Weekend reads: A course on calling bullshit?; What closure of Beall’s list means; More preprint debate
The week at Retraction Watch featured the harrowing story of a would-be whistleblower subjected to a forced mental exam (part of our partnership with the news team at Science), and Jeffrey Beall’s site about predatory publishers going dark. Here’s what was happening elsewhere:
- “Calling Bullshit:” Two professors at the University of Washington propose a course to give students the ability to sniff out crappy science. (Steve Kolowich, The Chronicle of Higher Education)
- The closure of Jeffrey Beall’s list of possibly predatory publishers is a boon for such publishers, sources told Holly Else. (Times Higher Education) “Who will keep predatory science journals at bay now that Jeffrey Beall’s blog is gone?” asks Michael Brown. (The Conversation) And Shalmali Pal takes a look at this “dark side of the open access movement.” (ASH Clinical News)
- “Replications of most studies, even those appearing in Top 5 journals, are not published, nor should they be,” writes Daniel Hamermesh. (The Replication Network)
- PLOS Genetics‘ new preprint editors will scour preprint servers for promising papers (Tracy Vence, The Scientist), even as some scientific societies lobby against allowing preprints in NIH grant applications. (Lenny Teytelman, Protocols)
- A geneticist declares that the preprint version of his paper will be the final one, and he’s hoping the trend will catch on. (Dalmeet Singh Chawla, Nature)
- Replication is hard, as many scientists know. Ambitious attempts to reproduce basic cancer research studies have led to mixed results. The latest from our co-founders in STAT.
- “To be trustworthy research must be reproducible:” There’s a new statistics blog in town, from Frank Harrell.
- “We have achieved much greater levels of transparency around industry funding of science and medicine. But transparency on its own does not seem to be enough.” (Sara Gorman and Jack M. Gorman, Psychology Today)
- Have the Directory of Open Access Journals’ updated evaluation process and criteria improved publishing standards? (Italian Journal of Library, Archives and Information Science)
- A former law student says she was tricked into accepting a plagiarism punishment and made an example to others, so she’s suing the school. (Karen Sloan, Law.com)
- Whatever problems exist with mindset theories aren’t because the researchers aren’t careful with their data, says Nick Brown. But they still have a lot of detractors. (Tom Chivers, Buzzfeed)
- Croatia’s Committee on Ethics in Science and Higher Education found that education minister Pavo Barišić plagiarized his research (Vedran Pavlic, Total Croatia News), though the article in question has not been retracted. He has also rejected calls to resign. (Mićo Tatalović & Nenad Jarić Dauenhauer, Nature)
- Do the burdens that researchers shoulder when they review papers actually lead to any benefits? (Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, subscription req’d)
- Critics allege that research suggesting a pest plaguing black pepper on several Indian islands is widespread may not be reliable. (T. Nandakumar, The Hindu)
- India launches a publisher whitelist of journals researchers should publish in to meet promotion requirements, to avoid predatory titles. (Prasad Ravindranath, Science Chronicle blog)
- The current peer review system isn’t good enough and scientific papers need alternatives, says Richard Price, founder of Academia.edu. (Wired)
- Proposed U.S. regulations that would have made it more difficult for scientists to acquire human research samples are scrapped. (Jocelyn Kaiser, Science)
- “Has President Obama identified journals as a new path to political publication? Or are these articles anomalies?” (Kent Anderson, The Scholarly Kitchen)
- A new study of possibly predatory journals in which researchers in Italy had published found “that some journals identified by Beall may be legitimate.” (LEM Working Papers Series)
- And now, a retracted retraction request, from lawyers representing the Trump team. Of course, the original request confirming the story was true, anyway. (Erik Wemple, The Washington Post)
- “Remember that being exposed to critique is an inevitable part of academic writing, challenge yourself to improve your work, address all reviewer comments, and you’ll be ready to resubmit.” Deborah Lupton’s guide to revising journal articles. (The Impact Blog)
- A PhD student is gathering useful tools for skeptical scientists. Have any ideas for Tim van der Zee? (The Skeptical Scientist)
- “A citation is not a citation is not a citation.” Lior Pachter looks at why a paper with a “less than positive review” continues to be referenced.
- Counting the number of researchers who have a particular paper in their Mendeley reference managers offers early evidence of how much impact a paper is having, writes Mike Thelwall. (LSE Impact Blog)
- “[I]t is important to support doctoral students in their journey into bi-literate academic writers, rather than focus on the notion of the privileged position of the native speaker,” argue Virginia Langum and Kirk P.H. Sullivan. (Journal of Second Language Writing, sub req’d)
- “[H]olding up ‘science’ as some depository of knowledge that needs to be broadly respected goes directly against the spirit of research,” writes Robert Gebelhoff in The Washington Post. “It’s also naive.”
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