Retracted studies and papers

On peer review—then, now, and soon to be?

EXCERPTS: Peer review has a long history, dating back to the very early days of scientific publishing, and its roles have been redefined many times, depending on scientific and social priorities. [...] Although the concept of peer review was in place in the early days of scientific publishing, it was slow to catch on.

[...] Today, its future status is uncertain. Some are calling for strengthening the process to guard against ways that it has been twisted, e.g., by predatory journals.

Others are calling for alternative models to reinvent how it’s practiced, most notably by moving the process from before a manuscript is made accessible to readers (pre-publication peer review) to after it is made accessible to readers (post-publication peer review).

Finally, a few others are calling for abolishing it altogether. Despite the diversity of viewpoints, it’s safe to say that no one is entirely happy with the process as it’s practiced right now... (MORE - missing details)

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Thanks to generative AI, catching fraud science is going to be this much harder

EXCERPTS: Generative AI poses interesting challenges for academic publishers tackling fraud in science papers as the technology shows the potential to fool human peer review.

[...] These AI models can produce lifelike pictures of human faces, objects, and scenes, and it's a matter of time before they get good at creating convincing scientific images and data, too. Text-to-image models are now widely accessible, pretty cheap to use, and they could help dodgy scientists forge results and publish sham research more easily.

[...] But just as publishers begin to get a grip on manual image manipulation, another threat is emerging. Some researchers may be tempted to use generative AI models to create brand-new fake data rather than altering existing photos and scans. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that sham scientists may be doing this already.

[...] Scientists can just describe what type of false data they want generated to suit their conclusions, and these tools will do it for them... (MORE - missing details)

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From cats to chatbots: How non-humans are authoring scientific papers

EXCERPTS: . . . instead of retyping the whole paper, Hetherington simply added the name of his cat, a Siamese called Chester, as a co-author. ... The ethical controversy was mostly overlooked at the time, however, and Chester went on to co-author two more papers and one solo paper before passing away in 1982 at the age of 14.

[...] Chester’s story is just one of a handful in which scientists have added a pet or animal test subject as a co-author.

[...] Others have not been as lucky. Immunologist Polly Matzinger published a paper with her dog, Galadriel Mirkwood, as an honorary author in the Journal of Experimental Immunology in 1978. Upon finding out the truth, the journal’s editor banned Matzinger from publication until the editor died.

[...] The whimsy of these stories can easily obstruct the ethical dilemmas they cause, yet the process of honorary authorship — even beyond pets — continues, thanks to the pressure scientists feel to continually publish.

[...] Now, with the information age and all it brings (looking at you, ChatGPT), it’s even easier for researchers to practice honorary co-authorship. Because of this, most scholarly journals are finding it more difficult to regulate AI co-authors.

“We’re trying to take the most cautious approach that we can,” says H. Holden Thorp, the editor-in-chief of Science. “We’ll start with something more restrictive and then loosen it up over time.” (MORE - missing details)
PNAS is Not a Good Journal (and Other Hard Truths about Journal Prestige)

EXCERPT: . . . Despite the clickbait title and the opening anecdote, this post is not about PNAS, per se. Sure, I stand by my statement that PNAS is not a good journal—a point I will elaborate on later—but neither are other journals at the top of the prestige market. This includes other vanity journals such as Science and Nature, but also the “top” journals in my field, psychology, such as Psychological Science, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Child Development, and so on. This post is about how we determine what makes for a “good journal,” and how all available data indicate that we are wrong. At the end, I will also briefly comment on how our erroneous beliefs about journal prestige shape empirical work on replications and metascience.

