, as a peer reviewed medical paper.....

All that aside, 6 days after this intrepid attorney uncovered Bishop's faulty academic record, the New York Times is today "uncovering" Bishop's faulty academic record.

The latest Boston Globe title cites two of Bishop's paper or poster titles from 2004, which aren't drily academic and bland, as evidence of her being crazy.

But presentations from 2004 listing her as the senior author bear eccentric names: âHomeland Security Alert: NO is a Free Radical and Weapon of Mass Destruction!ââ and âJust Say NO! The role of NO in differentiation of oligodendrocytes.ââ

"employees at a non-existent lab."

No, that's just an example of the "intrepid attorney's" shoddy analysis. Read the comments. The lab may not have been doing much, but it existed.