Nov 08 2012

What? You can just get a blog post published in a journal?

Especially a paper about scientific fraud that uses this clever figure? (It’s short and openly accessible, go ahead and read it.)

I’m envious. But then, it is a pretty good summary of the kinds of wickedness some scientists are up to. I’d have to put a few of the scientists in the ENCODE consortium in level II, and evolutionary psychology is definitely condemned to level III.

It’s titled the nine circles of scientific hell, so sorry, creationists don’t even register.


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  1. 1

    And how is “non-publication” fraud?

    I have no interest in publishing any of my research on algorithms until it is done to my satisfaction.

    I chose not to work for a publish-or-perish business, so I do research for my own pleasure.

  2. 2

    I suppose what is meant is that negative studies/experimental results are withheld (i.e. contributing to publication bias, completely skewing the judgement of results based on number of positive vs. negative studies in the literature).
    It’s the long term version of cherry-picking data, but much less frowned upon.

  3. 3

    I have déja-vu. I think I have seen this one before, on this very blog, back in scienceblogs times. I am not sure, but…

  4. 4

    And how is “non-publication” fraud?

    I guess the idea is that in some areas of science (medicine and pharmacology), actively hiding data and conclusions is a crime on par with fabricating data, considering you are playing with people’s lives.

    the Vioxx scandal was mostly about the company hiding the creatively hiding the data on increase in heart attacks.

    But you’d think plagiarism would be higher on the crime severity scale.

  5. 5
    Glen Davidson

    It’s titled the nine circles of scientific hell, so sorry, creationists don’t even register.

    It’s just that they’re transcendent, typically committing all of those frauds at some point or others.

    Glen Davidson

  6. 6
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    It’s just that they’re transcendent, typically committing all of those frauds at some point or others.

    Sorry. I was just flashing on the GOP when I read that.

  7. 7
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought


    You’re not the only one. I think the last time we got only xkcd’s nine circles, and this time the short paper based on the cartoon is the main topic.

  8. 8

    What gets you into limbo? Failing to get funding?

  9. 9

    The nonpublication of data one isn’t explained, but I would assume what they mean is publishing a paper without publishing the data used to generate the conclusions.

    “We show that Drug X cures cancer in 20% more patients than Best Current Available Drug, based on the following fancy statistical analyses which give results of Very Very Significant and Totally Real Effect. (Data available on request. If we feel like responding to your email. We don’t, so you’ll just have to trust us that we didn’t fudge the statistics in any way and don’t belong in circles 4, 5, 6, 8, or 9) ”

    At least, that’s the only interpretation I can think of which makes sense, I assume they’re not talking about not-publishing-until-you’re-ready or not-publishing-if-your-data-shows-nothing-anybody-cares-to-read.

  10. 10

    Oh, or maybe yeah, the not-publishing-data-that-shows-drugs-don’t-work, I didn’t think about that field where that happens. You don’t really get that in my field because the stakes aren’t as high.

  11. 11

    I really, really wish the biosciences had somewhere we could publish non-significant results, failed experiments… things that just didn’t work. It would save us SO MUCH TIME AND MONEY not having to do and re-do experiments that fifty other researchers already did but couldn’t publish because it didn’t meet the Almighty p<.05.

    We talk about stuff like this at conferences, but with budgets the way they are travel often isn't an option, or is only once a year. My people are trying to increase communication with NeurOnline (clever, clever); I guess we'll see how that works out.

  12. 12

    First out of the way “four more years” I voted for him, though if she had been viable, I would have voted for Jill Stein.

    I’m not sure where medical research fits this paradigm, especially drug research, but caveat’s all around.

    On the day before New Years Eve 2011, I went into work as usual. Almost as soon as I entered my off in my lab, I started itching. Then my eyelids started swelling. Then I started coughing. I went to the ER in the hospital where I work, obviously not looking my normal handsome self, and was rushed back to a telemetry bed and plugged in, shot up with Benedryl and steroids and worked over for 30 minutes. The very competent ER physician pinned down the problem as soon as he took my medication history.

    I had been taking Quinapril for over 10 years. Quinapril is an Angiotensin Converting Enzyme inhibitor. A side effect is it allows the accumulation of bradykinin in your system. If you get exposed to an allergen, your response system is “primed” to the max. Exposure to the allergen or external stimulus can set of the cascade resulting with Angioedema, at the best and anaphylaxis at the worst. I landed in between. I spent New Years Eve and most of New Years Day in the ICU at my hospital.