What is a “Good” Journal? There are two primary sources of information we rely on to determine the quality of a journal. First, is received wisdom: Certain journals are good, prestigious, and desirable to publish in because people say they are. This knowledge of the journal hierarchy is socialized to early career researchers, who then internalize it and socialize it to others. Although this process certainly still operates, over the last 20+ years it has largely given way to the second dominant indicator of journal quality: the journal impact factor... (MORE - missing details)

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Strife at eLife: inside a journal’s quest to upend science publishing

EXCERPTS: Last October, the pioneering life-sciences journal eLife introduced bold changes to its editorial practice — which some researchers applauded as reimagining the purpose of a scientific journal. From 31 January this year, eLife said, it would publish every paper it sent out for peer review: authors would never again receive a rejection after a negative review. Instead, reviewers’ reports would be published alongside the paper, together with a short editorial assessment of the work’s significance and rigour. Authors could then decide whether to revise their paper to address any comments.

The change followed an earlier decision by eLife to require that all submissions be posted as preprints online. The cumulative effect was to turn eLife into a producer of public reviews and assessments about online research. It was “relinquishing the traditional journal role of gatekeeper”, editor-in-chief Michael Eisen explained in a press release, and “promoting the evaluation of scientists based on what, rather than where, they publish”.

The transformation sparked enthusiastic praise — and sharp criticism. Some scientists saw it as a long-overdue move to empower authors. Others, including some of eLife’s academic editors (who are mostly senior researchers), weren’t so happy. They worried it would diminish the prestige of a brand they’d worked hard to build, and some wrote privately to Eisen (in letters seen by Nature) to say they would resign if the plan was fully implemented. Amid the pushback, the journal postponed switching fully to its new process.

[...] Eisen says he thinks the dissent is small in scale. He and Pattinson say they did not dismiss concerns, but consulted on changes over two years with editors. “We see big swathes of enthusiasm among the community,” Pattinson adds.... (MORE - missing details)
Why science and its journals should remain free of ideology: an example from "Nature"

EXCERPTS (Jerry Coyne): It’s one thing for a newspaper to take political stands, but that’s okay only in the editorial section. So long as the “news” section—the reporting itself—remains untainted by political leanings or obvious bias, people can still trust the news, even if they use editorials to diss entire papers like the NYT as “authoritarian leftist” or the Wall Street Journal as “right wing”. The important thing is to keep the editorial section completely separate from the news.

But it’s another thing entirely for scientific journals to take political stands, and this post should show you why...

[...] This is what happened to Scientific American, which, once free from politics, has under its new leadership decided to repeatedly take woke stands in their editorials, and that has made the whole magazine lose credibility. Can you trust their judgement about what science they choose to publish if their editorials accuse Mendel of racism? (They did that, but of course it’s a lie.) Best to keep political views out of science journals, whose purpose, after all, is not to render political opinions but to convey scientific truth.

But it’s even worse when it happens in a serious journal like Nature, for, unlike Scientific American, Nature publishes new scientific results. By steering clear of ideological stands in the rest of the journal, it can at least be free of the criticism that it’s publishing biased science.

And for years Nature pretty much refrained from politics, probably because it realized that its mission was the dissemination of science, not social engineering. The journal was first published in 1869, and remained fairly unpolitical until 2016...

[...] And loss of scientific credibility did in fact happen. Nature itself admits this in an article published two days ago, “Political endorsements can affect scientific credibility.”... (MORE - missing details)
In unusual move, publishers remove authors victimized by forger

Paper co-authored by controversial Australian journalist earns expression of concern

Nearly 20 Hindawi journals delisted from leading index amid concerns of papermill activity

A journal editor once told us authors were free to publish ‘bullshit and fiction.’ Apparently his publisher disagrees.
A Shark Discovery ‘Didn’t Look Right.’ It Might Have Been a Plastic Toy.

Scientists have retracted a study that showed a rare goblin shark washed up on a Greek beach after other researchers voiced doubts about the find.

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Greetings from your predatory journal! What they are, why they are a problem, how to spot and avoid them

ABSTRACT: Predatory publishers, also known as counterfeit, deceptive, or fraudulent, are organisations that exploit the open-access scholarly model by charging hefty article processing charges (APCs), often without the scientific rigour and ethical processes offered by legitimate journals. Their rising prevalence is of concern to the scientific community, as the consequences of falling victim to them can negatively impact academic integrity and reputation, and render an author’s work worthless and untrustworthy.

