Mindless publishing garnished with social science apologies

Life is hard, science is harder, social science is impossible? Neurocopiae has to digest a bottomless dump of “fun” results.

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Last time, I wrote a post about how difficult it is to do good research on nutrition and health (Cereal killer: Is eating breakfast the new smoking?). A couple of weeks later, as the pizzagate unfolds, we painfully learn more about these intricacies slice by slice. At the center of attention is Brian Wansink, who “is Professor and Director of the famed Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, where he is a leading expert in changing eating behavior“. If you have missed the start of the controversy and feel like you need to catch up on the full narrative, I have linked a good summary by Andrew Gelman. Briefly, Wansink wrote a post on his blog. He provided the career advice to never say no to your supervisor’s proposals because this is how you will get tenure by publishing numerous papers. Even if you have a dataset at hand that does not yield the expected result, you can torture it for a while until it finally surrenders and provides one or more significant results. Now, all it takes is little more deep diving into the data and a little pinch of wild story-telling and there you go: you have successfully inflated your list of publications. Treated in this do-or-die way, every study turns into science equivalent of the bottomless soup bowl that Wansink became famous for. Continue reading “Mindless publishing garnished with social science apologies”

Super predators moving at the speed of peer review

There are many good reasons to start a science blog and neurocopiae has collected a few. Science is what you make of it.

Since this blog is going to be all about the scientific search for the truth, I have to come clean first: I have been pressured lately to share my thoughts with you. Many interesting new journals and conferences have reached out to me “because of my eminence in the field” in the past weeks. I have been flattered by the many read requests to emails that permuted my name in order to grab my attention somehow. To be honest, I was quite surprised to reap the benefits of my scientific outreach. Who would have thought that I could join Atomic Physics 2016 as an honorable guest, Neurosurgery 2017 as a speaker, or the International Journal of Medical & Clinical Imaging as an editor? Continue reading “Super predators moving at the speed of peer review”