    Since that time I’ve had two episodes related to anti-arrhythmic medications that laid me up in bed for two and three days a piece. Loss of appetite (I can’t even watch food commercials on TV), nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

    All resolved with stopping the medications. I guess I’m just a person that reacts in a weird way to certain medications. I take my BP medication which is also an anti-arrhythmic daily. My multivitamin, my vitamin D3, magnesium and Prevacid daily, Plus a 325mg Aspirin. No problems after less than a week. Back at work and in the thick of it and feeling quite well, thank you. Even went to see “Cloud Atlas” last weekend (loved the acting, visual effects and even the story line, to a certain extent. My wife hated everything except the acting, but we both love Tom Hanks and Hallie Berry. The rest of the acting was also good (I love how Hugo Weaving and Hugh Grant can ham everything up).

    So watch the fuck what you are taking for medications. It took me 10 years to develop a reaction to my main blood pressure medication. It is listed as causing <2%of complications to ACE inhibitors. I've never been allergic to anything (though through testing, now I know I'm allergic to Oak, Birch, Ragweed, some grasses, and take generic Zyrtec every night.

    My events were not nearly as frightening as what PZ went through several months back. I only saw a glimmer of the gates of Valhalla; PZ they were ready to push through, though saved in the nick of time.

    Pay attention to your health, diet, alcohol intake,etc.

    We have every friggin chance to make it past the century mark if we want to.

  13. 13

    Inventing data’s the lowest circle? Andrew Wakefield’s in real trouble if this mythos turns out to be correct…

  14. 14

    @grumpypathdoc: I can relate. A few years ago, I got up, took my “decrease stomach acid” drug, and headed off to work. On the way, my feet and palms started to itch. By the time I got to work, I couldn’t wait to take off gloves – and noticed my palms were all red. Then, hives, swelling, nausea. As a nurse, I knew what was happening, and scared to death because I was alone on the office floor. Took a bena*dryl, and promptly ran to vomit it up. Learned later I was in the less than 1% of people to have an allergic reaction to the drug.

    Makes doctors sit up and take notice when you tell them such things….(oh, and I don’t take that formulation any more).

  15. 15

    I really, really wish the biosciences had somewhere we could publish non-significant results, failed experiments… things that just didn’t work. It would save us SO MUCH TIME AND MONEY not having to do and re-do experiments that fifty other researchers already did but couldn’t publish because it didn’t meet the Almighty p<.05.

    This comes up a fair bit.
    I would love to establish a new journal titled NOPE: the Journal of Negative Results… if not for my lack of publishing experience. And scientific expertise. And free time.

  16. 16

    “Inventing data” is often known by it’s other name “making shit up”. Anything which claims to be science, but is actually “making shit up”, falls in there. Creationism fits perfectly.

  17. 17
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    What gets you into limbo? Failing to get funding?

    First Circle: Limbo

    The uppermost circle is not a place of punishment so much as regret. Those who have committed no scientific sins per se, but who have turned a blind eye to them, or encouraged sinners through the awarding of grants, spend eternity on top of this barren mountain, watching the carnage below and reflecting on how they are partially responsible…

  18. 18

    I love the medicine reaction stories!

    I turned out to be allergic to Fluoxetine, which developed slowly and I basically ended up sleeping through a year. Then it took another year to flush the reactions from my system: I was allergic to activity. Very frustrating.

    A few years before that, I was taking a diuretic and developed a cholinergic allergy: Allergy to being touched. It was annoying, but cleared up by eliminating the diuretic (I think it was a bad batch, since I never reacted to the stuff again, either). Kinda cool, in a horrible way.

    And last year, after feeding the cats, my eyes defocuses and I got dizzy. Eventually, I couldn’t focus my eyes and just plain couldn’t see. Called 911 – that was a chore, really. I have no idea how I’ll do that in the future with everything being a touch-screen – and went to the hospital. By then, I could see again. Doctor believes I got some nightshade in my eyes, which is one of the weeds that grows in my garden. Since then, I’ve been more careful of keeping the counters clean!

    Then a doctor friend of mine pointed to a study: The number one most ignored symptom you shouldn’t ignore? Sudden onset blindness. Who ignores THAT?

  19. 19

    Looks to me like in the second circle, they’re standing waist-deep in sludge (let’s say excrement)… and are they holding cigarettes?

    “OK guys, smoke break’s over. Back on your heads.”

  20. 20
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    Thanks for the heads-up about long-term side effects. I’ll pass that along.

    I think a good place for reports of negative experiments would be in PLOS and of course in the database of papers for your field. It doesn’t cost to ‘print’ elections and it could save other labs a lot of money (and yours on their negative results). Win-win. Especially if you sent the publisher or the database $5 or $10 every time you cancelled an expensive experiment thanks to them. You could just register a ‘hat tip’ and the accounts could be reconciled quarterly or something. Really, the money should go to supporting the online system for the publication or database.

  21. 21

    I was going to complain about your crack about EvoPsych but then I realized that you can’t help it.

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