Common characteristics include inappropriate marketing and misrepresentation of services by targeting individuals with solicitation emails, inadequate peer-review processes, lack of editorial services and transparency about APCs, and false claims about citation metrics and indexing that cannot be verified. Given the infiltration of predatory publishers, authors are advised to proceed with caution when receiving solicitation emails and if in doubt, to follow the Think, Check, Submit checklist.

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Name-Based Demographic Inference and the Unequal Distribution of Misrecognition

ABSTRACT: Academics and companies increasingly draw on large datasets to understand the social world, and name-based demographic ascription tools are widespread for imputing information like gender and race that are often missing from these large datasets. These approaches have drawn criticism on ethical, empirical, and theoretical grounds.

Employing a survey of all authors listed on articles in sociology, economics, and communications journals in the Web of Science between 2015 and 2020, we compared self-identified demographics with name-based imputations of gender and race/ethnicity for 19,924 scholars across four gender ascription tools and four race/ethnicity ascription tools. We find substantial inequalities in how these tools misgender and misrecognize the race/ethnicity of authors, distributing erroneous ascriptions unevenly among other demographic traits.

Because of the empirical and ethical consequences of these errors, scholars need to be cautious with the use of demographic imputation. We recommend five principles for the responsible use of name-based demographic inference.
The death of open access mega-journals?

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Why race-based health care is bad medicine: from BiDil to kidney transplants

INTRO: Choosing a medical treatment based on patient traits historically used to define races is fundamentally flawed, because race in the context of humans is a social construct, while medicine is based on biology. Race-based prescribing robs some individuals of drugs that could help them, while prescribing them to people who likely will not respond, or even be harmed. Fortunately, the practice of basing treatment decisions on the superficial traits used to define human races is on the decline... (MORE - details)
One small error for a physicist, one giant blunder for planetary science

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Exclusive: Committee recommended pulling several papers by former Cornell med school dean

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Norway demotes Hindawi journal after claims one published a stolen paper

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“Bust Size and Hitchhiking” author earns five expressions of concern

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Exclusive: Australia space scientist made up data, probe finds
Journal pulls papers by embattled scientist at national research center in France

INTRO:A nanotechnology journal has retracted two papers coauthored by a scientist in France who is accused of manipulating or reusing graphs and figures in nearly two dozen instances, Retraction Watch has learned. The scientist, Jolanda Spadavecchia. In December, an article in the newspaper Le Monde described allegations of misconduct in Spadavecchia’s lab... (MORE - details)

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Editor home bias?

ABSTRACT: We analyze whether journal editors exhibit home bias in their acceptance decisions towards researchers affiliated with institutions in the editor's home country. Our results show that the fraction of articles accepted by authors affiliated with European civil-law countries increase by 33 % when an editor from the same country serves in the journal. We analyze various possible reasons for this phenomenon and conclude that a likely explanation for the bias is that, in civil-law countries, there is greater emphasis on individuals' solidarity with institutions. We also document that this bias extends to the European Union as a whole. Importantly, articles that are potentially subject to editorial home bias have 10 % lower impact than similar articles. Overall, the findings are consistent with the idea that cultural values potentially foster editorial-biased behavior and hinder scientific progress.

