Retraction world: If this is science, yes we do hate it


What’s hot? What’s not?/Niklas Bildhauer, Wikimedia

From Stephanie M. Lee at Buzzfeed:

… It’s not the first time Cornell has looked into Wansink: In April, after critics publicly questioned four of Wansink’s papers related to pizza consumption, the university said it had found no scientific misconduct related to those papers.

Wansink did not immediately return a request for comment about the investigation.

Overall, critics have raised red flags about at least 50 of Wansink’s studies. The high-profile professor has retracted four articles — most recently one last week — and has at least eight corrections published or forthcoming. (That total doesn’t include yet another problematic paper about vegetable-naming that stands to be corrected or withdrawn.)

In a November 2016 blog post, Wansink praised a visiting graduate student for doing repeated data analyses — a behavior that, to critics, sounded like she was cherry-picking data to fit a hypothesis.More.

By now, we’re all familiar with rants about how Americans “hate science.” But why do we still hear them in the face of high retraction rates and low replication rates (when replication is even attempted) in the very areas where we’re most likely to notice (nutrition, cancer research, and social science)?

Do the ranteurs recycle the rhetoric because, in the face of more and more public awareness, they don’t have promising solutions for a public that is expecting them?

See also: Would this proposal for peer review reform work? Just think, if the founders of modern sciences had had conventional peer reviewers: Scientists would be evaluated today on their support for phlogiston, ether, and spontaneous generation.

Blinkers Award goes to… Tom Nichols at Scientific American! On why Americans “hate science” Health science is the way most people interact with science and in many areas, it is running neck and neck with the office rumor mill for credibility.

The skinny on salt, veggie oil, skim milk, whole foods. Nutrition science is nearly baseless but it rules.
Sitting does not increase overall mortality risk.

Also: Fake journals: Even a machine can get a degree if no one reads any more Or, as one tech mag put it, “Essay generator can spew out BS, still get you an ‘A’”. And it’s still B.S. And that’s a problem.

Even science journals can be fooled into publishing gibberish. Find out how