DC's Improbable Science

Truth, falsehood and evidence: investigations of dubious and dishonest science

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Entries Tagged as 'publishing'

Placebo effects are weak: regression to the mean is the main reason ineffective treatments appear to work

December 11th, 2015 · 22 Comments

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“Statistical regression to the mean predicts that patients selected for abnormalcy will, on the average, tend to improve. We argue that most improvements attributed to the placebo effect are actually instances of statistical regression.”
“Thus, we urge caution in interpreting patient improvements as causal effects of our actions and should avoid the conceit of […]

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Tags: acupuncture · CAM · placebo · publishing · quackademia · random · randomisation · randomization · RCT · regression to the mean · reproducibility · statistics

Two more cases of hype in glamour journals: magnets, cocoa and memory

November 2nd, 2014 · 5 Comments

In the course of thinking about metrics, I keep coming across cases of over-promoted research. An early case was “Why honey isn’t a wonder cough cure: more academic spin“. More recently, I noticed these examples.
“Effect of Vitamin E and Memantine on Functional Decline in Alzheimer Disease".(Spoiler -very little), published in the Journal of the […]

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Tags: Academia · altmetrics · Alzheimer's · Bad journalism · badscience · false discovery rate · Journalism · public engagement · Public relations · Public understanding · publishing · randomisation · randomization · RCT · science · science communication

Why you should ignore altmetrics and other bibliometric nightmares

January 16th, 2014 · 20 Comments

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This discussion seemed to be of sufficient general interest that we submitted is as a feature to eLife, because this journal is one of the best steps into the future of scientific publishing. Sadly the features editor thought that " too much of the article is taken up with detailed criticisms […]

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Tags: Academia · altmetrics · bibliometrics · open access · peer review · Public relations · publishing

Blogs lead in critical thinking, but newspapers still matter

June 10th, 2013 · 4 Comments

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Here is a record of a couple of recent newspaper pieces. Who says the mainstream media don’t matter any longer? Blogs may be in the lead now when it comes to critical analysis. The best blogs have more expertise and more time to read the sources than journalists. But the mainstream media get […]

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Tags: Academia · anti-oxidant · Anti-science · antioxidant · antiscience · Bait and switch · blogs · communication · conflict of interest · intimidation · management bollocks · nutribollocks · public engagement · Public relations · Public understanding · publishing

Is Queen Mary University of London trying to commit scientific suicide?

June 29th, 2012 · 76 Comments

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Academic staff are going to be fired at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL). It’s possible that universities may have to contract a bit in hard times, so what’s wrong?
What’s wrong is that the victims are being selected in a way that I can describe only as insane. The criteria they use are […]

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Tags: Academia · assessment · HR bollocks · Human resources · management bollocks · managerialism · metrics · publishing · Queen Mary · Simon Gaskell · Universities

Open access, peer review, grants and other academic conundrums

December 16th, 2011 · 26 Comments

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Open access is in the news again.
Index on Censorship held a debate on open data on December 6th.

The video of of the meeting is now on YouTube. A couple of dramatic moments in the video: At 48 min O’Neill & Monbiot face off about "competent persons" (and at 58 min Walport makes […]

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Tags: Academia · George Monbiot · Mark Walport · Onora O'Neill · open access · peer review · publishing · Uncategorized