No, we are not having trouble in the lab with data gone missing. What we are having issues with are data reported in glamour pubs that none of a gazillion authors on said paper can seem to locate. If you spent an entire section in your paper (where real estate is expensive) to talk about how you found a whole bunch of data points that you did not expect to find, isn't it a bit fishy that when someone writes you for those data that all of a sudden a game of email hot potato beaks out and the list of cc'd "people who probably have those data" starts to stretch longer and longer? This is not a paper from the last year and if the authors were following up on the outliers, they would have done so already. No, this just seems to be a case of vanishing data.
Damn Good Technician has previously discussed the lack of detail in methods section of glamour pubs and whether or not the caginess around some critical steps is a way to publish the bare minimum while maintaining a competitive advantage over anyone interested in the work, but this is different. In the paper, a big deal is made of the outliers, but less than 5% of those data are discussed specifically. That means that 95% of these interesting data points are never mentioned specifically, only alluded to as a group. Even in the supplementary data. How are people supposed to verify the interesting outliers if they are completely obscured? If it turns out that none of the authors can even produce the data in question, then what does that mean about the results? These data are critical and heavily-cited evidence for several theories. Shouldn't they be easily located? Surely we are not the first lab to inquire about them.
I am hoping that we see some resolution shortly, because if the authors can't provide the data in question I don't know what to do about it, only that it would be a major problem.
12 hours ago