Weekend reads: Fame bias at journals; retractions as good news; hoarding data as bad news

booksThis week at Retraction Watch featured the retraction of a widely covered paper on marriage and illness, and the resignation of a high-profile lab head in Toronto. Here’s what was happening elsewhere:

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3 thoughts on “Weekend reads: Fame bias at journals; retractions as good news; hoarding data as bad news”

  1. “Scientists are hoarding data, and it’s ruining medical research,” says Ben Goldacre.

    The title of the article seems very misleading given the content. Goldacre’s main issue, stated towards the end of the article, is that “there is a replication crisis throughout research”, since the original analysis often doesn’t hold up after independent reanalysis. That may be true, but his case that it’s due to “hoarding” is weak at best. Goldacre doesn’t define “hoarding”, but suggests it happens if scientists refuse to hand over an entire data set (“all too often the original researchers duck, dive, or simply ignore requests”; “a trial withheld by a zealot, or by a company with money to lose from transparency”)

    In two of the three cases he describes (both related to deworming), Goldacre makes no suggestions that authors involved refused to hand over data. In fact, Goldacre specifically praises Edward Miguel and Michael Kremer for handing over all original data from the 2004 study to independent reviewers in 2013. He also praises Richard Doll and Richard Peto for their large and methodologically sound study. The only criticism of Doll & Peteo is that their data checking and analysis took many years – due to lack of funding – and the results were not published in time for a recent Cochrane Review. There was no suggestion they hoarded data.

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