The week at Retraction Watch was dominated by the retraction of “the Creator” paper, but we also reported on a scientist under investigation losing a grant, and a case brewing at a New Jersey university. Here’s what was happening elsewhere:
The web was abuzz this week with discussions of challenges to the Reproducibility Project’s attempts to replicate 100 psychology studies which appeared in Science. A sampling:
- Monya Baker, at Nature, takes a look at the analysis: “Psychology’s reproducibility problem is exaggerated – say psychologists.”
- Benedict Carey does the same, at The New York Times.
- Slate’s Rachel Gross has detailed comments from Brian Nosek, who led the original replication effort.
- “Psychology Is in Crisis Over Whether It’s in Crisis,” Katie Palmer at WIRED writes. Palmer notes that Harvard’s Dan Gilbert, one of the authors of the Science article, who in the past has called replicators “shameless bullies,” hung up on her when she asked “if he thought his defensiveness might have colored his interpretation of this data.”
- The reason why many of the studies involved in the Reproducibility Project didn’t replicate? “Overestimation of effect sizes…due to small sample sizes and publication bias in the psychological literature,” says a new paper in PLOS ONE.
- Ed Yong weighs in at The Atlantic with “Psychology’s replication crisis can’t be wished away.”
- Andrew Gelman says that “improved statistics and preregistered replications will have very little direct effect on improving psychological science, but they could have important indirect effects.”
And there was lots of other fodder for discussion this week:
- Did a drugmaker fool the New England Journal of Medicine? Katie Thomas reports for The New York Times.
- The debate on anonymity in post-publication peer review rages on, with Plant Physiology editor Michael Blatt publishing another argument against it. (As he notes, the piece began as an invited guest post at Retraction Watch that we declined to publish, for reasons we describe to Leonid Schneider.) PubPeer responds, calling Blatt’s arguments “confused.”
- “[O]ne way to guarantee your paper gets high alt-metrics, is to have it discussed on Retraction Watch. You probably don’t want that.”
- “No more excuses: Let’s step up to data sharing,” says Science editor in chief Marcia McNutt.
- “Was a USDA scientist muzzled because of his bee research?” asks Steve Volk at the Washington Post.
- “We can only conclude that this new information is one of a multitude of instances in which Dr [Paolo] Macchiarini’s group has systematically misrepresented, forged or manipulated data in order to gain publication in high impact medical journals.” The Karolinska Institutet whistleblowers continue their efforts.
- How common is scientific misconduct in Croatia? A new survey tries to answer. (sub req’d)
- Women are facing a paper ceiling in medical research, we argue in STAT.
- On an open-source software platform, “women’s contributions tend to be accepted more often than men’s,” a new study in PeerJ finds. “However, when a woman’s gender is identifiable,they are rejected more often.”
- Timothy Gowers, who this week launched Discrete Analysis, says academic journals can cost nothing, writes Julia Belluz at Vox.
- Psychological Science is backing away from null hypothesis significance testing, and Andrew Gelman ponders what that means.
- “How to keep bad science from getting into print.” Harvard Medical School dean Jeffrey Flier weighs in on reproducibility in the Wall Street Journal. (sub req’d)
- “[W]hat has been occurring is more than a series of rotten apples in the scholarly barrel,” writes Ian Freckleton. “It is a crisis for the culture of scholarship leading to an attenuation of the trust and respect which should be its hallmarks.”
- Peter Heimlich, who has been documenting allegations of misconduct by his late father, of Heimlich Maneuver fame, describes his attempts to get a paper retracted.
- The perspective of a data parasite, namely Fred Trotter.
- As many as one in five surveys may contain fraudulent data, according to a new study. (John Bohannon, Science)
- “Dear editor, why did you reject my paper?” Amitav Banerjee, editor of the Medical Journal of Dr. D.Y Patil University, explains how he makes decisions.
- Giovanni Fava explores the “hidden costs of conflicts of interest in medicine.” (Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics)
- Anywhere from 5-15% of medical students and residents engaged in “plagiarism, cheating on examinations, and listing fraudulent publications on residency/fellowship applications,” according to new review of the literature on the subject in Academic Medicine. (We looked at this issue in STAT in December.)
- “People live on the Internet now,” say Michael Eisen. “We have senior scientists who are all on Twitter. It just doesn’t make sense that we don’t publish our work immediately.” (Katie Palmer, WIRED, writing about #ASAPbio)
- “Food companies distort nutrition science,” writes Julia Belluz at Vox. “Here’s how to stop them.”
- It’s time to get animal research right, says Andrew Jefcoat in The Scientist.
- The NIH’s Michael Lauer tells Theresa Defino of the Report on Research Compliance that “the agency needs to move to a model of making funding decisions that is based more on ‘evidence.’”
- Fake academic degrees in Russia? A guest post on Copy, Shake, Paste.
- Elsevier is relaunching “one of Germany’s oldest medical journals:ZEFQ – The Journal of Evidence and Quality in Health Care as an international, peer-reviewed, multidisciplinary and cross-professional journal.”
- “The manuscript-editing marketplace: A peer-to-peer website aims to disrupt the author-services industry,” Jeffrey Perkel writes in Nature.
Retractions And Related Issues Outside of the Scientific Literature
- A plagiarism scandal — in crosswords. (Oliver Roeder, FiveThirtyEight)
- A press release about British Pie Week has been retracted. One hopes the pies were not.
- “Such language would be impossible to retract in a general election campaign and all but precludes a later endorsement,” writes The New York Times of Mitt Romney’s comments on U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump.
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