New study: Misconduct accounts for the majority of retracted scientific publications

A study released earlier this month reveals that articles retracted due to scientific misconduct has increased. It’s claimed that because some retraction announcements published by journals etc. are: “Incomplete, uninformative or misleading”, earlier estimates of retractions due to misconduct have been too low.

The authors examined 2.047 retracted articles within the field of biomedical and life-science research. They found that 21.3% of the retracted articles were attribuable to error. A whole 67.4% were attributable to some form of misconduct. Of the articles retracted due to misconduct it was found that 43.4% was fraud or expected fraud, 14.2% were attribuable to duplicate publication, and plagiarism accounted for 9.8%.

Ferric C. Fang, R. Grant Steen, and Arturo Casadevall. Misconduct accounts for the majority of retracted scientific publications. PNAS 2012 109 (42). 17028-17033; published ahead of print October 1, 2012, doi:10.1073/pnas.1212247109

More info about the paper and a PDF version can be found through a Google Scholar search.

Internet of Things Comic Book

Inspiring the Internet of Things

Internet of Things, a term coined back in 1999, has no firm definition but deals with uniquely identifiable things or objects with virtual representations. Objects can be connected to the Internet or a local network and these objects will often have the option to interact and communicate with other nodes in the network. For example, a sensor can be used to collect some kind of analog data, digitalize it and make it available on the network.

The Alexandra Institute, a Danish research company, released a cool comic book a year ago called “Inspiring the Internet of Things”. A new special edition has been released containing 20 one-page stories describing different scenarios about the possibilities of the Internet of Things along with comments from researchers in the field.

The comic book is a good soft and fun introduction to this somewhat abstract idea of the “Internet of Things”. This book is aimed for everyone interested in new technology. Especially prospective students and students new in the field of information technology and interaction design will most likely find it not just interesting but also inspiring. It’s an interesting method to make science accommodating and to present complex ideas and abstract concepts in an easy and understandable manner.

The comic book, released October last year, is freely available in different editions including an English, Danish, German, and Brazilian edition.

The comic book can be downloaded at

Night of the Living Dead

With Halloween coming up I thought it was a good occasion to remind everyone about the 1968 horror classic “Night of the Living Dead” directed by George A. Romero. It’s the first movie in a series that so far counts six zombie movies. The movie was controversial when first released and continues to be a classic and icon in the zombie genre.

Summarized plot: During a visit to a cemetery the two siblings, Barbra and Johnny, are suddenly attacked by a man. Johnny is killed and Barbra manages to escape. She finds shelter in a nearby farmhouse and soon after a man, Ben, also looking for shelter joins her. It turns out five other persons are hiding in the cellar of the house. Together, despite several differences and opinions, they try working together to survive an ongoing attack from what turns out to be flesh hungering zombies.

More info about the movie can be found in the IMDb listing and Wikipedia entry.

Because the movie was released without a proper copyright notice it has entered the public domain and can freely be distributed by anyone so downloading or streaming this movie from any source is completely legal.

“Night of the Living Dead” can be streamed from YouTube in a decent quality or it can be downloaded from, that offers downloads in different formats, including, HD and DVD quality as well as versions ready for PS3, PSP, iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.

Free Keynote Mockup Templates from Keynotopia

Keynotopia is currently offering free Keynote mockup templates for mobile, web and desktop apps. In return a predefined Twitter message (called “free with a tweet”) must be posted so for those that have yet to join in on the Twitter vibe it might be possible to alley with a friend or colleague having one of those Twitter accounts.

The templates can be downloaded here.

This quick guide provides some startup advice when first playing with the Keynotopia templates and Keynote.

I recently attended the conference MobileHCI 2012 in San Francisco and was made aware of this offer during the tutorial “Designing and deploying mobile user studies in the wild: a practical guide” organized by Karen Church.

Aegean Airlines offering 2000 miles for joining Miles&Bonus

UPDATE: Beginning 1/1/2013 the offer is now back at a 1000 bonus miles, but the miles still count towards status.

