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Archive of posts filed under the Miscellaneous Science category.

The Paper of My Enemy Has Been Retracted

The paper of my enemy has been retracted And I am pleased. From every media outlet it has been retracted Like a van-load of p-values that has been seized And sits in star-laden tables in a replication archive, My enemy’s much-prized effort sits in tables In the kind of journal where retraction occurs. Great, square […]

NSF Cultivating Cultures for Ethical STEM

The National Science Foundation is funding this program: NSF Cultivating Cultures for Ethical STEM (CCE STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics]) Funding: The maximum amount for 5-year awards is $600,000 (including indirect costs) and the maximum amount for 3-year awards is $400,000 (including indirect costs). The average award is $275,000. Deadline: Internal Notice of Intent […]

The Trumpets of Lilliput

Gur Huberman pointed me to this paper by George Akerlof and Pascal Michaillat that gives an institutional model for the persistence of false belief. The article begins: This paper develops a theory of promotion based on evaluations by the already promoted. The already promoted show some favoritism toward candidates for promotion with similar beliefs, just […]

Hey, here’s a new reason for a journal to reject a paper: it’s “annoying” that it’s already on a preprint server

Alex Gamma writes: I’m interested in publishing in journal X. So I inquire about X’s preprint policy. X’s editor informs me that [Journal X] does not prohibit placing submitted manuscripts on preprint servers. Some reviewers may notice the server version of the article, however, and they may find the lack of anonymity so annoying that […]

The puzzle: Why do scientists typically respond to legitimate scientific criticism in an angry, defensive, closed, non-scientific way? The answer: We’re trained to do this during the process of responding to peer review.

[image of Cantor’s corner] Here’s the “puzzle,” as we say in social science. Scientific research is all about discovery of the unexpected: to do research, you need to be open to new possibilities, to design experiments to force anomalies, and to learn from them. The sweet spot for any researcher is at Cantor’s corner. (See […]

The retraction paradox: Once you retract, you implicitly have to defend all the many things you haven’t yet retracted

Mark Palko points to this news article by Beth Skwarecki on Goop, “the Gwyneth Paltrow pseudoscience empire.” Here’s Skwarecki: When Goop publishes something weird or, worse, harmful, I often find myself wondering what are they thinking? Recently, on Jimmy Kimmel, Gwyneth laughed at some of the newsletter’s weirder recommendations and said “I don’t know what […]

Intelligence has always been artificial or at least artefactual.

I (Keith O’Rourke) thought I would revisit a post of Andrew’s on artificial intelligence (AI) and statistics. The main point seemed to be that “AI can be improved using long-established statistical principles. Or, to put it another way, that long-established statistical principles can be made more useful through AI techniques.” The point(s) I will try […]

I’m with Errol: On flypaper, photography, science, and storytelling

[image of a cat going after an insect] I’ve been reading this amazing book, Believing is Seeing: Observations on the Mysteries of Photography, by Errol Morris, who, like John Waters, is a pathbreaking filmmaker who is also an excellent writer. I recommend this book, but what I want to talk about here is one particular […]

The failure of null hypothesis significance testing when studying incremental changes, and what to do about it

A few months ago I wrote a post, “Cage match: Null-hypothesis-significance-testing meets incrementalism. Nobody comes out alive.” I soon after turned it into an article, published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, with the title given above and the following abstract: A standard mode of inference in social and behavioral science is to establish stylized […]

UNDER EMBARGO: the world’s most unexciting research finding

Kevin Lewis writes: Since it’s so surprising: From: Society for Personality and Social Psychology Sent: Friday, September 23, 2016 12:01 PM Subject: Embargoed: Want to be popular? Work on your emotional intelligence UNDER EMBARGO UNTIL SEPTEMBER 27, 2016 at 7:30 AM EDT Media Contact: Annie Drinkard, Public and Media Relations Manager Society for Personality and […]

Working Class Postdoc

As soon as you’re born they make you feel small By giving you no time instead of it all Till the pain is so big you feel nothing at all A working class hero is something to be A working class hero is something to be They hurt you at home and they hit you […]

Stranger than fiction

Someone pointed me to a long discussion, which he preferred not to share publicly, of his perspective on a scientific controversy in his field of research. He characterized a particular claim as “impossible to be true, i.e., false, and therefore, by definition, fiction.” But my impression of a lot of research misconduct is that the […]

Is it possible to paint an overly bleak picture of university based clinical research?

Recently I was reminiscing with an old colleague about  how our publications from almost 30 years ago that tried to encourage better conduct and reporting of clinical research seemed to have had so little impact. This one for instance. Recently, they suggested there is some reason to hope for better, pointing to a website reporting […]

Wine + Stan + Climate change = ?

Pablo Almaraz writes: Recently, I published a paper in the journal Climate Research in which I used RStan to conduct the statistical analyses: Almaraz P (2015) Bordeaux wine quality and climate fluctuations during the last century: changing temperatures and changing industry. Clim Res 64:187-199.

We start by talking reproducible research, then we drift to a discussion of voter turnout

Emil Kirkegaard writes: Regarding data sharing, you recently commented that “In future perhaps journals will require all data to be posted as a condition of publication and then this sort of thing won’t happen anymore.” We went a step further. We require public data sharing at submission. This means that from the moment one submits, […]

A pivotal episode in the unfolding of the replication crisis

Axel Cleeremans writes: I appreciated your piece titled “What has happened down here is the winds have changed”. Your mini-history of what happened was truly enlightening — but you didn’t explicitly mention our failure to replicate Bargh’s slow walking effect. This was absolutely instrumental in triggering the replication crisis. As you know, the article was […]

No no no no no on “The oldest human lived to 122. Why no person will likely break her record.”

I came across this news article by Brian Resnick entitled: The oldest human lived to 122. Why no person will likely break her record. Even with better medicine, living past 120 years will be extremely unlikely. I was skeptical, and I really didn’t buy it after reading the research article, “Evidence for a limit to […]

“What is a sandpit?”

From Private Eye 1399, in Pseuds Corner: What is a sandpit? Sandpits are residential interactive workshops over five days involving 20-30 participants; the director, a team of expert mentors, and a number of independent stakeholders. Sandpits have a highly multidisciplinary mix of participants, some active researchers and others potential users of research outcomes, to drive […]

What should this student do? His bosses want him to p-hack and they don’t even know it!

Someone writes: I’m currently a PhD student in the social sciences department of a university. I recently got involved with a group of professors working on a project which involved some costly data-collection. None of them have any real statistical prowess, so they came to me to perform their analyses, which I was happy to […]

Noisy, heterogeneous data scoured from diverse sources make his metanalyses stronger.

Kyle MacDonald writes: I wondered if you’d heard of Purvesh Khatri’s work in computational immunology, profiled in this Q&A with Esther Landhuis at Quanta yesterday. Elevator pitch is that he believes noisy, heterogeneous data scoured from diverse sources make his metanalyses stronger. The thing that gave me the woollies was this line: “We start with […]