Also this week: an expulsion from the US National Academy of Sciences, how differential retention contributes to racial/ethnic disparities in US academia, pandemic vs. new PIs, TMBG double feature, and more.
A prominent French microbiologist whose papers have been scrutinized by image sleuth Elizabeth Bik has filed a criminal complaint against Bik. That link is from Nature; here’s Science’s coverage. I haven’t followed Elizabeth Bik’s work, but I know her paper of a few years ago looking systematically for image manipulation and duplication in a bunch of papers in a bunch of journals. That was excellent work. So just based on that, and on my background knowledge of similar past cases, my prior is that this is a case of a researcher trying to silence legitimate scientific criticism.
The US National Academy of Sciences has expelled astronomer Geoff Marcy for sexual harassment. (That’s Nature’s coverage; here’s Science.) To my surprise, there’s no word on another sexual harassment case the Academy began investigating at the same time, that of evolutionary biologist Francisco Ayala.
Psychologist Todd Kashdan critiques five of his own papers. I found this an interesting exercise. I should do the same, it would make for a good blog post.
Phil Trans Roy Soc has a special issue on how infectious disease modeling work shaped the British government’s policy response to Covid-19 in the early days of the pandemic.
I just discovered Matt Clancy’s blog, which has accessible and interesting summaries/discussions of the literature on science funding and innovation policy. I feel like this is the literature scientists need to draw on to make the case for government funding of their research. Here’s Matt Clancy on how more science leads to more innovation. Here he is on how free dissemination of knowledge leads to innovation.
How to talk to journalists, and what it’s like to do so. This is very entertaining, and also very good.
New preprint from Allison Shaw et al. on how differential retention contributes to racial/ethnic disparities in US academia. Builds on previous outstanding work by some of the same authors on gender disparities in US academia.
I don’t know anything about this forthcoming book besides what’s in the blurb, but it sounds like my kind of thing.
Liam Bright on why scientists lie. I think I disagree with Liam Bright on this one. I don’t think the linked piece pays enough attention to the fact that scientists who don’t lie are subject to the same incentives as scientists who do lie. Scientists who lie are a product of an interaction between systemic incentives facing all scientists, and factors unique to specific individual scientists. You can’t just look at the “main effect” of systemic incentives and expect to get much insight into how to optimize the frequency with which scientists lie. (Note that I said “optimize”, not “minimize”. The optimal frequency of scientific fraud is not zero.) For data on the prevalence and predictors of scientific misconduct, see here. But I dunno, I’m sure Liam Bright is well aware of everything I just said, so perhaps I’m misunderstanding his point (in which case, my bad).
Tim B. Lee on how social media killed blogging–and how the combination of social media + other platforms is reviving (some aspects of) blogging. Familiar to me, and probably to many of you. But if you’re curious what the intertubes were like before Facebook and Twitter, and why there’s still a niche market for something like that version of the intertubes, click through.
And finally, I had a good week and so this fits my mood. I hope it fits yours too:
Have a good weekend. 🙂
Bonus! Here’s They Might Be Giants playing “Birdhouse In Your Soul” back in 1990 on The Tonight Show, with Doc Severinsen and his orchestra. This is just as great as the last video, in a way that’s totally different and yet also exactly the same. Check out Doc’s trumpet solo, and the big horn entrance at 2:14!
Ok, now you can have a good weekend. 🙂