As this is an hot period for all the ESRs in terms of analyzing data, thesis writing, paper submissions, life decisions after the completion of their PhD, here I would like to tickle the young (but also the senior) scientists with a couple of articles I read and that kept me thinking about what I and we, as scientists, do every day to become and be part of today's scientific community.
Unpublishable negative results, reliability of results in peered review journals, unreproducible published experiments, statistical misapplication and low powered experiments make research in Pubmed a big challenge every day.
I found the article "Trouble at the lab" from The Economist (October 2013) very interesting in pointing out some weak points in biomedical science today and sometimes even shocking for what it reported, like this passage:
"John Bohannon, a biologist at Harvard, recently submitted a pseudonymous paper on the effects of a chemical derived from lichen on cancer cells to 304 journals describing themselves as using peer review. An unusual move; but it was an unusual paper, concocted wholesale and stuffed with clangers in study design, analysis and interpretation of results. Receiving this dog's dinner from a fictitious researcher at a made up university, 157 of the journals accepted it for publication.
Dr Bohannon's sting was directed at the lower tier of academic journals. But in a classic 1998 study Fiona Godlee, editor of the prestigious British Medical Journal, sent an article containing eight deliberate mistakes in study design, analysis and interpretation to more than 200 of the BMJ's regular reviewers. Not one picked out all the mistakes. On average, they reported fewer than two; some did not spot any."
And few days ago, The Guardian has published "The games we play: A troubling dark side in academic publishing" where Dorothy Bishop, Professor of Developmental Neuropsychology at Oxford University and Fellow of the Royal Society lights on "questionable" editorial practices...I found it surprising and good starting point to think about what publishing can also mean nowadays.
Here I report some links:
It would be nice to hear opinions on the topic from the ESRs and as well from the PIs!