Scientists’ conduct affects science


Nature News has published an excellent feature by Edwin Cartlidge on the “wall of scepticism” that arose in response to the latest superconductivity claim from Ranga Dias et al., purportedly in a compound called nitrogen-doped lutetium hydride. It seems the new paper has earned a note of concern as well, after various independent research groups … Read more

What’s with superconductors and peer-review?

close up photo of abstract painting

Throughout the time I’ve been a commissioning editor for science-related articles for news outlets, I’ve always sought and published articles about academic publishing. It’s the part of the scientific enterprise that seems to have been shaped the least by science’s democratic and introspective impulses. It’s also this long and tall wall erected around the field … Read more

A ‘bold’ vision

‘Support Europe’s bold vision for responsible research assessment’, Nature editorial, July 27, 2022: The Agreement on Reforming Research Assessment, announced on 20 July and open for signatures on 28 September, is perhaps the most hopeful sign yet of real change. More than 350 organizations have pooled experience, ideas and evidence to come up with a … Read more

The cycle

Is it just me or does everyone see a self-fulfilling prophecy here? For a long time, and assisted ably by the ‘publish or perish’ paradigm, researchers sought to have their papers published in high-impact-factor journals – a.k.a. prestige journals – like Nature. Such journals in turn, assisted ably by parasitic strategies, made these papers highly visible to … Read more

Why are the Nobel Prizes still relevant?

Note: A condensed version of this post has been published in The Wire. Around this time last week, the world had nine new Nobel Prize winners in the sciences (physics, chemistry and medicine), all but one of whom were white and none were women. Before the announcements began, Göran Hansson, the Swede-in-chief of these prizes, … Read more

Prestige journals and their prestigious mistakes

On June 24, the journal Nature Scientific Reports published a paper claiming that Earth’s surface was warming by more than what non-anthropogenic sources could account for because it was simply moving closer to the Sun. I.e. global warming was the result of changes in the Earth-Sun distance. Excerpt: The oscillations of the baseline of solar … Read more