Articles to 2015-06-25

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First the link to this week’s complete list as HTML and as PDF.


I am very happy to see my thoughts on the responsibilities of co-authorship echoed by someone with hopefully far more clout in the relevant circles. See C. K. Gunsalus and Drummond Rennie in retractionwatch .

As Richard Philipps Feynman said: “Since then I never pay any attention to anything by ‘experts’. I calculate everything myself. When people said the quark theory was pretty good, I got two Ph.D.s, Finn Ravndal and Mark Kislinger, to go through the whole works with me, just so I could check that the thing was really giving results that fit fairly well, and that it was a significantly good theory. I’ll never make that mistake again, reading the experts’ opinions.” [Surely You’re Joking, Mr Feynman!] And that was not even about anything he signed his name to but just something he wanted to understand anyway. How can an author justify doing any less?

Or to quote Svante Pääbo: “With some trepidation I entered his office and told him what I had done. I asked him if he might perhaps want to be a co-author with me on the paper, in his capacity as my adviser. Obviously I had underestimated the man. Rather than scolding me for what could have been seen as misappropriation of research funds and valuable time, he seemed amused. He promised to read the manuscript and said that, no, obviously he should not be the co-author of work that he hadn’t even been aware of.” [Neanderthal Man] Take that, Prof. Green! But then maybe that is the difference between science and political science – and never the twain shall meet.

Let me finish with a perfect example of good practice: “Contributions: Gunsalus wrote an initial draft. Rennie discussed and rewrote every part of each successive draft and idea collaboratively with Gunsalus, and provided additional insights and references. Each approves and takes full responsibility for this final version. The authors received no funding for this article.”


We have come a long way when even places like the Mayo Clinic openly admit to the existence of pseudoscience as in Archer et al. Maybe now we can look forward to results and advice that are actually true and useful, but seeing the vigorous rowing back in the editorial by Davy & Estabrooks I doubt it.


What do you make of a society, that deliberately ensures its children and its next generation are exclusively begotten, born, and raised by the less successful lower classes? Bernstein raises an example in point and the rare partnership between Jiji and Cooley made parenthood far easier than for most.

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