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Ten simple rules for socially responsible science

ABSTRACT: Guidelines concerning the potentially harmful effects of scientific studies have historically focused on ethical considerations for minimizing risk for participants. However, studies can also indirectly inflict harm on individuals and social groups through how they are designed, reported, and disseminated. As evidenced by recent criticisms and retractions of high-profile studies dealing with a wide variety of social issues, there is a scarcity of resources and guidance on how one can conduct research in a socially responsible manner. As such, even motivated researchers might publish work that has negative social impacts due to a lack of awareness. To address this, we propose 10 simple rules for researchers who wish to conduct socially responsible science. These rules, which cover major considerations throughout the life cycle of a study from inception to dissemination, are not aimed as a prescriptive list or a deterministic code of conduct. Rather, they are meant to help motivated scientists to reflect on their social responsibility as researchers and actively engage with the potential social impact of their research.
How COVID-19 bolstered an already perverse publishing system

EXCERPT: This was the first global pandemic that the scientific publishing industry had ever faced—while journals existed, no organised industry did when the 1918 flu pandemic occurred—and the first in a new digital age of internet communication and publishing. An estimated 1.5 million articles were added to the global literature in 2020—the largest single year increase in history, says Vincent Larivière, who studies bibliometrics at the University of Montreal, Canada. This peaked in April 2020, when many countries were deep into lockdown or applying heavy restrictions.

Some saw it as an opportunity. There were promises of more open science and publishing: a number of journals and research institutions agreed to a data sharing pledge issued by the funder the Wellcome Trust on 31 January 2020 that intended to “ensure that research findings and data relevant to this outbreak are shared rapidly and openly to inform the public health response and help save lives.” But it also stoked an already, some say, twisted industry—one that thrives on competitiveness—to publish the first data or to have the greatest visibility and impact. This changed the ways that papers were produced and vetted, for good and bad... (MORE - details)
Series of new studies refute assumptions about link between power and concern about reputation

INTRO: Contrary to earlier research findings, people of power - think about politicians, celebrities or bullies in school - turn out to be no less concerned about their reputation, compared to those who have less influence and control within the society.

Previously, it has been assumed that since those who have the upper hand in the society - unlike the ‘powerless’ - are able to get away with commonly unacceptable behaviour (e.g. aggression and exploitation), would care less about any potential damages to their reputation.

However, a recent study by scientists at the University of Kent (United Kingdom) and Kochi University of Technology (Japan), published in the open-access peer-reviewed scholarly journal Social Psychological Bulletin, failed to find a correlation between the sense of power and reputational concern... (MORE - details)

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Can We Trust Peer Review Journals?

EXCERPT: . . . There are thousands of scientific journals publishing today. Using a crude classification system, we might label them good, bad, or predatory. The term predatory is reserved for those journals that take the open access model even further, charging authors’ fees but doing little or no peer-review. The journal might look like a legitimate outlet for scientific information, but the publishing standards are low or nonexistent.

Recently, a group of scholars came together to establish a consensus definition of a predatory journal: “Predatory journals and publishers are entities that prioritize self-interest at the expense of scholarship and are characterized by false or misleading information, deviation from best editorial and publication practices, a lack of transparency, and/or the use of aggressive and indiscriminate solicitation practices” (Grudniewicz et al. 2019, 211).

Predatory journals create two problems. First, they prey upon authors—often young and inexperienced scholars—to make money. Undergraduate and graduate students often receive emails from predatory journals encouraging them to submit their honors or masters theses for publication. Second, predatory journals mislead the public. Unless you have a good understanding of the scientific publishing landscape, you will not be able to tell the difference between a predatory and a legitimate, high-quality journal. Agnes Grudniewicz et al. (2019) tell the story of a breast cancer patient who, after pursuing science-based treatments, turned to alternative medicine. Her alternative medicine practitioner gave her a journal article reporting that vitamin infusions were an effective treatment, but when she showed the article to her son-in-law, he recognized that it was from a predatory journal. She learned something valuable, but only because she happened to have a relative who was savvy to the academic publishing quagmire.

So, how can we tell which journals are predatory and which are legit? (MORE - missing details)
“Unapproved euthanasia” of rats in neuroscience study leads to retraction

High-profile paper that used AI to identify suicide risk from brain scans retracted for flawed methods

Wiley and Hindawi to retract 1,200 more papers for compromised peer review

Five years after saying it won’t retract Macchiarini paper, journal does so

A high-quality cloned journal has duped hundreds of scholars, and has no reason to stop

‘Sad but necessary’: Ant researchers pull fossil paper over errant claim
Is Science Self-Correcting? Evidence from 5 Recent Papers on the Effect of Replications on Citations

EXCERPTS: One of the defining features of science is its ability to self-correct. This means that when new evidence or better explanations emerge, scientific theories and models are modified or even discarded.

