DailyDirt: Mistakes In Science Publishing

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

It's amazing some of the stuff that gets published in peer-reviewed scientific journals these days. For example, recently there was a paper published in a peer-reviewed journal in which the images appeared to be photoshopped. The photoshopping was so badly done that it was obvious upon looking at the images that they were doctored. The paper was withdrawn after this was discovered, but why didn't the journal editors catch this before it was published? Here are some other examples of questionable things that have made their way into journals. If you'd like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.


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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2013 @ 5:49pm

    Yes, blatant BS in scientific papers is very disturbing, and needs to be addressed, however I am a bit skeptical of the motivations behind and possible encouragement of these bad submittals. Mistakes happen, but these seem a bit over the top.

    I'm sure stories like this will be used as "evidence" in many misguided attempts to discredit scientific research spanning decades which has endured multitudes of reviews over the years.

    It is simple to point at one example and pretend it represents all ... hoping your viewers are gullible or at least subject to confirmation bias.

    These submittals found to contain blatant errors or fabrications represent what percentage of all submittals? This would be an interesting tidbit to add in the story. Also of interest is the origin of these horrible papers, is there any commonality amongst them? Could it be that in the hurry for patent rights upon BS claims, there might be some BS data? Nah, that would never happen.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2013 @ 6:02pm

    Re: check the 3rd bullet point link

    http://www.nature.com/news/2011/111005/full/478026a/box/2.html

    These submittals found to contain blatant errors or fabrications represent what percentage of all submittals?

    so in 2011, it was a few hundred papers retracted per years, with tens of thousands of papers submitted weekly... that's a pretty small fraction.

     

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  3.  
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    Pixelation, Aug 27th, 2013 @ 6:29pm

    Meh.

    "Emma, please insert NMR data here! where are they? and for this compound, just make up an elemental analysis..."

    It's all made up in the end anyway.

    I don't come across as jaded, do I?

     

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  4.  
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    Nick (profile), Aug 27th, 2013 @ 6:50pm

    Huh, you remember those websites in popularity a while back that would run a bot against you in a chat program, and it was supposed to pretend it was good enough to hold up a conversation? (Do you like ice cream? *SUBJECT ICE CREAM. QUERY PERSONAL LIKE. REPLY AFFIRM/NEG RANDOM YES/NO* Why yes, I do like ICE CREAM).

    That second peer article sounds like someone's attempt to make an AI that would pump out a series of loosely connected sentences that talk without really talking, and see if they can get it past overwhelmed peer-review journalist interns. He did, and is now trying to keep up the ruse as long as he can before he has to break down, laugh, and admit it was just another Sokal affair.

     

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  5.  
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    Bergman (profile), Aug 27th, 2013 @ 9:06pm

    Actually...

    That second one scans like poetry, rather than study results.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2013 @ 10:08pm

    Human condition

    No matter what people do, be it write blogs, work for NSA, work for the Government, or the police, or Techdirt, or the military, or in scientific research.

    People will cheat, lie, steal, break the law, break the rules, make things up, CENSOR, commit crimes and do other sundry nasty things

    It's what people do !!!

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2013 @ 10:37pm

    re: That second one scans like poetry, rather than study results

    At a glance, I agree. I've no interest in spending more time on the article in question, but for what it's worth, most number-crunching scientists are not qualified to assess the merits of an article in Qualitative Inquiry.

    It's an academic variation on "you're a bad person for liking things I don't like."

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2013 @ 4:42am

    Re: re: That second one scans like poetry, rather than study results

    What is a "number-crunching scientist"?

    As opposed to a number illiterate scientist?

    wtf

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2013 @ 5:47am

    Re: Re: re: That second one scans like poetry, rather than study results

    Unlike you, I don't assume that all scientists are hung up on trying to be physicists or on playing statistical games. Nor do I assume that no researcher who uses qualitative methods can ever be considered a scientist.

    tf

     

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  10.  
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    RonKaminsky (profile), Aug 28th, 2013 @ 12:23pm

    Re: Human condition

    Nah, people like that are out...liars.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 28th, 2013 @ 6:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: re: That second one scans like poetry, rather than study results

    "Unlike you, I don't assume"

    But there you did.



    "trying to be physicists or on playing statistical games"

    They are not physicists? Why?
    Do you understand how math is used to model the physical world?

    Not all statistics are used for BS, are you familiar with Nate Silver?

    I did not say anything about qualitative methods, I asked about your flippant dismissal of math.

    You seem rather defensive, I guess there is a reason for that, but I really do not care.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous, Aug 29th, 2013 @ 3:49pm

    And we're supposed to trust science and scientists?

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous, Aug 29th, 2013 @ 3:53pm

    Re:

    Faith? Nah, forget that old-time religion stuff, man. Science is where it's at. Science will never steer you wrong...right?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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