By now, you know about preprints, and I bet you’ve read some, too — perhaps a manuscript posted on PsyArXiv, BioRxiv, or MedRxiv. With the posting of unrefereed manuscripts now normalized in psychology and other fields, no longer must new findings gather dust while languishing in journal management systems, waiting for slow reviewers, a busy editor, and a time-consuming revision process. New findings can be available to others immediately.

But peer review is important, and if its benefits are sufficiently large, the tradition of a long interval between submission of a manuscript and its becoming available to other researchers can…

It’s easy to get attached to your own ideas, and react defensively when someone challenges them. Four hundred years ago, Francis Bacon recognized that this human foible was a major obstacle in the quest for knowledge.

Francis Bacon. Image:Public domain.

In his book Novum Organum, Bacon wrote:

The human understanding, when it has adopted an opinion, forces everything else to add fresh support and confirmation; and although more cogent and abundant instances may exist to the contrary, yet it either does not observe them or it despises them, or it gets rid of and rejects them by some distinction, with violent and injurious prejudice…

Rose Gatfield-Jeffries is an honours student in history and philosophy of science at the University of Sydney. During the summer, she worked with Jason Chin and I on assessing the credibility and transparency of empirical legal research.

As background for our project, we sent Rose several contemporary articles and videos on meta-science, mostly from a list we stole from Simine Vazire. Rose sent us her thoughts on the articles and videos, below, which Jason and I were impressed by. We think many interested in meta-science will find her thoughts interesting.

Misinterpretations of evidence, and worse interpretations of evidence (video)— Fiona…

My colleagues face a trade-off between evaluating a researcher by actually investing the time to read some of their papers, versus relying to varying degrees on journal metrics and spending time on other activities.

DORA, the Declaration on Research Assessment that has been signed by hundreds of universities and probably tens of thousands of researchers, declares that researchers should not be evaluated based on any kind of journal ranking.

My university hasn’t signed it, but I support DORA’s general principle that we have relied too much on certain metrics, creating perverse incentives. …

A researcher presenting work, from

Today we’re releasing tenzing, a web-based app that makes it easier for researchers to indicate who did what in their manuscripts. Tenzing helps researchers record early in a project the expectations around the different roles of researchers in a project, and it makes life easier when it comes time to submit the paper to a journal. It uses a standardised format called CRediT, the Contributor Roles Taxonomy.

Most science today is conducted by groups of people, not solitary individuals. Different members of the team often have different roles. Yet until a decade or so ago, journals still operated as if…

Semi-log plots and exponential growth, from correlation to causation with COVID19!

My cautionary tale and tutorial provides a series of plots of COVID19 data, illustrating linear and log scales, together with the pitfalls of causal inference, and includes occasional questions to facilitate understanding. It’s now graced by the addition of this figure:


I created the tutorial for my students but it assumes no knowledge, so it’s useful for others, and Roberto de Pinho has translated it into Portuguese.

Alex Holcombe

Science, Experimental Psych. Reforms. @PsyOpenAccess

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