HARKing to meet editorial standards?

Sometimes when you mark papers about papers, you have to read the latter, continued: now reading a fine paper by Du, Leten & VanHaverbeke, “Managing open innovation projects with science-based and market-based partners”, in the journal Research Policy. Like most papers in this esteemed journal, the present one includes a clear statement of hypotheses. These hypotheses are then subjected to empirical tests. Continue reading


Cognitive hijackings

Installments in, Why is the world so hard to understand?

Ioannidis: Evidence-based medicine has been hijacked (via Retraction Watch)

Massey: Neo-liberalism has hijacked our vocabulary (Guardian)

Spurious significance, junk science

Andrew Gelman links to this nice paper by Nosek, Spies and Motel, about an exciting “result” in psychological research: instead of rushing to publish, they scrupulously rushed to replicate, and the result disappeared. The fairy tale ending is that they got a nice publication from using this experience to tell us what we already know – that “significant” results obtained from small, ad hoc experimental samples are pretty much worthless. Continue reading

Copying trade secrets and catching up

From Ed Crooks in The Financial Times (register to get past paywall)

US charges Sinovel with trade secret theft

The US government has charged Sinovel, one of the largest Chinese wind turbine manufacturers, with stealing trade secrets from one of its US suppliers, alleging the offence amounted to “attempted corporate homicide”.

If we skip over the fact that this brings the personification of the corporation to a new and, well, corporeal level (I’ll leave that matter to Yves Smith), here’s your Rorschach: is Sinovel the hero and AMSC the villain, or vice versa? Continue reading

“A Vast Graveyard of Undead Theories: Publication Bias and Psychological Science’s Aversion to the Null”

You have to love that title, which comes from a paper by Christopher Ferguson and Moritz Heene, which the excellent Andrew Gelman parses, and passes on to the rest of us. Any field that uses statistics is susceptible to publication bias (i.e., not publishing statistical analyses that find “no effect”). It is notorious in pharmaceutical research, where money talks shouts. I am guessing that the reason psychology gets a particularly bad reputation for publication bias, compared with other social sciences, is that it deals with a lot of small experimental data sets – so you really do have a situation where nearly identical experiments can be run twenty times by different researchers, and the one that gets a significant effect gets published. Statistical work in economics and political science tends to keep re-using a small number of mostly public data sets, so the problems are different.