Translation to plain English of the editor's note on Nature's editorial on statues

Following a public outcry on 6-7 September 2017 Nature lightly edited their anonymous editorial from 4 September without preserving the original.

Anonymous (2017). Science must acknowledge its past mistakes and crimes. Nature 549, 5–6 (07 September 2017)

Editor's note: The original version of this article was offensive and poorly worded.

This op-ed sucks.

It did not accurately convey our intended message and it suggested that Nature is defending statues of scientists who have done grave injustice to minorities and other people.

Look, just because everyone who saw the article read it as defending statues of scientists who have done grave injustices to minorities and other people doesn't mean you can prove our intent in a court of law.

We have corrected the headline, standfirst and a line in the text to make clear we do not support keeping those memorials;

A few words here, a little tweak there, and Alakazam! A pile of dogshit becomes a diamond.

our position is that any such memorials that are allowed to stand should be accompanied by context that makes the injustice clear and acknowledges the victims.

A little plaque next to a huge statue makes up for everything, including slaves operated on without their permission and with no anesthetic.

We apologise for the original article

We are sorry if our original article offended you.

and are taking steps to ensure that we do not make similar mistakes in the future.

But, we are not changing anything. We are definitely not going to include one or more equally-sized op-eds in our next issue from non-white scientists who may have a different opinion.

We realise that many people disagree with the article more fundamentally;

Damn y'all on Twitter!

we will be publishing some of the strong criticisms that we have received and welcome further responses.

Please can we just whitewash this whole episode? Also can everyone just keep reviewing for us without mentioning this episode when we ask you please? (This includes Frontiers which we own!!!)


(Hat tip to Daring Fireball for inspiration)

Things I swore I would never do when I had my own lab but am now doing

  1. Have a picture on my professional website that is more than 4 years old.

  2. Drift in and out of email checking while I get real work done.

  3. Be late to almost every meeting because I schedule back-to-back meetings and can never end them early.

  4. Forget details about experiments we are running in my lab.

  5. Tell that same story yet again because I have no idea if I told it before, or if so, to whom.