After receiving her PhD at Utrecht University in The Netherlands where she worked on epidemic Vibrio cholerae strains, Elisabeth Bik worked at the Dutch National Institute for Health and the St. Antonius Hospital in Nieuwegein. She worked 15 years in the lab of David Relman in the School of Medicine at Stanford, on the microbiomes of humans and marine mammals. In May 2014, she founded Microbiome Digest, an almost daily compilation of scientific papers in the rapidly growing microbiome field.

From 2016-2018, she worked at uBiome as a Science Editor, and later as the Scientific and Editorial Director. In 2018, she joined Astarte Medical as their Director of Science.

In March 2019, she became a Microbiome and Science Integrity consultant.

She can often be found discussing science papers on Twitter at @MicrobiomDigest, writing for her blog ScienceIntegrityDigest or searching the biomedical literature for inappropriately duplicated or manipulated photographic images and plagiarized text.

Her email address is eliesbik at gmail dot com.

How you can help

Due to the overwhelming amount of requests in the past, I will most likely not be able to respond to request to help. But I have written a couple of How To guides so you can help me by doing the work yourself.

If you suspect plagiarism, here is a guide to some tools to use.

If you see a paper with potentially duplicated images, poorly analyzed data, shoddy methods, conflict of interest, etc., please post it on PubPeer. I have written a page on how to post your concerns there.

I also encourage you to write your concerns to the Editor in Chief of the journal in which the paper was published. I have written a How To page on how to do that.

Thank you for understanding!

Speaking opportunities and consultancy work

Although almost all of the work I tweet and post about is without any compensation, I am also available as a research integrity consultant. I will honor any request for full confidentiality, that is, I will not tweet or write about the cases that I work(ed) on as a consultant.

I’d also be very happy to give a (virtual) seminar on my work as a research integrity volunteer, or on science misconduct in general. I ask for a speaker’s honorarium to cover my time.

Disclosures and conflicts of interest (2021)

I am on the Editorial Board of ISME Journal but do not receive financial compensation for that. Heck, I still have to pay to access their paywalled papers.

I have done paid consultancy work for several publishers of scientific journals.

I also have worked for a fee on a couple of misconduct cases for several universities in Europe and the US, but since these cases are still under investigation and easily traceable to individual scientists, I am currently not disclosing the names of the specific universities.

From 2019 on, I have received speaker fees for giving talks at several universities and institutions, such as Harvard, UC Berkeley, Washington University, Queen’s University, UTH Zurich, and the Crick Institute.

I do not own stocks or stock options from my previous employers uBiome or Astarte Medical. And, since a lot of folks ask me about this, I left uBiome in December 2018, and the company got raided by the FBI in April 2019. I was not involved in the suspected billing fraud, and I was never questioned by the FBI.

I am an author on several uBiome (now Psomagen) patents. Since the uBiome owners are charged for billing fraud, my chance of ever earning even a single penny from these patents has reduced to something very close to 0.

I have no financial or other ties to pharmaceutical companies. No company is paying me to criticize scientific papers.

I do have a Patreon account, and would welcome any contribution. Thank you.

What People Say

Dr. Elisabeth Bik has a remarkable natural ability to identify both image duplication and image manipulation through visual screening.

Prasad Ravindranath

Bik is a unicorn when it comes to her hobby. Few people have the patience to sift through thousands and thousands of articles looking for tiny discrepancies in figures. Fewer still will subject their retinas to such strain for free. 

Adam Marcus, Ivan Oransky, Retraction Watch, for The Scientist

Elisabeth Bik is the champion spotter of duplicated or altered images

Debora Weber-Wulff

Selected press about my work

A full list can be found here.