Meeting in Le Mée: a week of NanoBubbles

Between 22-26 January, the NanoBubbles team was brought together in Le Mée-sur-Seine, a commune near Paris, for our 5th in person meeting. This meeting was organised thanks to our project members based in Paris; Raphaël Lévy, Zoé Toure (Université Sorbonne Paris Nord), Frédérique Bordignon (Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées) and Marianne Noël (CNRS). This workshop that marked the halfway point of the project aimed at gathering all the members to discuss in an open, interdisciplinary environment, exchange ideas and share updates on their individual progress. We were also happy to welcome our newest PhD candidates to the project, Alexandre Clausse (Université Toulouse III) and Qinyue Liu (Université Grenoble Alpes). Most of the attendees arrived in Le Mée on the 22nd where we enjoyed a delightful dinner together.

This report was kindly written by NanoBubbles project member Yağmur Öztürk.

The first presentation on the 23rd combined all the members’ answers to the questions on the meaning of “correction of science” and how do we individually contribute to answering the question “how, when and why science fails to correct itself?”. The questionnaire was prepared and the answers were presented by Frédérique Bordignon, where she gathered the common points and differences in our answers. After a brief break, we continued with co-PI Cyrus Mody’s presentation titled “A General Theory of Scientific Bubbles” where he elaborated on the origins, evolution and bursting of scientific bubbles. The last presentation of the day was from Marianne Noël where she presented her recently defended second PhD thesis on “Markets in the making: The case of chemistry”. The presentations were followed by a discussion session that revolved around the connections between market and bubbles. After lunch, we had a group work session where we divided into focus groups. Three groups were created where we respectively discussed; risk-based correction practices, writing software ethics and ethical challenges in studying activists.  In the last session of the day, we discussed some ethics problems encountered by some project members in accessing various fields, managing anonymity/confidentiality, and giving feedback to authors. In the evening, we were joined online by our first guest of the week, Ted Rogers, who is an associate professor of physics in Old Dominion University and Jefferson’s Laboratory based in the US. His focus was on the metascience of nuclear and particle physics, the problems he is facing in the subject of field predictions, replication studies and lack of transparency in the field. He elaborated on the need to improve reproducibility, replicability, predictivity and highlighted that the field of physics needs help from organised metascientific work.

On the third day of our workshop, we were joined in-person by our second guest Michel Dubois, who is a Senior Research Fellow in the CNRS. We started with the presentation of Mustafa El Gharib titled “First replication initiative in Nanobiotechnology: Endosomal escape of nanoparticles revisited”. He provided updates on the replication project and explained each step of his team’s initiatives. We continued with the presentation of Mady Malheiros Barbeitas on anthropological approach to epistemic activists, where she presented the results of a number of interviews made with epistemic activists, with a focus on the shared features of the interviewees. After the shared discussion of the first two presentations, Auste Valinciute presented her work titled ‘Portrayal of retractions’, which consisted of a thorough analysis of how retractions are portrayed in news outlets. We continued this session with Maud Bernisson’s presentation on her case study of ghost management in pharmaceutical companies. After our lunch break, our co-PI Cyril Labbé presented his work on mining MDPI reviews where unusual levels of similarities among some reviews were discovered. The last presenter of the day, Stefan Gaillard followed with his work titled ‘The History of a Promise’, examining how (over)promises propagated in the history of nanotechnology. 

On the 25th, our guests from the project ‘Summa cum fraude – Scientific Misconduct and the Attempt of a Counterattack’, Ulrich Herb, Karin Jacobs and Frank Müller joined us online. Frank Müller enlightened us about this project through his presentation on how journals fail to respond to scientific misconduct. This thorough study examined 207 cases where misconduct was reported to journals. Müller showed how journals stay inactive in case of reported misconduct, and how it is dependent on the integrity of the editors. Following the problems with publications, Guillaume Cabanac updated everyone about his work on the Feet of Clay Detector of the Problematic Paper Screener. This detector flags papers that cite retracted/problematic papers. Cabanac started posting the results of this detector on PubPeer, as an initiative to stop unreliable results from being propagated. 

After the break, Yağmur Öztürk presented her complementary work on Cabanac’s Feet of Clay Detector. She focused on some case studies to understand if the argumentation in the papers flagged in Feet of Clay are impacted by the cited problematic papers. This presentation was followed by Amira Barhoumi and Qinyue Liu’s collaborative work on detecting the impact of varying citation context window size on citation classification tasks where they focused on detecting miscitations. 

This session was followed by feedback and group discussion with the Ethics Advisory Board with the online attendance of Kathleen Gabriels, Alfred Nordmann and Ruth Chadwick. We discussed ethical questions related to specific scientific work of the members.

Last day of our meeting was dedicated to spherical nucleic acids (SNA) and started with the presentation of Wytske Hepkema. She focused on the argumentative alignment that takes place around SNAs and how the term SNA was picked up by the scientific community. Her presentation was followed by Candida Sanchez Burmester where she presented a thorough analysis titled ‘Career of a controversial nanoparticle: the many lives of spherical nucleic acids, biographical approach to compounds’. The last presentation of our meeting was a collaborative work by Federico Boem and Guillaume Levrier where they revisited our bubbles discussion of the first day with their presentation titled ‘Protein corona: a different bubble?’.

After the presentations, members slowly started leaving to catch their trains, which marked the end of a week full of open, interdisciplinary discussions on various subjects, and of course lots of group bonding and increasing our general knowledge on music history playing Hitster!


Cite this blog post
ztoure (2024, January 29). Meeting in Le Mée: a week of NanoBubbles. NanoBubbles . Retrieved June 15, 2024, from

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