Thursday, January 30, 2020

While we're on the topic of fraud...

...maybe read this too. In fact, definitely read this, too. So much gets missed in the peer review process, and a fraudster really doesn't need to be especially brilliant to get findings based on dodgy or non-existent data into the body of published findings. I'm a much better peer reviewer, but mostly because I use some recently developed tools of the trade in post-peer review. That said, I use those same post-peer review tools whenever I read much of anything anymore. And yet I know those can only do so much. We're dealing with an entrenched culture that makes it difficult to actually change the behavior. In the meantime, I have seen a series of errata and a corrigendum from a particular lab that are just as troubling as the original papers - in some cases more troubling. And there seems like there is so little to be done about it. That is one thing keeping me up at night.

One postscript - Joe mentions one particular paper where the data were indeed troubling but in which it took the dogged effort of Pat Markey (and later Malte Elson) to get access to the data to try to reproduce it. A retraction followed. Like Joe, I didn't catch it either. Nor would I in the peer review process had I served as a peer reviewer. 

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