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The week at Retraction Watch featured a researcher who faked earthquake data, an ambivalent co-author, and a call by statisticians to end black-and-white definitions of “statistical significance.” Here’s what was happening elsewhere:
- “Following a review that lasted more than six months, the journal PLOS ONE has published a revised version of a controversial paper by a Brown University researcher on whether social media and the influence of friends lead some teenagers to identify as transgender — a theory that’s been dubbed Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria.” (Tom Bartlett, Chronicle of Higher Education) Read our initial coverage of the case — which involved the retraction of a press release — here.
- “Science is warning readers that an article it published on a much-hyped potential HIV remission approach didn’t include all the facts.” (Heather Boerner, Medscape)
- The e-cigarette maker Juul, already under fire from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is touting a positive study in a predatory journal, reports Alicia Ault. (Medscape)
- They downplayed their role, but a medical school acknowledged lapses in their oversight of a psychiatric drug trial in children to federal officials. (Jodi Cohen, ProPublica) More background on this case here.
- “Put yourself in the public domain and accuse people of bad faith. You will be wrong a lot, and then you will get into trouble.” (James Heathers, Medium)
- “We need to relearn how to play nice in peer review,” says Toronto graduate student Daniel Harris. (University Affairs)
- “The FBI says a New York City man planned to travel to Michigan and buy an ax to kill a professor he once assisted with research.” (AP)
- Five mistakes academics make when writing articles, and how they can avoid them, from Jane Jones.
- “Statistical-significance thinking is not just a bad way to publish, it’s also a bad way to think,” says Andrew Gelman.
- “Philosophical bias is the one bias that science cannot avoid,” argue Fredrik Andersen, Rani Lill Anjum, and Elena Rocca, saying it needs to be debated critically. (eLife)
- An academic who helped a company gather data on millions of Facebook users has sued the site for defamation. (New York Times)
- “Education and Science Giant Elsevier Left Users’ Passwords Exposed Online,” Joseph Cox reports. (Motherboard)
- “Eight academics who were implicated in allegations of plagiarism at the North West University have been found guilty after an investigation by the university.” (Msindisi Fengu, City Press)
- It is “up to scientists to free themselves…from the tyranny of academic publishers by refusing to perform free peer-reviews for them.” (PeerJ)
- “At eLife we often see papers from early-career scientists that suffer because the authors assume too much from the reader, or because the paper does not do justice to the intellectual framework that motivated the work.” (Eve Marder, eLife)
- “A coalition of 41 media organizations, led by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, is urging a federal appeals court to uphold a decision dismissing an Ohio State University professor and cancer researcher’s defamation lawsuit against The New York Times.” Meanwhile, that professor, Carlo Croce, has had another expression of concern published.
- Roberto Bolli, who has retracted two papers he published with Piero Anversa, has had a paper about cardiac stem cells subject to a significant correction. (Journal of Biological Chemistry) (Bolli was recently fired as editor of a journal for making homophobic comments.)
- “I had forgotten that we decided not to mention the chemo in the paper because we thought it was irrelevant to the experimental plan and had no bearing on the outcome.” Questions about a study of a new technique for overcoming infertility. (Ivan Couronne, AFP)
- “DowDupont’s agriculture business, Corteva Agriscience, has ended its one-year fungicide toxicity experiment on dogs at Charles River Laboratories in Michigan, amid pressure from the Humane Society of the US.” (Rebecca Trager, Chemistry World)
- “The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) has expressed its concerns about predatory journals using the list of ICMJE Recommendations (ICMJE-R) followers to ‘gain the appearance of legitimacy.'” (Rafael Dal-Ré, Ana Marušić, The Netherlands Journal of Medicine)
- “For starters, the purpose of a scientific journal today should not be to publish research – there is no dearth of specialty platforms to publish scientific findings. Instead, what if we were to focus on the function of peer review to curate published discoveries?” (Jonathan Thon, University Affairs)
- What effect does caring for children have on research output? “There was a small increase in publication counts after the first child that was reversed after the second child. Average citations counts declined after children, particularly after the second child. There was some evidence of a reduced collaboration with overseas collaborators after the first child. The probability of being the last author increased after the second child.” (Lauren Sewell, Adrian G. Barnett, PLOS ONE)
- “Since about half of the published articles have open data, and so few of the retracted ones do, we put forth the preliminary notion that open data, especially high quality and well-curated data, might imply scientific credibility.” (International Conference on Information)
- Estonia’s Supreme Court has ruled — in a case involving claims about a master’s thesis — that “an individual who has published false information can generally be required to retract this information in the same place and way as it was first published.” (ERR.ee)
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