Some stripy nanoparticle raw data released today

Update (11/06/2013): the link to the raw data on Francesco Stellacci does not work anymore; here is a mirror of the files that were released last month.

Following this, this and that, some data have been released today: this is a welcome development. Francesco Stellacci writes:

STM Image Analysis

In recent months there has been a controversy on the interpretation of some of the STM work done in our group on gold nanoparticles coated with organic molecules. To tackle this issue, we have released a large subset of this work to outside experts for independent analysis. This process having now come to an end, we are releasing to the public domain our raw data, together with tiff files of the images illustrating what is present in the raw data, as well as some representative line scans. The material is available for download at: 

(for old browsers: )

 Please note that the tiff files were produced solely for the purpose of making possible the visualization of the data to people who do not have access to scanning probe software.

 As stated previously, science is a process where knowledge is built with time and often learning comes from error. By no means do we claim that the data put online are perfect or flawless. We do stand by the conclusions of our papers.

 Hopefully soon, there will be more data about STM of mixed ligand nanoparticles on the scientific literature. This we believe is the place where scientific debates should take place.

On the last point, I respectfully disagree: the places where scientific debates should take place include the coffee areas of any good scientific institutions, conferences, journals, and certainly, blogs. You can expect comments on the data released today on this blog in the next few days.



    1. Well, this I have no idea. I don’t know who are those selected “outside experts” (they clearly do not include Prof Moriarty nor myself), what subset has been given to them, nor when will they report and to whom… We’ll have to wait and see… I suspect we may have to wait long.

      As for what has been released yesterday, there is a significant number of images, in raw data, i.e. including experimental parameters (metadata). This is a great step in terms of transparency. Discussions on what can be concluded from these images will follow. There are also images which are missing, i.e. not everything which had been requested has been released (more on this soon).


  1. I took a quick look at the original data for Fig 1 of the 2004 Nature Mater paper. The image quality was terrible. I’m now totally convinced that the ripples FS reported, at least back to 2004, were artifacts.


  2. “the scientific literature. This we believe is the place where scientific debates should take place”
    Sounds like an attempt to convince that authority should be bowed to. If science followed this model, you would remove most Nobel prizes and many of the key technology advances of the past century.

    One example: the legendary tea room at the LMB in Cambridge was the engine room for many of their Nobel prizes.

    New science institutions (private and public sector) spend considerable sums on stimulating interactions in communal areas, precisely because authority and formal means of communication are pretty sterile and one way streets. Such a profound ignorance of the history of science does not bode well with respect to adherence to the conventions of science regarding rigor.


    1. As made clear in my post, I certainly disagree, like you, with FS assertion that the ‘right place’ for scientific debates is limited to the peer reviewed literature. I can’t see though why there would be any straightforward link between this belief in the role of journals as the only proper vehicle for debate and concerns regarding rigor and other conventions of science.
      (There is of course a lot of other reasons to be concerned about rigor as documented in many posts on this blog, data re-use, lack of evidence for key claims, artefacts, etc).


  3. I wonder what was missing (is there still an effort to get full data)? For instance, many claims were made about varying scan rates, rotations, etc. in the figure caption for 2004. was the data to support these claims shared?


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