The Grain and The Chaff

The Grain

The Grain aims to tell the story behind research that’s made an immense impact on science. Inspired by the former series Citation Classics, The Grain features essays by authors with publications that have one thousand citations or more or a very high Altmetric score (the top 250). Read more

These essays should provide a brief background on the research itself and describe how it was conceived and undertaken. The Winnower wants authors to describe the story behind the research.


Understanding Fukushima through Butterfly Biology: Academic Freedom for Scientists and the Public

  • Joji M. Otaki

The impacts of the Great East Japan Earthquake on people living in the Tohoku and Kanto districts and on Japanese society in general were, in many ways, beyond description. The earthquake and the accompanying tsunami destroyed many cities along the east coast of the Tohoku and Kanto districts...

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A Transgender Brazilian Cave Insect

  • Kazunori Yoshizawa
  • Rodrigo L Ferreira
  • Yoshitaka Kamimura
  • Charles Lienhard

The penis is, by definition, the male copulatory organ (e.g., New Oxford American Dictionary). Sex-specific features are not restricted to copulatory organs, and many examples of sex-specif...

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There's Probably an App For This: How We Identified a Relationship Between Cell Phone Use, Academic Performance, Anxiety and Happiness

  • Andrew Lepp
  • Jacob E. Barkley
  • Aryn C. Karpinski

We like to say that the idea for this research was hatched over the grill at a backyard barbeque. And that's the truth. It was. We were discussing the widespread use of cell phones acros...

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The Chaff

The Chaff aims to tell the story behind research that was retracted. In essays published in The Chaff, authors explain what went wrong with the work. Read more

Was it an innocent mistake or did someone commit fraud? What ultimately lead to the retraction of the paper and how can we learn from these faults?

We want to explicitly state that this series is not a forum for the shaming of authors, or a "shame list." The Chaff provides an opportunity for authors of retracted papers to tell their side of the story and to elaborate on retraction notices that are, by and large, quite uninformative.


A Retrospect on Achievements Following an Onerous Retraction

  • Robert Baker
  • Ronald A. Van Den Bussche
  • Amanda J. Wright
  • Lara E. Wiggins Johnson
  • Meredith J. Hamilton
  • Erin P. Reat
  • Michael H. Smith
  • Michael D. Lomakin
  • Ronald K. Chesser

Scientific progress is accomplished by a process of elucidation through validated methods and repeated verification. Retraction of a scientific paper may, in some instances, be the most app...

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A Common Case of Cell Line Misidentification

  • Rachel M.A. Linger
  • Douglas K. Graham

Everyone agrees that cancer is an ugly beast of a disease, and when a child is diagnosed with cancer it is exceptionally unjust. The ultimate goal of the research described in this paper wa...

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Symmetry and Dance: A Case of Scientific Fraud

  • Brian G. Palestis
  • Robert Trivers
  • Darine Zaatari

Brown and colleagues (2005) appeared to show a strong link between bodily symmetry (small fluctuating asymmetry or FA) and dance ability, with sex differences fitting predictions exactly....

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