Weekend reads: Stress tests in psychology; writing advice to ignore; how to have fun in the lab

booksThis week at Retraction Watch featured a sexist peer review seen around the world, and settlement of the malpractice case against Duke and Anil Potti. Here’s what was happening elsewhere: 

5 thoughts on “Weekend reads: Stress tests in psychology; writing advice to ignore; how to have fun in the lab”

  1. I get the sense that quite different crowds are reading or engaging with post-pub comments at PubPeer and at PubMed Commons. Perhaps the latter serves nicely to add public pressure to raise awareness in step 1, leading possibly to wider knowledge of the issues while the former can serve either as the backup, or the additional pressure builder where the latter has not been effective. Since both have apparent alert services to at least the corresponding author, there is always the guarantee that the authors know about any issues that are being discussed publicly on these sites. Although only a gut feeling, one would suspect less success with PMC than with PP since PMC requires “real name” resgistration while PP allows for anonymous comments to be made. Since identity needs to be shown in PMC, less scientists are willing to risk their names to correct the problems in the literature. So, the channels of true and free expression of problems in the literature remain extremely narrow. How does one step up the pressure on scientists who have multiple papers being questioned at PP to respond?

  2. To increase the likelihood of scientists responding to comments at Pubpeer include illustrations.

  3. The professor who tried to fail the entire class did probably hit also wrong targets, but the students who did behave poorly should have been failed outright. Also, those who cheated should have certainly lost all student credits they earned so far. When you are attending something that is not mandated by law, but you are paying for and need for your own employment, you are expected and indeed should act like proper student. Yound age is no excuse for such behaviour, nor having inadequate parents who failed to teach this much. Study and work for the grade, or get out.

  4. “The University of Bochum has taken disciplinary action against a professor who criticized Jens Förster (story in German).”

    This is not my field, but I read some of the stories on Retraction Watch, and I decided to read this one in SPON. It’s highly suggestive of impropriety by Bochum University and I enjoyed it.

    Bochum claims that the disciplinary action is not based on the criticism and they said that there were some complaints by the students, who apparently never complained in the 20 years previously to the professor. The criticism of Foerster also cannot be said to be insulting, as the letter to the students says that the professor is not sure of the results in light of the news, and that the students should use the Internets to research the matter. The five page letter criticizing Foerster’s explanation was not sent to the students, but SPON claims that there were no insults there either.

    It really is a fishy decision by the university. I would only hope, if there are further consequences, that other universities would be happy to take Dipegen to dig Bochum’s hole a little deeper. SPON has a letter from Bochum to Diepgen saying that he unfairly criticized Foerster, yet their spokesperson says the current punishment is not tied to criticism of Foerster. No wonder SPON is having a field day with this story.

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