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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Politics Moves Fast. Peer Review Moves Slow. What’s A Political Scientist To Do? – FiveThirtyEight (Maggie Koerth-Baker | December 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on January 23, 2018
 

Politics has a funny way of turning arcane academic debates into something much messier. We’re living in a time when so much in the news cycle feels absurdly urgent and partisan forces are likely to pounce on any piece of empirical data they can find, either to champion it or tear it apart, depending on whether they like the result. That has major implications for many of the ways knowledge enters the public sphere — including how academics publicize their research.

A conundrum for political scientists. An excellent discussion piece that shows in politics the impact of dodgy research can have on community opinion.

That process has long been dominated by peer review, which is when academic journals put their submissions in front of a panel of researchers to vet the work before publication. But the flaws and limitations of peer review have become more apparent over the past decade or so, and researchers are increasingly publishing their work before other scientists have had a chance to critique it. That’s a shift that matters a lot to scientists, and the public stakes of the debate go way up when the research subject is the 2016 election. There’s a risk, scientists told me, that preliminary research results could end up shaping the very things that research is trying to understand.
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Take, for instance, two studies that hit the press in late September. One was a survey of nonvoters in Wisconsin that seemed to show that the election could have swung President Trump’s way because of voter ID laws that kept people from the polls. The other was an analysis of junk news shared on Twitter that offered evidence of misinformation being targeted at people living in swing states in a way that implied a strategic effort. Neither had gone through peer review before receiving largely uncritical write-ups in major publications like The New York Times and The Washington Post. Both contained the sort of everyday flaws that the peer review process is designed to catch — flaws that undermined the reliability of the results.
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Read the rest of this discussion piece

Few authors choose anonymous peer review, massive study of Nature journals shows – Science (Martin Enserink | September 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on January 21, 2018
 

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS—Once you’ve submitted your paper to a journal, how important is it that the reviewers know who wrote it?

The reported research points to academics having a counter-intuitive attitude to blinding in peer review. An interesting question for subversive data nerds is whether the respondents to the survey belong to the demographic who benefit from the bias.

Surveys have suggested that many researchers would prefer anonymity because they think it would result in a more impartial assessment of their manuscript. But a new study by the Nature Publishing Group (NPG) in London shows that only one in eight authors actually chose to have their reviewers blinded when given the option. The study, presented here at the Eighth International Congress on Peer Review, also found that papers submitted for double-blind review are far less likely to be accepted.
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Most papers are reviewed in single-blind fashion—that is, the reviewers know who the authors are, but not vice versa. In theory, that knowledge allows them to exercise a conscious or unconscious bias against researchers from certain countries, ethnic minorities, or women, and be kinder to people who are already well-known in their field. Double-blind reviews, the argument goes, would remove those prejudices. A 2007 study of Behavioral Ecology found that the journal published more articles by female authors when using double-blind reviews—although that conclusion was challenged by other researchers a year later. In a survey of more than 4000 researchers published in 2013, three-quarters said they thought double-blind review is “the most effective method.”
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Steps towards transparency in research publishing – Nature (September 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on January 19, 2018
 

As research and editorial processes become increasingly open, scientists and editors need to be proactive but also alert to risks.

This Nature piece reflects upon components of and challenges/risks in open science.

Progress in the transparency of both research and editorial processes is gathering pace. This was demonstrated at the International Congress on Peer Review and Scientific Publication in Chicago, Illinois, earlier this month, and in various discussions that are under way among publishers, researchers and others.
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The examples given here relate to initiatives by the Nature Research journals, some of which follow pioneering work by other publishers.
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Fallibility in science: Responsible ways to handle mistakes (Papers: Dorothy Bishop | November 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on January 8, 2018
 

Slides from a talk by Dorothy Bishop, Professor at University of Oxford at the Department of Psychology, University of Amsterdam, November 2017

Access the slides

Prof. Bishop’s slides provide excellent examples for use in workshops on research integrity, the responsibilities of researchers and how to approach difficult/thorny situations relating to mistakes in published research outputs.

 

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