Friday, July 10, 2015

Clinical Metagenomics Pipelines: Revisiting & Reflecting

When I set out to start this blog nearly over eight years ago, I set myself a number of goals.  One goal was to take some risks -- not crazy risks but to not just play it safe.  But counterbalancing that goal was one to be open, accurate and honest. My piece last week on clinical metagenomics pipelines had a fair amount of attention, and resulted in an ongoing electronic conversation with one of the key parties.  In the course of this, there are now parts of that piece I wish I had handled differently. Some other important topics have been raised, and I would like to cover here.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Leaky clinical metagenomics pipelines are a very serious issue

Update: Some significant issues with the tone of this post are discussed in a follow-up.

I am a firm believer that the practice of science is the result of contingency; we do not necessarily have the best scientific culture possible but rather one which has evolved over time driven by chance, necessity and human nature.  We should never hesitate to re-examine the way science is actually practiced, and that particularly holds true for how we analyze data and publish results.  A re-analysis of a prominent Lancet paper has just come out in F1000, and this work by Steven Salzberg and colleagues illustrates a number of significant issues that slipped past the conventional peer review publishing practice