TS Picks: December 10, 2015

Predicting the next Ebola; replication and reputation; peer review’s (many) problems

Dec 10, 2015
Tracy Vence


Selections from The Scientist’s reading list:

  • Nature this week (December 7) asked: After Ebola, which pathogen will cause the next big outbreak? Meanwhile, if fellowship data are any indication, there may soon be a shortage of infectious disease specialists, STAT News reported.
  • “Our data suggests that scientists overestimate the negative reputational impact of a hypothetical failed replication effort. We also show that admitting wrongness about a nonreplicated finding is less harmful to one’s reputation than not admitting.” —Adam Fetterman and Kai Sassenberg in “The reputational consequences of failed replications and wrongness admission among scientists,” PLOS One, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0143723, 2015. (See also “The Rules of Replication,” The Scientist, November 2014, and “Self Correction,” The Scientist, December 2015.)
  • Vox this week (December 7) covered some prominent problems with peer review: “Science would probably be better off if researchers checked the quality and accuracy of their work in a multi-step process with redundancies built in to weed out errors and bad science.”