Also this week: Abraham Lincoln vs. confidence intervals, a double-blind review experiment, myths about applying for faculty positions, and more.
An interesting randomized experiment on double-blind review at an orthopedics journal. Reviewers were significantly (and substantially) less likely to recommend acceptance of a fake paper purportedly written by two prominent orthopedists when blinded to the authors’ identities. Even though blinding had no effect on the probability that reviewers would spot the technical mistakes intentionally included in the paper. I’m curious whether the result would generalize to other fields and contexts. In particular, the ms was on a “generic” topic so the blinding was unlikely to be seen through. And I’m curious what would happen if the “authors” weren’t prominent, since there’s a bit of evidence from other experiments that reviewers who are blinded to authors’ identities are more negative. Perhaps what we’re seeing here isn’t (entirely?) an effect of prestigious authors getting undue praise, but anonymized authors getting undue criticism. (ht Meg)
Andrew Gelman uses a nice analogy involving Abraham Lincoln to explain what’s wrong with a common mistaken way of describing confidence intervals. I may use this analogy next time I teach intro biostats. (Aside: in the comments over there, Andrew puzzles me with further remarks that seem to me to both contradict the original post and be based on a dubious argument. But I’m probably just misunderstanding the thrust of his remarks.)
Writing in Nature, Charles Godfray reviews Ilkka Hanski’s memoir. (updated by Meg to fix a spelling mistake!)
Climate scientist Kim Cobb dispels 5 common misconceptions about applying for tenure-track jobs at research universities.