Friday links: a proposal for an open ecology blog, and more

Also this week: info on NSF’s new no-deadline system, Notre Dame economics department vs. Notre Dame economics department, and more.

From Jeremy:

Terry McGlynn has an interesting idea: a open ecology community blog (i.e. aimed at other ecologists rather than some other audience), to which anyone could submit posts. It’d be curated by a group of editors. The thought is that many people have ideas for one or two blog posts they’d like to write, but few want to put in the sustained effort needed to blog by themselves. Terry is soliciting for volunteers who’d like to contribute.

In light of the waves of women publicly sharing their experiences of being sexually harassed and assaulted by powerful men in various industries, I was wondering if/when women would publicly share their experiences of sexual harassment and assault by a prof. Now they have. (ht @jtlevy) UPDATE: In retrospect, it was wrong of me to phrase those last two sentences as I did, overlooking brave women who’ve come forward publicly in a number of other recent cases involving profs. My apologies. Thank you to a commenter for highlighting some other recent cases.

It’s my impression that the replication crisis in social psychology is mostly due to well-intentioned researchers doing low-powered studies of small/non-existent effects, and inadvertently confounding exploratory and hypothesis-testing analyses. Formerly-prominent social psychologist Diederik Stapel was an exception; he faked the data in a bunch of papers. Now another social psychologist has been accused of faking data. Or rather, will be accused–the link goes to a news piece that summarizes and publicizes accusations that the accusers plan to publish on their blog. The accusers are going public because they were left unsatisfied by private correspondence with the accused. The accusers’ first blog post is here. For better or worse (and I think it’s some of both), their approach is a sign of the times. Note that I have only skimmed the accusations and don’t know enough to evaluate them myself, except to say that they don’t appear to be obviously frivolous or malicious as best I can tell. They seem to be a mix of accusations of misconduct and more garden-variety questions about the details of the methods and results. I would not leap to the conclusion that the accusations of misconduct are true solely on the grounds that any public accusation of misconduct surely is true. As described in my “sign of the times” link, not all public accusations of scientific misconduct are true.)

Top economist Angus Deaton and top philosopher of science Nancy Cartwright on the power and limitations of randomized controlled experiments in economics. Many of the issues discussed (e.g. “external validity”) generalize to other fields, including ecology. I’ve only read the abstract, but based on the authors’ past work it should be worth a look.

Wait, back in the oughts Notre Dame had two economics departments, devoted to different economic paradigms?! I was going to make a joke about this, but I couldn’t think of a good one. So make up your own joke about Batman vs. Superman, Face/Off, or evil twins. 🙂 Only vaguely related: Brian on the differences between natural resource and biology departments.

From Meghan:

This blog post from the US National Science Foundation’s IOS Division has useful information on the new no deadline system. Presumably these answers also apply for DEB.

5 thoughts on “Friday links: a proposal for an open ecology blog, and more

  1. Jeremy- I’ve read it a dozen times now, and I just don’t understand the second paragraph of your post. SO MANY brave and strong women have been sharing their stories and naming profs that have sexually harassed or assaulted them. Here’s just a small sample of stories from the past year or so from one news source:

    Three Dartmouth Professors:

    University of Washington:

    UC Berkeley:

    San Jose State:

    Ohio University:

      • Thank you for adding that in the post. Thank you also for using this blog with such a large audience to amplify the voices in the link that you posted to draw even more attention to this issue in our own discipline.

  2. A prospective student walks into Notre Dame and asks one of the professors: “Do you have a degree programme in economics here?”. “Yes we do” replied the professor “In fact we have two, in two different departments”. “You have two economics departments?” the prospective student exclaims, “What’s the difference between them?” “Well” says the professor “It’s a matter of how we choose to describe the normal distribution. One department calls it bell shaped, the other refers to it as a hunch-backed relationship”….

    That’s as good as I could come up with this morning 🙂

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