Weekend reads: Pseudoscience in the literature; a world without journals; “invisible and abandoned” trials
The week at Retraction Watch featured the heartfelt response of a researcher when she found out a paper she’d reviewed had been retracted, and a new member of our leaderboard. Here’s what was happening elsewhere:
- “Recent years have seen the appearance of journals from mainstream publishers that are based entirely on pseudoscience.” Steven Salzberg, Forbes)
- Romain Brette has “a vision of the post-journal world.”
- A new study in PLOS ONE raises questions about a widely prescribed treatment for morning sickness — and also reminds us to pay more attention to “invisible and abandoned” trials, our co-founders write in STAT.
- A prominent geneticist in the UK is facing a reopened inquiry into whether he committed misconduct, Ian Sample of the Guardian reports. David Latchman has had two papers retracted.
- “While I don’t care for journal rankings, I do care about rank journals.” Michael J. I. Brown on spotting dodgy science. (The Conversation)
- “There are now over one thousand predatory open-access publishers,” an increase of 232 over 2016, says Jeffrey Beall.
- “But 2016 is not the time for one of the prestigious medical journals to produce a joke issue.” With the recent attention on fake news, it’s time to take joke papers seriously, says Ryan F. Mandelbaum in Gizmodo.
- What happens to rejected papers? Neuroskeptic takes a look.
- “Does peer review help weed out bad science?” It may be little more than a vestige of the print era, argues Aswin Sai Narain Seshasayee. (The Wire)
- It’s not just politics: 2016 was an epidemic year for fake news in science, too, says Michael Hiltzik. (Los Angeles Times)
- PLOS ONE output continued to drop in 2016, because fewer authors are submitting manuscripts to the journal. (Phil Davis, The Scholarly Kitchen)
- The U.K.’s Medical Research Council’s announcement that it will accept preprints as part of grant proposals prompts debate. (Joshua A. Krisch, The Scientist)
- Three senior doctors at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in India have been charged with plagiarism, in a first for the institution. (Shimona Kanwar, The Economic Times)
- A new study finds that “academics may risk sacrificing longer-term career prospects for short-term survival as increased emphasis of performance metrics becomes more common.” (Tourism Management, sub req’d)
- Peer review in mathematics usually involves just one referee, but Line Edslev Andersen argues that this approach is justified in a new paper. (Accountability in Research, sub req’d)
- “I pretend to be a big-time Hollywood producer and ask the Ph.D. student or postdoc to play the role of would-be movie director pitching a new movie to me.” Jeffrey McDonnell describes how his lab writes papers. (Science)
- “President-Elect Mr. Donald Trump has tweeted that he will require all reviewers for all journals and grant agencies to end all reviews with the word ‘Sad!’” (satirical site The Allium)
- “A large number of scholars are incompetent. The system over the years was kept lax for such people to pass through the loopholes.” A university in India is developing plagiarism detection software for theses. (Times of India)
- “Problems such as low statistical power, flexibility in data analysis, software errors and a lack of direct replication apply to many fields, but perhaps particularly to functional MRI.” A group of researchers “describe how we think the field should evolve to produce the most meaningful and reliable answers to neuroscientific questions.” (Nature Reviews Neuroscience, sub req’d)
- In economics, “articles with a short title that also contains a non-alphanumeric character achieve a higher citation count,” according to a new study. (Scientometrics, sub req’d)
- “What Do We Want Our Scientific Discourse to Look Like?” asks Alison Ledgerwood. (Association for Psychological Science Observer)
- Why do researchers publish in “non-traditional” journals? A new preprint at SSRN tries to answer.
- “[T]he ethics of reviewing scientific publications is needed now more than ever, in particular with regard to competence, conflict of interest, willingness to discuss decisions, complete transparency and integrity,” say the authors of a new article in the European Journal of Internal Medicine.
- The adoption of digital object identifiers (DOIs) varies greatly by country and publisher, according to a new study. (Scientometrics, sub req’d)
- “Do you speak open science?” A field guide. (PeerJ)
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