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We’re All ‘P-Hacking’ Now – Wired (Christie Aschwanden | November 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on December 7, 2019
 

An insiders’ term for scientific malpractice has worked its way into pop culture. Is that a good thing?

It’s got an entry in the Urban Dictionary, been discussed on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, scored a wink from Cards Against Humanity, and now it’s been featured in a clue on the TV game show Jeopardy. Metascience nerds rejoice! The term p-hacking has gone mainstream.

Results from a study can be analyzed in a variety of ways, and p-hacking refers to a practice where researchers select the analysis that yields a pleasing result. The p refers to the p-value, a ridiculously complicated statistical entity that’s essentially a measure of how surprising the results of a study would be if the effect you’re looking for wasn’t there.

Suppose you’re testing a pill for high blood pressure, and you find that blood pressures did indeed drop among people who took the medicine. The p-value is the probability that you’d find blood pressure reductions at least as big as the ones you measured, even if the drug was a dud and didn’t work. A p-value of 0.05 means there’s only a 5 percent chance of that scenario. By convention, a p-value of less than 0.05 gives the researcher license to say that the drug produced “statistically significant” reductions in blood pressure.

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Chinese ministry investigates duplications in papers by university president – Nature (Andrew Silver | November 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on December 6, 2019
 

Four journals also say they are scrutinizing papers coauthored by Cao Xuetao after scientists raise questions about images on Twitter and PubPeer.

The Chinese education ministry is investigating scientific articles authored by high-profile immunologist and university president Cao Xuetao, following suggestions that dozens of papers contain potentially problematic images. Four journals also say they are examining papers from Cao.

The scrutiny comes after US microbiologist Elisabeth Bik raised concerns two weeks ago on Twitter and the post-publication peer-discussion site PubPeer about images in papers written by Cao and his group.

Cao is the president of Nankai University in Tianjin, and his team has pioneered the development of cancer immunotherapies in China. He says that his group is investigating the papers in question, and he is confident that the issues raised do not affect the papers’ conclusions. Cao has been a prominent voice for strengthening research integrity in China, and gave a speech on the topic at the prestigious Great Hall of the People in Beijing earlier this month.

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Disgraced tracheal transplant surgeon is handed 16 month prison sentence in Italy (Papers: Michael Day | November 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on December 5, 2019
 

Disgraced surgeon Paolo Macchiarini, who faked research relating to dangerous and largely discredited tracheal transplants, has been handed a 16 month prison sentence in Italy for forging documents and abuse of office.

Macchiarini made headlines around the world after claiming a major breakthrough for patients with failing windpipes, by “seeding” an artificial scaffold with a patient’s own stem cells, to generate a functioning trachea.

But excitement at the prospect of a genuine medical advance turned to scandal when it emerged that Macchiarini had falsified results and misled hospital authorities regarding the health of those receiving the experimental procedures. The revelation prompted his research centre, the Karolinska Institute, to eventually disown his …

Day, M. (2019) Disgraced tracheal transplant surgeon is handed 16 month prison sentence in Italy. BMJ. 367:l6676. doi: 10.1136/bmj.l6676. No abstract available. PMID: 31767600
Publisher: https://www.bmj.com/content/367/bmj.l6676

Quintet of study retractions rocks criminology community – Science (Dalmeet Singh Chawla | November 2019)0

Posted by Admin in on December 2, 2019
 

Criminology researchers are retracting five studies that have sparked a bitter battle over potential scientific misconduct and issues of race. The episode has riveted the criminology community—and severed a once close relationship after one of the researchers accused his former mentor of falsifying data.

On 10 November, Justin Pickett, a criminologist at the State University of New York in Albany, announced on Twitter that he and his co-authors have agreed to retract a 2011 study published in Criminology that examined public support for taking a suspect’s ethnicity into account at sentencing. Four additional disputed papers, published between 2015 and this year in the journals Criminology, Social Problems, and Law & Society Review, have been or are in the process of being be retracted with the agreement of all the authors, ScienceInsider has learned. Eric Stewart, Pickett’s former mentor and a criminologist at Florida State University (FSU) in Tallahassee, is a co-author of all five studies.

The studies being retracted cover a range of topics. Two found that the number of black people lynched in a U.S. county 100 years ago influences whether white people in the same area today perceive black people as a threat and favor harsh punishments for them. Another examined the role of social context in antiblack and anti-Latino sentiment in the U.S. criminal justice system.

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