Dr. Elizabeth Bik is a renowned science consultant who runs a blog and a twitter account where she discusses manipulated images in scientific publications. Her work is widely respected in the scientific community. Her twitter bio reads
Scientific discussions should not be held in the courtroom
In this post we will examine her recent actions with respect to Cassava Sciences. Below are some of her first posts on the subject;
Dr. Bik was quick to validate the petition, in particular the fraud claims pertaining to inconsistent western blots. She later posted her comments on pubpeer while giving the authors a chance to make any corrections. The contributors of this blog article agree with her concerns on these topics.
Next she followed it up with a blog post.
The papers in question are at least a decade old and within 2 business days of posting the initial tweet, she was already talking dollars involved and tagging cassava investors with her unproven allegations. To be fair, her tweet above was in response to Cassavas initial fact/fiction response which was dismissive of the petition. Even so, one would expect Dr. Bik to hear back from the scientist(s) in question instead of using company PR as a reason to insinuate fraud against scientists and scare investors. Note that Dr. Bik has this disclosure on her blog page.
Question to Dr. Bik: What was the motive behind that tweet?
Later we were dismayed by Dr. Bik not following up on many requests to examine the high resolution western blots on the patent by Dr. Wang. She also chose not to engage or update her blog when she received responses like the ones below – instead choosing to highlight the threats from abusive trolls on twitter.
Her next twitter post was a new blog post that highlighted another of the original petition’s charges on Cassava Sciences which was the poster presentation at AAIC. Meanwhile, that ticker symbol she is highlighting everyday in her tweets, is taking a hit causing shorts to pile on and heavy losses for knowledgeable investors. Note that we think her work on the blog article about the poster was unprofessional and didn’t meet the high standards she is renown for. We will be commenting on her work on the poster and plasma ptau in upcoming posts.
Overall it was obvious that a scientific discussion was being held in Dr. Bik’s courtroom where she seemed to be judge, jury and executioner. First she piled on with short interests questioning a company she barely knew much about. Next she had no problem with her work being used to supplement the petition that questioned the integrity of the Cassava team and Dr. Wang. And finally while ignoring Dr. Burns, she also complained about how women of science like her were being downplayed by techbros.
We have more questions for Dr. Bik.
- Can Dr. Bik say with conviction that she is a neutral arbiter and not an interventionist supporting the fraud claims?
- Can she declare that her associations with Adam Feurestein, Prof. Rob Howard Prof. Lon Schneider and other critics did not cloud her view of Cassava Sciences?
- Does she support the intent of the petition asking for halting of drug trials based on unproven allegations from some of her work?
- Can she call out Adam Feurestein for his stat news article which engaged in veiled sexism and questioned the credentials of an accomplished woman scientist?
The authors of this blog acknowledge Dr. Bik’s renowned expertise in spotting errors/issues and falsifications in academic journal publications. However with her actions surrounding the allegations on Cassava Sciences, we question her motives and invite her to engage in a balanced scientific discussion with us the authors of this blog on any concerns regarding the company. We also challenge her to hold herself to the high standards she has set.