Monday, February 13, 2017

Openness initiative for reviewers - an editorial discussion

One of my former mentors, Gert Storms, a KU Leuven professor in psycholinguistics, sent me this information. Caring about scientific scrutiny, he committed to the Peer Reviewers' Openness Initiative. Following up on that commitment, he recently asked for the data pertaining to a manuscript he was asked to review for the APA's Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory & Cognition. This resulted in a discussion with the journal's editor, Robert Greene. Greene raised issues against data openness prior to the manuscript being accepted and I understand we need to be careful in this process. However, this is covered within the openness initiative. Please find below the editor's response and Gert Storms' reaction to this.

The bottomline is that the editor asks Gert to resign from the editorial board because of the fundamental disagreement. I find it astonishing that a journal is so rigidly opposed to a measure that should in the end increase/restore the self-correcting nature of science and the quality of its own publication. Comments are open for your perspective ...

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Science first, communication second. A prequel to the Food and Brand Lab episode

The Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University, led by Brian Wansink (@BrianWansink) caused quite some academic turmoil these recent weeks. This contrasts sharply with the media turmoil usually generated by this lab's research. A series of academic social media posts and a critical article target the lab's inferior methodology and old school approach to rendering null-effects into (a set of) publishable papers. In this post, I want to give my account of a previous similar situation that I had with the same lab in 2012. I think the take-home-messages of this post are the following. First, I want to claim that the recent controversy fits within a longer tradition that pertains to this lab (but maybe also a large part of their discipline) and this just shows that a science revolution for reproducible findings is not a matter of a few years. Second, I do think that given previous criticism on their work, it is astonishing that it has not improved to some extent. Researchers should be more responsive to how the field reacts to their work. Third, the case seems to demonstrate a troublesome trend where labs and universities tend to invest more in PR than in research methodology and ethics. Although I am an enthusiast of science communication, we should not neglect the order in these words: science-communication. "Science first, communication second"

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor children food plate

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Thanks to @therealdonaldtrump this ad became a political statement

Budweiser's 2017 Superbowl ad tells the tale of how a German immigrant (Adolphus Busch) struggled into New Orleans, but then lived his dream when he partnered with Eberhard Anheuser to start brewing Budweiser. (See also the Wikipedia history of Anheuser-Busch)

Of course, given Donald Trump's so-called #muslimban just a few days old, the internet has welcomed the Budweiser commercial as a political statement against closed borders and in favor of the true industrious potential of immigrants that made America great (pun intended).

Now, the truth probably is just opposite to that. Most likely, it is Donald Trump's Executive Order that turned this ad into a political statement. See also the comment in this AdAge article

What's more, there seems to be a trend in recent ads from the Anheuser-Busch Inbev family to focus on these historic roots, with a striking similarity between ads to touch upon nostalgia, authenticity, and a claim for decades of expertise.
See for instance these examples: