Weekend reads: Reviewer comments unmasked, the problem with top journal editors, originality an illusion?

booksThe week at Retraction Watch featured a number of legal cases by scientists trying to suppress criticism about their work. Here’s what was happening elsewhere:

8 thoughts on “Weekend reads: Reviewer comments unmasked, the problem with top journal editors, originality an illusion?”

  1. So I take it that ‘academic freedom’ is the new battle cry for every charlatan, quack and con-man attempting to wrap their biased agenda in a cloak of research respectability. It seems to be a theme in the list this weekend. It’s a bit surprising that the journals and academic institutes supporting and publishing tainted crap don’t have as much concern for their own reputations as they do for the supposed ideal of ‘academic freedom.’

    Glad to see that at least the Dept of Ag takes its oversight of research subject protections seriously and that Baboon rights are receiving attention. Now if only the Office of Human Research Protections would do its job and take an interest in the debacle at the U of MN where mentally ill humans have been treated like disposable Petri dishes for psychiatric research for well over a decade. The case of Dan Markingson that brought this to a head is just one of a number of potentially preventable deaths attributed to Dept of Psychiatry research at the U of MN over the years. It’s appalling and embarrassing.

  2. Proof that anything can get past peer review?

    The latest issue of the journal in question (“Explore — the Journal of Science and Healing”) gives us
    Two Meta-Analyses of Noncontact Healing Studies
    That is, a straight-faced application of meta-analysis to the efficacy of prayer / reiki / etc. on healing humans in the second analysis, and in the first analysis, mice / yeast /cultured cells / plants whatever.

  3. Is this the shortest review article ever published?

    It has been delinked on the issue page, and the “gallery proof” link provided by Beall is dead.

  4. In relation to the report on misleading press releases, people might like to know about Behind the Headlines which every day analyses the science behind two media reports on health and puts them in perspective. It reported on the study on gout and Alzheimer’s disease and made clear that no conclusions could be drawn on causation from an observational study: http://www.nhs.uk/news/2015/03March/Pages/People-with-gout-have-lower-risk-of-Alzheimers-disease.aspx

  5. “The decision by Frontiers’ senior editors to support continued publication despite being made aware of the likely public health consequences of such a decision is incomprehensible, and appears to demonstrate indifference to, or a lack of understanding of, the journal’s responsibilities to its readers, contributors and to the wider community,”

    The comment thread at the Frontiers Opinion Piece has developed into a new wonder of the Interweb, and I hope someone is preserving it in perpetuity for future generations to marvel at. If I may summarise:

    1. The usual suspects turn up (Crowe, Bauer, Liversidge), repeating the usual claim that deaths from “AIDS” were really deaths from AZT toxicity, and that the drop in “AIDS mortality” actually resulted from a drop in AZT prescribing to below the lethal level.
    2. A series of comments from Mika Thane refute those claims by comparing the time-lines of prescription guidelines and AIDS mortality, with suitable links to those time-lines.
    3. The usual suspects attempt to buttress their claims by repeating them more loudly.
    3. The usual suspects attempt to buttress their claims by linking to publications which, when read, in fact refute them.
    4. 3. The usual suspects attempt to buttress their claims by demanding that Frontiers editors and publishers take down all comments from Mika Thane.
    5. 3. The usual suspects attempt to buttress their claims by threatening Frontiers with a law-suit for being a party to Mika Thane’s comments, which they claim are fraudulent; they also threaten a law-suit if the Frontiers editors do take down Mika Thane’s comments and thereby meddle with the evidence required in the first law-suit.

    I hope the Frontiers staff are enjoying the company of their new friends.

  6. How much of the $10 billion in revenue in 2013 generated by STM publishers was through sales of or downloads of retraction notices, erroneous science, retracted papers, errata or corrigenda?

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