Also this week: wildlife biology career advice, wildlife biology cautionary tale, why saving the planet doesn’t mean stopping economic growth, noted wilful p-hacker retires, and more.
Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf…researcher? NY Times deep dive centered on Rob Wielgus, until recently a tenured wildlife ecologist at Washington State. Worth your time. Let’s just say I’m glad/fortunate/spoiled/self-indulgent that I work on species and questions with no political salience. (ht @dsquareddigest) UPDATE: and the see the comments for links to some of the papers referred to in the story. Note that I haven’t read any of the papers myself and have no view as to the scientific truth here.
In case you aren’t too discouraged by that last link (which does concern an extreme situation), here’s Stephanie Schuttler’s advice for anyone thinking of a career in wildlife biology. (ht @CommNatural)
Why saving the planet doesn’t mean stopping economic growth. Twitter thread version here.
Nutrition researcher Brian Wansink has resigned from Cornell, effective at the end of the academic year at which point he will retire. Until then has been removed from all teaching and research so that he can focus on cooperating with Cornell in its ongoing review of his previous work. He has had to retract 13 papers and correct 15 others. Last year, publication of emails between him and his trainees revealed him systematically telling trainees to p-hack and engage in other inappropriate research practices in order to drum up media interest in the lab’s work. His retirement comes in response to a Cornell investigation which found him guilty of “academic misconduct”, including “misreporting of research data, problematic statistical techniques, failure to properly document and preserve research results, and inappropriate authorship.” I wonder (and this is total speculation on my part that might well be completely wrong) if behind the scenes he and the university reached an explicit or tacit mutual agreement to let him resign/retire, rather than Cornell having to fight to fire him. Serious cases of academic misconduct don’t always end with such a clear public outcome or with appropriate consequences for the guilty party. Hopefully such outcomes will become more common in future. Further coverage from Retraction Watch.
The Comedy Wildlife Photography award finalists have been announced. The rhino standing in front of the peacock is a once in a lifetime shot. And who knew black skimmers could be so…disturbing? (ht Matt Levine)
This has nothing to do with science, but as a former bad cross country runner I just have to say I’m stunned by Eliud Kipchoge’s new marathon world record. He ran over 26 miles at a pace that, in the best shape of my life, I could’ve maybe matched for 400 m. People are frickin’ amazing.