Also this week: the pros and cons of pandemic impact statements, Trashcan Sinatras, and more.
Famed Duke University psychologist Dan Ariely is under fire, after the data underpinning a high profile paper of his were revealed to be fake. He also had a paper subjected to an Expression of Concern recently for numerous unexplained statistical anomalies. Now it’s been revealed that he left his previous position at MIT at least in part because of serious tensions over the conduct of his research. MIT suspended him from conducting research for a year, for conducting an experiment without IRB approval. The experiment involved giving people electric shocks.
Here’s Science’s news article on the Ariely case. Contains new quotes from the principals, but not much new information. Ariely is quoted as saying (in so many words) that nobody should think he faked the data, because why would he create an obviously fake dataset and then share it with the world? To which, Ariely may want to familiarize himself with the numerous recent cases in EEB and other fields in which obviously fake data were shared with the world. That is a thing that happens, dumb or bizarre as it might seem. Pointing out that it would be dumb/bizarre to do X does not actually give others much of a reason to doubt that you did X. Particularly when, as in this case, it would’ve been dumb/bizarre for anyone to do X. But yet someone did!
Now seems like a good time to re-up my old post reviewing the data on scientific misconduct. Don’t go overgeneralizing from the Ariely case. It’s attracting so much attention precisely because it’s atypical (even for a misconduct case).
100 things a scientist should know. What a brilliant idea for a blog post. I don’t know all of these, and I disagree with some of the inclusions and omissions, which shows it’s a good post.
Good question. I can imagine various reasonable answers. I’m in favor of granting agencies, and other organizations that evaluate scientists, inviting scientists to describe circumstances that hindered their scientific work. The reasons for offering that opportunity still apply in the context of the pandemic. But on the other hand, during the pandemic many granting agencies and employers quite sensibly gave out automatic, no-questions-asked accommodations to all scientists (e.g., automatic extensions to grants and tenure clocks). Perhaps we should continue to do the same going forward? Just assume that the pandemic severely disrupted everyone’s research, without making everyone explain exactly how and to what extent it did so? What do you think?
dAlice/dt in Wonderland. This is excellent. 🙂
And finally, speaking of things that are excellent:
Have a good weekend. 🙂