The Greek airline Aegean is currently offering 2000 miles just for joining their frequent flyer program Miles&Bonus (click this link to sign up). The offer has been improved from originally a 1000 bonus miles and it looks like this offer is going to be valid for the rest of 2012. Aegean has received much attention among frequent fliers because of their relative low requirements for reaching Star Alliance elite benefits and the fact that the status is good as long as the card holder flies at least one Star Alliance flight every three years.

Getting “easy” gold status with Aegean has been widely discussed at different blogs and forums, especially on the FlyerTalk Aegean Airlines Miles&Bonus forum. Here I am mainly writing up a short summery and review of the recent discussions.

The 2000 bonus miles does count as status miles(!) Within a 12 months period only an additional 2000 miles are needed to reach Blue status which includes Star Alliance Silver status and during a 12 months period from reaching Blue status only an additional 16.000 miles are needed to reach Gold level which includes Star Alliance Gold status. Issued cards will have an expiration date dated three years after the required amount of miles are reached. Overall only 18.000 miles plus the 2000 sign up bonus miles are need when starting from scratch to reach the Gold level. The bonus miles will expire after 12 months, but if you reach elite level the expiration will be extended.

You can read more about the Star Alliance benefits provided to elite members at their benefits page and more about the benefits with Aegean at their benefits page. According to recent reports the welcome package with card and bag tags will normally arrive within 30 – 90 days after getting the required miles.

The major downside is that low fare classes often only will be credited at a low rate if any miles at all. Therefor this is not the program for the average traveller and travellers mainly flying discounted economy. Figuring out a fare class can be somewhat tricky, especially if booking through a partner or travel agency or any routing that includes codeshares. As it’s always the fare class assigned by the operating carrier (i.e. the airline actually flying the plane) that is used to determine how many files are credited they will be the best ones to ask. If it’s not clear in which fare class a booking is ticketed the easiest approach is to get the information from the boarding card or by asking in the airport when checking-in/dropping of baggage and then change to the frequent flyer program that gives the most miles. Make sure to check if your booked fare class is eligible for miles. More info is available at Aegean’s mileage accrual chart. Often it will be better to credit low fare classes to other frequent flyer programs.

I only recently joined Miles&Bonus so my experiences are very limited. I did a retro claim for a SAS (SK) flight that originally was credited to United but for some reason never made it there. According to Aegean retro claims will take a couple of weeks to process but this retro claim was processed and added to my account after only two days so a good first impression.

Aegean recently improved the award travelling policy. This blog post gets more into detail about the cons and pros about getting status with Aegean.

Post comments and experiences with this offer as well as your overall experiences with the Miles&Bonus program.

Status match with Turkish Airlines

Miles&Smiles member cardsUPDATE II: According to very recent reports Turkish Airlines has accepted status match request made during January 2013. Response time has been weeks to months and several people have not received any response at all to status match request made during late 2012 and 2013.

UPDATE: It looks like Turkish Airlines has stopped status matching as of January 2013. There has been no official announcements but also no reports of successful status match requests in 2013.

During the spring Turkish Airlines (TK), a Star Alliance member, started offering status matching to not only frequent fliers from competing alliances but also to frequent fliers from Star Alliance partners. When Turkish Airlines first started offering this status match several blog and forum posts were published. Now that this offer has been going on for about six months I want to provide some information about the experiences with this offer. I will here sum up my own experiences and those I have come across mainly at the FlyerTalk Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles forum, especially in this thread. UPDATE: A new 2013 FlyerTalk thread has been started.

Status matched members will be upgraded to “Elite” level which is a mid tier level. The status is good for a whole two years, no questions asked. Status matched members have no restrictions at all as known from status challenges which often exclude benefits such as lounge access during the trial period. Probably the best feature about this status match is that it includes Star Alliance Gold status.

Star Alliance Gold card holders receive several benefits when flying any alliance member with the main benefits being worldwide lounge access and extra baggage allowance. You can get more information about the benefits provided to elite members at the Star Alliance benefits page.

