Bailey: The possibility that fraud may well be responsible for a significant proportion of the false positives reported in the scientific literature is suggested by a couple of new Dutch studies. Both studies are preprints that report the results of surveys of thousands of scientists in the Netherlands aiming to probe the prevalence of questionable research practices and scientific misconduct.
This matters to us because it bears on the fate of science in general, as China becomes a global superpower. Nature Editorial: “Such trends are likely to continue if geopolitical tensions with the United States worsen. That would be regrettable.” No, it wouldn’t be “regrettable.” Not so long as China cannot be trusted.
When it behaves like Hollywood, it deserves to.
The Googlebot soon found the papers and [fictional] Antkare was credited with 101 papers that had been cited by 101 papers, which propelled him to 21st on Google’s list of the most cited scientists of all time, behind Freud but well ahead of Einstein, and first among computer scientists.
The most likely reason one can think of for the persistence of computer-generated gibberish in the science database is that many other papers sound like that — but are in fact authentic human creations — so no one really wants to go there.
Of course. The papers that are unlikely to be replicated are mostly going to be stuff that people want and need to believe that isn’t necessarily so. Or not demonstrated via the sources that gave rise to the paper, anyway. To begin any kind of serious analysis, we would need to classify the papers by general theme and general drift. That might give us a picture of what type of finding is too readily believed. But is it a picture anyone wants? Who, that has any say in the process, can really afford it?
What’s going to be interesting to see is whether Science, as a concept, takes a beating after the COVID crazy — in the sense that “Trust the Science!” descends from mantra to double entendre to joke.
And of course it had to be XKCD. Here’s that page (don’t miss the rest)!
Focusing on media. Wow. They should try that in biology too. No Darwinism. Just facts.
At The Scientist: With the potential moves against Marcy and Ayala, “We are watching social change happening in front of our eyes,” says Nancy Hopkins, an NAS member and emeritus biologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “It has been a long time coming.” …
Chaitin: I have a pessimistic vision which I hope is completely wrong, that the bureaucracies are like a cancer — the ones that control research and funding for research and counting how much you’ve been publishing. I’ve noticed that at universities, for example, the administrative personnel are gradually taking all the best buildings and expanding. So I think that the bureaucracy and the rules and regulations increases to the point that it sinks the society.
Chaitin, best known for Chaitin’s unknowable number: “Some mathematics, I think, is definitely invented, not discovered. That tends to be trivial mathematics … But other mathematics does seem to be discovered. That’s when you find some really deep, fundamental mathematical idea, and there it really looks inevitable. “
From an interview with John Staddon we learn that constructive criticism is more useful than cheerleading when one’s game needs work. One outcome of the problems Staddon describes is that “trust the science” is becoming something of a joke in a broad variety of areas and that is not good news.
Rob Sheldon: There was nothing either unethical or inaccurate in the paper. The conclusions were wrong. This is true of over 50% of papers in the literature. Further papers show why the conclusions were wrong. No one retracts a paper because the data was interpreted improperly. For example, Newton’s conclusion that the universe was unstable. Einstein’s conclusion that a cosmological constant could stabilize it.
Remember this shameful episode when faced with bureaucrats huffing “Trust the science!” It appears that the science doesn’t trust the science. And if not, why should anyone else?