However, the question remains whether science really works this way. In this blog I review 5 recent papers that attempt to empirically answer this question. All five investigated whether there was a citation penalty from an unsuccessful replication. Although each of the papers utilized multiple approaches, I only report one or a small subset of results as representative of their analyses.

[...] All five find no evidence that psychology/economics are self-correcting. However, there are interesting things to learn in how they approached this question and that is what I want to cover in this blog... (MORE - missing details)

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UWindsor launches hotline for whistleblowers to report misconduct

Expert gives credit to university for setting up program but has concerns about protections for whistleblowers.

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Genentech review of Tessier-Lavigne paper finds no evidence of fraud — but hints at a different misconduct case

the review ... points to another previously undisclosed case of scientific misconduct by a post-doctoral researcher in Tessier-Lavigne’s lab

Research misconduct allegations put Stanford’s president — and science — under an uncomfortable spotlight
Astrobiology: The rise and fall of a nascent science

EXCERPTS (Lawrence Krauss): . . . there are books and whole journals devoted to astrobiology, and new undergraduate and graduate programs in astrobiology are cropping up at institutions around the world.

So [...] why in the Milky Way would I cast any aspersions on this emerging field of science? The problem is that it is an emerging field, and that implies three important things:

(1) the development and use of rigorous scientific standards characteristic of more mature fields has not yet been universally established; (2) unfounded claims are too often made, and they gain support in the popular press; and (3) small groups of ideologically driven researchers can have, and have had, an inordinately large impact, hindering progress and potentially pushing the field backwards.

[...] Astrobiology is, of course, still in its nascent stages, so it is not unexpected that the learning curve is still at a low point and many tentative results can subsequently be proved incorrect. Over time, that ratio should decrease as we learn more.

Unfortunately, however, the standards of the field can only improve if the scientists involved allow them to. There is now growing evidence that ideological issues may impede that progress.

[...] The first inkling of the emerging emphasis of ideology over science in astrobiology came from the support by so many members of that community for the protests against the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) on Mauna Kea in Hawaii. ... Conflict between the priorities of the scientific community and Indigenous religious myths ... escalated...

While the conflict between science and religious myth is ubiquitous, as witnessed most recently by efforts in New Zealand to teach “Indigenous Knowledge” on the same level as science in high schools, one might have expected the scientific community to support the TMT project more or less unanimously. However, a new generation of young astronomy activists [...] consider protecting the sacred nature of the mountain to be more important than the possible scientific benefits of this trailblazing project.

[...] as far as the future progress of the field, these protests paled in comparison to more recent efforts within the astrobiology community to put the brakes on the fundamental science that the field was meant to uncover.

I have written earlier about the emerging effort by young astrobiologists to “decolonize” the search for extraterrestrial life. The once-great science magazine, Scientific American, which has degenerated in recent years as social justice concerns have taken priority over science, published an article entitled “Cultural Bias Distorts the Search for Alien Life” (“‘Decolonizing’ the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) could boost its chances of success, says science historian Rebecca Charbonneau”).

Therein she made the argument that the search for extraterrestrial intelligence might be “undermined by biases they only dimly perceive—biases that could, for instance, be related to the misunderstanding and mistreatment of Indigenous peoples and other marginalized groups that occurred during the development of modern astronomy and many other scientific fields.”

[...] That she espouses such a cause suggests how deeply embedded this ideology has become in the community. Speaking at a large SETI meeting in Pennsylvania last year, she reiterated her claims that racism might underlie much of the current SETI mission.

