I recently became aware, by way of the Tweet-o-sphere, that I am regarded by some as "the Dr. Seuss of science policy."

I mentioned this compliment (I think) to the reliably hilarious SciCurious (who also blogs here), and she promptly produced this educational tale, which I post with her kind permission:

The sun did not shine

In the laboratory that day

as we sat with our gels

watching bands slide away

I sat there with Sally

We stared at data, we two

And I said "How I wish

there was something we could do!"

We have tried all our primers

and tweaked all our bands

but this data's not replicable

at least in our hands

So all we could do was to

try, try, try, try

using all our free hours

for our hypothesis run dry

And then something went BUMP!

How that bump made us jump!

We looked,

we saw him dart out from the -80 freezer

and we saw him!

Our old PI, that hairless old geezer!

And he said to us,

"why do you sit there and stare?"

I know the data's bad

Fundings not forthcoming

But there's things we can do

We can do data plumbing!

"I know some good games we could play"

said the guy.

"I know some old tricks"

said that geezer PI.

"A lot of old tricks,

to make your data like new.

Other scientists

will not mind at all if I do"

Then Sally and I

Did not know what to say

For no other PIs were in lab that day.

But our tech said "no no!"

"Make him go away!

Tell that geezer PI

you do NOT want to play!

I've seen this before!

I know what this is about.

He'll help you fake your data

while your new boss is out!"

"Now now! Have no fear.

have no fear" said PI

"My tricks are not bad, they're just how you get by!"

"Why you can have lots of new gels, if you wish"

"and as for the tech, I'll fire that old fish!"

'please no' said the fish.

"not my job at stake!"

"I just don't want to watch

while the data you fake!'

"Have no fear" said the geezer

I won't have you watch

You'll be pipetting all day

as we three data-botch

With our pictures in photoshop

Our SEM's made all small

And that's not all I can do,

no, not all!

Look at the data!

Just look at it NOW!

I got it to support our ideas


I can match RNA

and DNA too

I can even make

data from proteins come through!

We'll publish and publish

we'll write a grant, maybe three!

That's just how easy faking data can be!

And all these things were happening

To Sally and Me.

All the papers and grants

And traveling for free

But still we were worried

Something was askew

And our worries got worse

With Reviewer 1 and Reviewer 2.

They ran over us fast

They said "what did you do?"

"Would you like to explain

to Reviewer 1 and Reviewer 2?"

And Sally and I

did not know what to do

We had to tell something

to Reviewer 1 and Reviewer 2.

We were racking our brains

and the tech cried "o ho!"

"Now it will all come out,

everyone will know!"

"You should not have let in

that old geezer PI

he's taught you how to fake,

taught you how to lie

Science is about truth!

Not about how to get by!"

"Have no fear, my young grads

said the asshole PI.

"These Reviewers are good reviewers

to have by and by.

They are tame. Oh so tame!

They are old friends of mine

Just let me do explaining

and all will be fine."

But it turns out his Reviewer friends

were not so tame

And they were not pleased

With what he tried to explain.

It turns out old PI

Had done this before

An investigation ensued

He was shoved out the door.

We were left all alone

In the cold, dark, dank lab

No old geezer advisor

To be glib and blab

And now we had no thesis

And no stipend as well

All our data faking

threw us down the well

And the moral of this tale?

Don't let pressure make you lie

Science is about TRUTH

and not just "getting by"