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.


Establishing the Next Generation of the Protein Data Bank

  • Helen M. Berman

The Protein Data Bank (PDB) archive was officially launched at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) in 1971 (Protein Data Bank 1971), thirteen years after the first crystal structure of the...

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Proof of Extensive Copy Number Variation in The Human Genome

  • Stephen W. Scherer

A primary message from the Human Genome Project, as well as from earlier studies, was that DNA in the genomes of any two individuals is 99.9 per cent identical. The 0.1 per cent variation w...

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Magnetosensitive Dogs

  • Hynek Burda
  • Sabine Begall
  • Vlastimil Hart
  • Erich Pascal Malkemper
  • Petra Novakova

Almost half a century ago, the first firm evidence for magnetoreception (i.e. the ability to sense the geomagnetic field) in the robin was provided, representing the first evidence for mag...

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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The Chaff aims to tell the story behind research that was retracted.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.