Charbonneau was not alone. Another observer at the meeting reported that many of the “scientific talks” were about forbidding the language of “colonization” and discussing “indigenous” issues, non-binary sexuality, and transphobia. Ultimately, the meeting resolved that it was appropriate to forbid the use of the word “intelligence” in the name “Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence” as it is a “white construct.”

Numerous SETI scientists reported last year that in the face of these claims, it was becoming harder and harder to carry out SETI research. They had good reason.

Not to be outdone by last year’s nonsense, the organizers of this year’s Penn State meeting, which will take place in June, just announced a code of conduct related to unacceptable behavior. The behavior that might lead to exclusion from these conferences now is not confined to mere actions but also to promoting or even citing the work of any scientist the organizing group deems as being unworthy! (MORE - missing details)
From sex to gender: The modern dismissal of biology

EXCERPTS (Robert Lynch): . . . The assumption that sex is an arbitrary category is no longer confined to the backwaters of cultural anthropology departments, and the willful ignorance of what sex is has permeated both academia and public discussion of the topic. Male and female are not capricious categories imposed by scientists on the natural world, but rather refer to fundamental distinctions deeply rooted in evolution.

[...] The assertion that male and female are arbitrary classifications is false on every level. ... Many are now openly hostile to findings outside their narrow field, walling off their respective disciplines from biological knowledge. Why bother learning about new findings in genetics or incorporating discoveries from other fields, if you can assert that all such findings are, by definition, sexist?

[...] This change is not merely stylistic. Rather, it is part of a much larger cultural and political movement that denies or attempts to explain away the effects of biology and evolution in humans altogether. The prevailing dominant view in the social sciences is that human sex differences are entirely socially constructed...

[...] While some gender role “theories” can attempt to account for culturally universal sex differences, they cannot explain sex differences that are found in infants who haven’t yet learned to speak, as well as in the young of other related species. Many human sex differences satisfy all three conditions — they are culturally universal, are observable in newborns, and a similar pattern is seen in apes and other mammals.

[...] why then has the opposite message — that these differences are either non-existent or solely the result of social construction — been so vehemently argued? The reason, I submit, is essentially political. The idea that any consequential differences between men and women have no foundation in biology has wide appeal because it fosters the illusion of control. If gender role “theories” are correct, then all we need to do to eliminate them is to modify the social environment (e.g., give kids gender-neutral toys, and the problem is solved). If, however, sex differences are hardwired into human nature, they will be more difficult to change.

[...] Acknowledging the existence of a biological basis for sex differences does not mean that we should accept unequal opportunities for men and women. Indeed, the crux of the problem lies in conflating equality with statistical identity and in our failure to respect and value difference. These differences should not be ranked in terms of inferior or superior, nor do they have any bearing on the worth or dignity of men and women as a group. They cannot be categorized as being either good or bad because it depends on which traits you want to optimize. This is real diversity that we should acknowledge and even celebrate.

[...] The assertion that children are born without sex and are molded into gender roles by their parents is wildly implausible. It undermines what little public trust in science remains and delegitimizes other scientific claims. If we can’t be honest about something every parent knows, what else might we be lying about? Confusion about this issue leads to inane propositions, such as a pro-choice doctor testifying to Congress asserting that men can give birth.

[...] The push for a biologically sexless society is an arrogant utopian vision that cuts us off from our evolutionary history, promotes the delusion that humans are not animals, and undercuts respecting each individual for their unique individuality. Sex is neither simply a matter of socialization, nor a personal choice. Making such assertions without understanding the profound role that an initial biological asymmetry in gamete size plays in sexual selection is neither scientific nor sensible... (MORE - missing details)
Partisan science is bad for science and society

INTRO: It has become common in the last decade for top scientific journals and scientific institutions to become involved in political advocacy. Matt Burgess and Roger Pielke Jr. explain that when science becomes partisan, public trust in science decreases. Scientific institutions would improve their scholarship and public trust by rejecting reflexive partisanship... (MORE - details)
My controversial diatribe against “skeptics”

INTRO (John Horgan): The backlash was immediate after I spoke at the 2016 Northeast Conference on Science & Skepticism, which bills itself as a “celebration of science and critical thinking.” Although the conference had allotted me 10 minutes for questions, the stage manager, Jamy Ian Swiss, shooed me off the stage and took my Q&A time to rebuke me.

