The Netherlands Research Integrity Network (NRIN) aims to facilitate collaboration, exchange and mutual learning among all actors in the field of Research Integrity (RI) and everybody who is interested in the topic. Read more about NRIN’s goals (more…).
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In 2015 a group of scientists from the Tilburg University and the University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands) conducted a study on reporting errors in a sample of over 250,000 p-values reported in eight major psychology journals. For their research the group used a new program called “Statcheck”, an R package which automatically extracts statistical results and recomputes p-values.
Statcheck soon proved to be a valuable asset; in a rather short period of time the researchers managed to demonstrate the inconsistencies in a large amount of literature (half of the 30.000 papers checked contained statistical errors). Although Statcheck tended to overestimate the prevalence of inconsistencies and could not replace the final verdict and careful consideration of an expert, the program was immediately accepted by the scientific community as a promising tool to detect statistical errors.
Two years later Statcheck once again reached the news. However, this time the reactions were less cheerful. Chris Hartgerink, a young and talented Dutch scientist (Tilburg University), had succeeded to modify Statcheck up to the point that the program could now catalogue individual errors. Hartgerink decided to post his individualized Statchek-findings online, causing vibrations across the scientific community. Read the Guardian longread The high-tech war on science fraud to learn more about Statcheck and the discussion connected to it.
Read also this post on Statcheck.
NPO Radio1 interview with Joeri Tijdink on the effects of the contemporary publication culture on professional behavior (in Dutch)
In this short interview (Dutch language) Joeri Tijdink, a researcher at the VUmc, talks about his dissertation on the effects of the contemporary publication culture on professional behavior. According to Tijdink a ’publish or perish’ research climate often provokes types of sloppy research of which most researchers are not even aware. He makes a case for better education and mentorship on what it means to be a responsible scientist.
When scientific fraud comes to light one thing can be certain: the case will draw much attention. However, most scientists don’t take fraud as the main threat to the accumulation of scientific knowledge. Instead they are more likely to mention other factors, such as underreporting of negative results or the use of ‘shoddy methodology.’
This blog reflects on the results of a survey that was conducted among scientists worldwide ‘asking them to rank a list of 60 misbehaviors by their impact on truth, trust in science, how often they occur, and how preventable those actions might be’*. The results of the survey show a different picture of the real challenge science is facing: not fraud but sloppy science.
In their discussion of the survey the authors raise the question of how to prevent sloppy science in a research climate that is still characterized by a ‘publish or perish’ incentive structure.
*Bouter LM, Tijdink J, Axelsen N, Martinson BC, ter Riet G. (2016). Ranking major and minor research misbehaviors: results from a survey among participants of four World Conferences on Research Integrity. Research Integrity and Peer Review, 1(1), 17. doi: 10.1186/s41073-016-0024-5
How to take better advantage of failure? Although academic life seems to be most focussed on CV’s, funding, promotion and succes, failure is just as much part of it. According to Megan McArdle, author of the book The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well Is the Key to Success (Viking, 2014), it is time to remove the stigma on failure and learn how to deal with it in a better way. This Guardian-article discusses McArdle’s five tips for academics to fail more successfully. A fun article to read and especially useful for teaching (PhD) students.
Call for a Thematic series on contract cheating – International Journal for Educational Integrity (SpringerOpen)
Deadline for submissions: 30th June 2017
Although ‘contract cheating is not a word most students are familiar with, they might be more acquainted with the practice itself. ‘Contract cheating occurs when students employ or use a third party to undertake their assessed work for them’. While technically it is not a new phenomenon, the global rise of contract cheating is. In particular the emergence of commercial providers for ‘academic services’ -who advertise and reach students by the use of social media and other online platforms- makes it necessary for the academic community to take the problem more seriously. It has lead SpringerOpen to announce a thematic series to explore the phenomenon of contract cheating and to design appropriate responses to it. Interested to participate? Take a look at the SpringerOpen website and don’t forget to carefully read the submission instructions.
Limited number of places left, register quickly! Find all relevant information on the conference website www.WCRI2017.org. The full program is now online. Difficult to chose which sessions you would like to attend? Here is what your colleagues look forward to! (more…)
Invitations to the survey will be send out next week!
For the improvement of a survey on publication pressure, we are looking for volunteers to provide feedback. Next week, we will send out an invitation to review the survey. Your responses will be analysed anonymously and you will help us improve an instrument. This enables us to gain insight into the publication pressure in academics with a validated tool. The survey will take about 15 minutes of your time. Thank you in advance!
Prof. dr. Lex Bouter, dr. Joeri Tijdink, Tamarinde Haven – the ARCA team
by Isabella Vos and Fenneke Blom
Everyone who has ever participated in a debate on the validity of science, knows that it never takes long before somebody will bring up the topic of p-values. Although the p-value is still the most widely used index to assess statistical significance, critique has been raised on its usefulness. Numerable papers have pointed out the flaws of this research tool for testing hypotheses and have hackled the strange conclusions it might lead to. But what if the problem is not the p-value itself –which can be a useful statistical measure- but the fact that ‘it is commonly misused and misinterpreted’? (more…)
When: September 10-12, 2017
Where: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Our aim is to encourage research into the quality and credibility of peer review and scientific publication, to establish the evidence base on which scientists can improve the conduct, reporting, and dissemination of scientific research.
More information: here.
When: May 16th, 2017. 17.00-18.00h
Where: Lecturehall 1 (Collegezaal 1), Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam
Malcolm Macleod is professor of Neurology and Translational Neuroscience at the Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, University of Edinburgh. His lecture will be on the quality of biomedical research. He argues that the quality needs to be improved. The translation of animal studies to human practice is limited, partially caused by the choice of methods. However, studies with methodologies that reduce bias, often show notably smaller effect sizes. Moreover, improvements can be made in for example preregistration, study protocols and interpretation of results (including p-values).