Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Weekend reads: Questions about NIH success story; do Nobels need a reset?; coercing PhD graduates

with 12 comments

booksThe week at Retraction Watch featured doubts about the effects of oxytocin, aka the “love hormone,” and a report on how common reference errors are. Here’s what was happening elsewhere, with apologies for the later-than-usual posting:

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Written by Ivan Oransky

October 8th, 2016 at 3:42 pm

Posted in weekend reads

Comments
  • Anonymous October 8, 2016 at 11:01 pm

    In response to Bob Grant’s piece on PubPeer, why was PubPeer collecting IP addresses in the first place?

    • Bort October 9, 2016 at 10:20 am

      It is the default behaviour of web servers.

      • Anonymous October 9, 2016 at 11:20 am

        If it is a default, then please explain the following: “the platform’s administrators have attempted to cease IP address collection.” In other words, why was this effort not made earlier, and can the default be (easily) overridden? Bort, could you explain some technical details of this transition from “default” to overriding the default.

        • Bort October 9, 2016 at 2:51 pm

          I am not a web administrator.

          However, every single web server that you access logs your IP address when you access it. There are only a very small number (e.g., DuckDuckGo) who have gone through the efforts of completely disabling all IP address logging. Even 4chan, which is a major hub of internet anonymity (i.e., where the group Anonymous was born), logs IP addresses.

          This is default web server behaviour, and disabling it requires technical know-how.

  • Bort October 9, 2016 at 9:56 am

    Oh great…

    “These manuscripts will be brought to the attention of the editorial board at [PLOS Genetics]. If the manuscript is deemed of sufficient interest to the readership of PGEN, we will invite the authors to submit after which the article will enter the standard peer review process.”

    What they’re saying is that authors will be offered the opportunity to pay PLOS’s outlandish open-access fees, even though the paper is already an open-access preprint.

    I hope authors don’t fall for this.

    • Nils October 9, 2016 at 1:10 pm

      Indeed. Plus, at least in my field, it is common practice to submit the paper to a journal at the same time the preprint is deposited on the arXiv. So do they really expect I will unsubmit the paper because of the stellar opportunity offer by PLOS?

  • Narad October 9, 2016 at 7:55 pm

    how common reference errors are

    That link points to the oxytocin item again.

    • Ivan Oransky October 9, 2016 at 11:05 pm

      Fixed, thanks.

      • Narad October 10, 2016 at 10:38 am

        For certain values of “fixed.” 😉 This one, I think, was intended.

        • Ivan Oransky October 10, 2016 at 11:04 am

          Correct! Fixed, hopefully properly this time. Thanks again.

  • TL October 10, 2016 at 5:47 am

    The Motherboard article on PubPeer appears to be a classic hit piece. This is evident from the very title, where the author slaps the “vigilante” label on PubPeer to make it sound bad. He then makes immediate comparisons to 4chan (the most reviled Internet forum in existence) in the first line, and proceeds to talk about “forcing journals to issue corrections”, as if PubPeer was some kind of mafia with infinite sway on editors and publishers. The rest is a pretty weak defense of a well-known character from the pages of RW without ever really addressing the flawed and dubious science being criticised.

  • Klaas van Dijk October 11, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    The names of the seven authors of the recent letter in TREE (“Scientific Misconduct: The Elephant in the Lab. A Response to Parker et al.”, DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2016.09.006 ) are similar to the names of the seven persons in a complaint which was filed on 20 June 2016 to Uppsala University. See http://retractionwatch.com/2016/09/20/inquiry-finds-no-evidence-of-misconduct-in-high-profile-science-paper-flagged-by-allegations/

    See http://retractionwatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/UFV-2016-1074_Report-from-preliminary-investigation_ENG-translation.pdf for a direct link to a document with the names of these seven authors.

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