After I published my talk on (under the headline “Dear “Skeptics”: Bash Homeopathy and Bigfoot Less, Mammograms and War More”), I was slammed by Jerry Coyne, Steven Pinker, Michael Shermer, Lawrence Krauss, David Gorski, Steven Novella and many others. The controversy was covered by Nature and other media. People still cite my diatribe, so I decided to publish an edited, updated version here on my free journal, which has no paywall.
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‘Misleading’ and ‘false’ portrayal of racism-related experiences leads to retraction

Author denies Chinese censorship prompted COVID-19 retraction

Journal hasn’t retracted ‘Super Size Me’ paper six months after authors’ request

Former Yale prof faked data, says Federal watchdog
Trends in retractions as AI arms race on misconduct looms
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‘ChatGPT-generated reading list’ sparks AI peer review debate
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Are predatory medical publishers exploiting peer review system? Here’s a solution.
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"Something for the epidemic level of clueless dolts among us who still feel a pathological level of optimism that left-wing / postmodern ideology (AKA 'woke') isn't going to gradually modify the standards and methodology of our oppressive Western or Eurocentric brand of science." --K.H. Martinez

University ethics boards are not ready for Indigenous scholars

EXCERPT: Despite many ethics boards attempting to decolonize, for example by accepting and considering Indigenous research methodologies (A. Hayward et al. J. Empir. Res. Hum. Res. Ethics 16, 403–417; 2021), their processes and assessment criteria are still created mainly for non-Indigenous researchers. They don’t account for our years of developing trust and nurturing relationships in ways that go well beyond ordinary research partnerships; nor do they respect the extensive knowledge and cultural awareness we bring to our work with Indigenous Peoples. When we enter the campus, we carry with us our communities and established relationships of kinship, friendship and service. Ethics boards do not seem aware of the harms they can inflict on these relationships by imposing requirements that alienate us from our own People.

We need institutional research-ethics review processes designed specifically for Indigenous scholars conducting research alongside Indigenous communities. Anything else is colonialism masquerading as inclusion. Even if Indigenous scholars are included in their development, the ally-centric lens of ethics boards subjects academics like me to culturally inappropriate gatekeeping of my research... (MORE - details)
Neil deGrasse Tyson demonstrates why debating cranks is a horrible idea

INTRO: Astrophysicist and famed science communicator Neil deGrasse Tyson appeared on The Highwire, an antivax video podcast, to “debate” its host, antivax propagandist Del Bigtree. This incident demonstrates quite well why it is almost never a good idea for a scientist to agree to “debate” science deniers... (MORE - details)

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The myth of objective data

INTRO: The notion that human judgment pollutes scientific attempts to understand natural phenomena as they really are may seem like a stable and uncontroversial value. However, as Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison have established, objectivity is a fairly recent historical development.

[...] Our propensity to lose track of the diverse set of interpretive judgments packed into every instance of data collection, and accordingly to diminish the socially situated conditions in which data is created, extends even where data collection appears tightly controlled.

Indeed, the interpretive flexibility that pervades data collection has been especially well described in the sciences. Scholars have meticulously documented the sociotechnical processes by which the context of observation is variously assumed, accounted for, forgotten, and reconstructed in the collection, aggregation, and use of scientific data.

To summarize what such studies show, here’s a brief scenario... (MORE - details)
Retracted: the study that generated "video games don't rot the brains of kids" headlines

Earthquake destroyed data, claims Japanese prof found to have faked results

A professor found her name on an article she didn’t write. Then it got worse

Flawed, futile, and fabricated—features that limit confidence in clinical research in pain and anaesthesia: a narrative review