Weekend reads: Is failing to share data misconduct?; worst journal ever; Elsevier boycott

booksThe big news this week at Retraction Watch was the release of more than two dozen retractions for accounting researcher James Hunton, and the sentencing of Dong-Pyou Han for scientific fraud (see more below). Here’s what was happening elsewhere:

First, the Han case:

Other interesting reads:

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9 thoughts on “Weekend reads: Is failing to share data misconduct?; worst journal ever; Elsevier boycott”

  1. Does anyone know more about the background of Diego Gomez, and the exact paper he shared (i.e., from which journal and publisher), and on what site he shared that file?

    1. The ScienceInsider paper released one year ago includes an interesting comments thread.
      For example comments done by commenter “Lizarazo” are instructive:
      “The thesis is only legally available in a special room of a university library on a CD ROM & under certain restrictions, but has not been published or edited as such.”

      All the case seems ludicrous, something like an instance of these ridiculous battles between lawyers whose sole purpose is to gain fifteen minutes of fame.

      By the way… I coincidentally realized yesterday that someone posted on Baidu the pdf of an article I co-authored 10 years ago. This article was published in a paywalled section of Acta Crystallographica (edited by the IUCr):

      Should I file a complaint against Baidu?

        1. Agreed. However, I signed the transfer of copyright. Moreover, the file posted on Baidu is NOT even the “authorised electronic reprint” made available to authors upon publication.

          1. I suppose you should technically contact the Journal. However I think most scientists would like to see their work more circulated (if you can’t read it you can’t cite it).
            Personally I stand outside the train station everyday handing out PDF’s…..

  2. The report on doing research that makes a difference being correlated with job security is from officers at the European Science Foundation (ESF) based on a pilot survey. Some critiques:

    The authors write that those on permanent contracts were:
    1. “Nearly twice as likely to have undertaken public engagement activities (17% compared to 12%)”. That’s a rather unremarkable difference, esp. given the tiny numbers reported in the survey. What’s far more relevant is that most researchers report not being involved in public engagement.
    2. “Twice as likely to have published a book”. In the table above one sees the numbers are 8% for those on permanent contracts vs. 5% for those that are not. Again, the numbers of respondents involved are laughably tiny (13 vs. 14).

    It is easy to see that differences in “Output/Impact” between permanent vs. temporary contract researchers in the table shown on the LSE blog are generally totally unremarkable. Thus the overall conclusion should be that the differences between researchers with permanent vs. temporary contract posts are on the whole quite trivial, and that the relationship between job security and “making a difference” (i.e. “impact”) are at best weak.

    You can read the full glossy report from the ESF here:

    1. I would like to a add a disclaimer that the ESF report linked to above is rife with the same forms of problems illustrated above.

  3. I don’t think physics has a reproducibility problem. All cases mentioned in the article have been caught during peer review, which shows that the system is working more or less as intended. People have been circulating rumors way before the days of the arXiv, and if nobody gave press conferences before results are published, departments would be bombarded with press inquiries once these rumors reach the media. Of course, it doesn’t hurt if press releases contain a note to take findings with a grain of salt prior to peer review, but usually, press releases indeed contain such language (AFAICS only the BICEP2 release didn’t). If media organization simply skip over such warnings, is it really the physicists to be blamed?

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