Paramecium whining

I just got an announcement from Linda Sperling, announcing the publication of a paper on the Paramecium genome

Dear ciliate researcher,

We are pleased to announce that the Paramecium genome article is now available as an advanced online publication at the following address:

We thank all of you for your interest and support.

Jean Cohen and Linda Sperling

Linda Sperling
Centre de Génétique Moléculaire
Avenue de la Terrasse
91198 Gif-sur-Yvette CEDEX
+33 (0)1 69 82 32 09 (telephone)
+33 (0)1 69 82 31 50 (fax)

She sent this to an email list for ciliate researchers. I am writing about this in my blog because a blog is where you are supposed to write things these days when you are pissed off. Why am I pissed off about this? Well, the Paramecium paper makes no mention whatsoever of our paper on the genome of a close relative of Paramecium (Tetrahymena thermohila for those interested) which was published in August. And they do not even explicitly mention the Tetrahymena genome project (even though they say they took our data and used it). I guess I am not too surprised since their paper is published in Nature, which recently seems to be taking many liberties with referencing things in Open Access journals (ours was in PLoS Biology).

What is most annoying about this whole thing is that Linda Sperling is on the Scientific Advisory Board of our project, and has been privy to all of our work from the inside and was I am sure fully aware of our paper being accepted long before theirs was. Common courtesy in science would have been for them to have made a reference to our paper in press or at least our project. But for whatever reason, they carefulyl crafter their words to make no mention of our work. Interestingly, here is the email I sent to the same ciliate list on August 29, 2006

For those interested, our paper on the Tetrahymena MAC genome has been published online at PLoS Biology

Jonathan Eisen

Strikingly, their paper was then accepted August 31, 2006. I hate to believe in conspiracies, but it seems just a little too coincidental that their was accepted just after ours was published. And yet still no mention of our work in their paper. Hmmm …

Fortunately, since our paper was in PLoS Biology, they cannot say “sorry – we did not have access to it.” Whatever they say, I can say clearly that Linda Sperling will not be invited to our next SAB meeting.