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 Science Integrity consultant.

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

Her work has resulted in 938 Retractions, 121 Expressions of Concern, and 957 Corrections (as of November 2022).

Elisabeth Bik.
Photo: Michel N Co, San Jose, CA

How you can help

Due to the overwhelming amount of requests in the past, I will most likely not be able to respond to requests 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., do not send it to me, but 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 compensation, I am also available as a research integrity consultant to investigate specific allegations of misconduct for research institutions and scientific publishers or to give a second opinion. I will honor any request for confidentiality.

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.

My email address is eliesbik@gmail.com

Disclosures and conflicts of interest (2023)

As a science integrity consultant, I regularly do paid consultancy work – since 2019 – for several scientific publishers and research institutions around the world. Almost all these consulting cases are done under confidentiality agreements, so I cannot disclose the details about my clients or the cases I have investigated.

Since 2021, I am a member of the eLife Ethics Committee, for which I receive an annual stipend.

From 2019 on, I received speaker fees for giving talks at several universities and institutions.

I do not own stocks or stock options from my previous employers uBiome or Astarte Medical. I am an author on several uBiome (now Psomagen) patents. 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. While two uBiome founders have been charged with defrauding health insurance providers and investors, none of the uBiome employees have been indicted.

I have no financial or other ties (no stock options, no longs/short positions) to pharmaceutical or biotech companies. No company, hedge fund, institution, or individual is paying me to criticize specific scientific papers in public.

I do have a Patreon account, and that does generate income for me. It is not tied to specific requests to investigate particular papers. Any contribution is welcome. Thank you.

Selected press about my work

Sorted in chronological order, the most recent on top.

Selected podcasts about my work:

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

Elisabeth Bik at her home in California, on Nov 4 2021.
CREDIT: Clara Mokri for the Wall Street Journal

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