For US Airways and United Airlines Star Alliance Gold holders, having a gold card from another airline is very handy as a non-US carrier gold card allows lounge access on any Star Alliance booking including US domestic trips in coach.

Overall this is an incredible offer for frequent fliers. Surprisingly there are no restrictions or requirements when you are first accepted. Not a single flight has to be posted to your account before the benefits kick in. One would think that this offer could easily be abused but it has now been going on for more than six months so seems like Turkish Airlines is benefiting.

The exact criteria for status matching are not completely clear but according to recent reports the minimum requirement is that you must hold one of the following alliance elite levels:

  • Star Alliance Gold
  • SkyTeam Elite Plus
  • oneworld Emerald

Still it looks like that some sort of reviewing is done so holding one of the mentioned levels is not a guarantee for a status match. Getting accepted seems to be a somewhat hit or miss.

Requesting a status match is easy and straightforward:

  • Sign up for the Miles&Smiles program at (only sign up if you do not already have an account.)
  • Send a message through this web form. Include: a copy of your membership card (in PDF or common image format such as JPG etc.) from your current frequent flyer program, a statement of your flight activity (can often be downloaded in PDF), and your Miles&Smiles account number.

Be aware that signing up can be a hassle and you might get cryptic error messages during the process, so set a side some extra time and patience. If you get accepted for a status match it’s definitely worth it!

Responding time to a status match request has been reported as anything from a few hours (myself included) to several weeks or even no reply at all. Calling TK will not help, so looks like this e-mail address is the only option to get in contact with the staff involved with status matches. Several people have also reported that they never received a reply but that their account still got upgraded to Elite.

I hold Premier Gold status with United Airlines and after reading about the status match I decided to go for the it. After signing up for the Miles&Smiles program I e-mailed a copy of my United Premier Gold card and a PDF of my 2011 flight activity from United’s website. Only five hours after requesting a status match a welcome e-mail arrived in my inbox and I had been upgraded to the “Elite” status level which include Star Alliance Gold status. A welcome package with member card and bag tags arrived roughly four weeks later. I have credited a few flights to TK, but this is not a requirement to receive the welcome package including the physical member card.

Personally I have been quite satisfied with United’s MileagePlus program. The Miles&Smiles program is decent but definitely not the best out there. Miles will expire after three years, which for some will be a big disadvantage. So far I do not have any personal experience with Miles&Smiles but this blog post discuss the program and award travelling with Turkish in more detail.

Requalification requirements are: 25.000 miles during the first year (12 months from the time you received elite status) or 37.500 miles during two years (24 months from the time you received elite status). During (and only during) the second year it’s possible to buy up to 10.000 status miles making it relative easy to qualify. No matter in which of the two years you renew, your membership will be extended with two years from your current expiration date.

If you do not qualify after two years you are only downgraded to the “Classic Plus” level that still includes Star Alliance Silver status. In general silver benefits are not worth much with the exception that you will be allowed one free checked bag with US Airways and United Airlines.

Feel free to post your comments and experiences with the Miles&Smiles program and getting a status match!

Parallels educational license

Recently I decided to get a new MacBook Air. This was a good decision! As I wanted to be able to run several operating systems on my new MBA, in particular Windows and the Linux distribution Ubuntu, I looked into different possibilities and luckily there are several good options out there. I decided to go for Parallels Desktop 8 and after playing around with the software during the 14 days free trial I needed a license! The retail price is $79.99 but luckily for us academics it’s possible to get a 50% academic discount from Creation Engine, bringing the price down to $39.99. More info is available at

You need to prove that you really are entitled to receive the academic discount. After placing my order and sending in the required academic prove it only took a few hours before a shiny new activation key arrived in my inbox.

Hello world! The blog is now alive…

Welcome to the new blog… After several years with considerations about giving life to a blog it is finally here. For years I have wanted to share a wide range of information and opinions which resulted in However, has turned into a more formal “about me and my research” website so this blog should open up for the ability to write quick posts about everything and nothing, basically anything under the sun. Topics will vary a bit but overall cover different things going on in my life as a PhD Fellow and links and information others out there on the great interwebs might find useful and interesting.