Also this week:
party debate “objectivity” in science like it’s 1999, the latest on Jonathan Pruitt, funding open access publication, and more.
Jonathan Pruitt’s lawyers have written to journals in which he published, insisting that they shouldn’t retract any more of Pruitt’s papers until McMaster University finishes its investigation of Pruitt for misconduct. Apparently, the letters also tell the recipients…not to discuss the existence or content of the letters. Pruitt also says he can’t provide datasets that aren’t already publicly available to journals wishing to investigate his papers, because…the journals are communicating with each other. As Ecology Letters EiC Tim Coulson notes, this reason for not providing the data does not exactly inspire confidence. Pruitt continues to deny misconduct.
Andrew Gelman on junk science then and now. Argues that, in the mid-20th century, the important junk science mostly came from the fringe (shamelessly self-promotional aside: see my reviews of The Pseudoscience Wars and How the Hippies Saved Physics for more on mid-20th century fringe science). Now it comes from prominent, mainstream scientists and leading journals, for reasons Gelman discusses. Very interesting argument.
Here’s Richard Rorty’s 1999 review of Ian Hacking’s The Social Construction of What? If you want to read something intelligent about “objectivity” in science, that’s not inspired by the latest silly Sokal-type hoax or the latest trollish Richard Dawkins tweet, you should go read it. And you should read Hacking’s book too; I read it back when it first came out, it’s very good. (ht @jtlevy)
100 long-term social and economic trends, in graphs. This is fascinating. (ht Andrew Gelman)
Interesting news article in Science on new funding models for open access publishing.
I’m a couple of days late to this, but Rich Lenski has decided to shut his lab and temporarily halt his famed Long-Term Evolution Experiment due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Experienced online instructor Paige Harden with some tips for any college or university instructor who’s suddenly been obliged to teach their course(s) online for the remainder of the term due to the COVID-19 outbreak. I have to say, her first tweet in that series is surely both correct, and daunting. I appreciate her suggestions, and her encouragement to embrace and enjoy the challenge of teaching online, I really do. Positive encouragement is very welcome right now! But speaking for myself, and I bet for a lot of other people who’ve never taught online-only, the idea of quickly doing the large amount of new prep required to suddenly convert the last 5 weeks worth of my big class to a decent video-based online version does not seem like a good time investment for me. It doesn’t even seem likely to reveal to me whether I might want to go towards more video-based online teaching in future. So I hope everyone will be understanding of instructors who feel daunted at the prospect of having to suddenly teach in a totally new way, and who decide not to go all-in on videos or whatever. Please don’t judge any prof who decides that, all things considered, the best way for them and their students to deal with the cancellation of on-campus classes is different than your way. You don’t know everything there is to know about any other instructor’s circumstances, so you’re in no position to judge them. This is a time when it’s especially important that we all be supportive and understanding of each other. Anyway, here are a few other suggestions and anecdata from Jeremy Pressman. In the comments, please do share your own advice and experiences, and links to resources you found useful for suddenly switching in-person classes to online-only.
And finally, the humorous version of the previous links, because we could all use a laugh right now: