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)
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
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
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.
… but Microsoft and Apple did both got their start by copying.
Many westerners have scolded me when I’ve told stories of the obscene amounts of music, movies and software I have pirated. What they fail to understand is that I used this mode of distribution for the lack of any realistic access to an alternative.
– Bozhan Chipev, “Piracy was my shot at equality“
“Gold Open Access” – where authors pay to have their papers published, and made freely available on line – is one response to the well documented predatory practices of commercial journal publishers (for discussion of the latter problem, mostly as regards economics journals, see Ted Bergstrom’s website.)
On-line publishing, though, has low entry costs – especially if you don’t do any real peer review, editing, or archiving – and the combination of on-line publishing and gold open access has produced new “publishers”, often with unfeasibly large suites of new journals that look very much alike, and torrents of spam-ish “calls for papers” in academic email inboxes. Jeffrey Beall, a librarian at the University of Colorado, Denver, publishes a list of “Potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access publishers” Continue reading
Glynn Moody has the story. Let it not be said that intellectual property rights are not respected in China – they seem to be playing the game just as written!
US phone companies may now make it a crime to unlock the hardware you bought.