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ClinicalTrials.gov not living up to promise

Clinical researchers in the US are required to register trials and deposit trial information at ClinicalTrials.gov. Most, however, don’t. According to several recent study, compliance with this law may be somewhere between around 13 and 22 percent. Which is to say that of the 13, 327 clinical trials conducted between 2008 and 2013, only 1,790 were filed on  ClinicalTrials.gov, leaving 11,537 unreported. Says author Kent Anderson in this March 3,…

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New study casts doubt on study that casted doubt

In 2015, a widely publicized report by the Center for Open Science claimed that dozens of psychology studies from a sample of 100 were unsound. A new report has challenged these findings, claiming that nearly all of the studies examined by COS were acceptable and that the COS study itself was statistically flawed. According to the New York Times, “One issue the critique raised was how faithfully the replication team…

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Moral courage and science

Marc Edwards, the scientist who helped expose the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, says that the systems built to support scientists do not reward moral courage and that the university pipeline contains toxins of its own — which, if ignored, will corrode public faith in science. When is it appropriate for academics to be skeptical of an official narrative when that narrative is coming from scientific authorities? “I grew up…

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Is University Research Missing What Matters Most?

School of Public Health Dean Sandro Galea issued a call for a change in research priorities—away from narrow, piecemeal inquiries, towards large-scale efforts to improve population health—in the January 24 edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education. In a Chronicle issue headlined, “Is University Research Missing What Matters?” Galea is a leading voice urging a revamping of the structures that support university science in order to tackle the most pressing…

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When Teamwork Doesn’t Work for Women

Economics remains a stubbornly male-dominated profession, a fact that members of the profession have struggled to understand. After all, if the marketplace of ideas is meant to ensure that the best ideas thrive, then this imbalance should arise only if men have better ideas than women. That implication infuriates many female economists. Now new evidence suggests that the underrepresentation of women reflects a systemic bias in that marketplace: a failure…

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Are science rock stars good for science?

We study the extent to which eminent scientists shape the vitality of their fields by examining entry rates into the fields of 452 academic life scientists who pass away while at the peak of their scientific abilities. Key to our analyses is a novel way to delineate boundaries around scientific fields by appealing solely to intellectual linkages between scientists and their publications, rather than collaboration or co-citation patterns. Consistent with…

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Wellcome Trust to fund more long-term projects to counter ‘pressure to publish’

The Wellcome Trust is to fund more long-term research projects because of fears that the pressure to publish and the need to show research impact will prevent academics from successfully tackling the world’s most pressing challenges. Over the next five years, the charitable foundation hopes to spend up to £5 billion, almost as much as it has spent over the previous decade, it announced in a new strategy this week.…

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New book from National Academies, “On Being a Scientist”

The scientific research enterprise is built on a foundation of trust. Scientists trust that the results reported by others are valid. Society trusts that the results of research reflect an honest attempt by scientists to describe the world accurately and without bias. But this trust will endure only if the scientific community devotes itself to exemplifying and transmitting the values associated with ethical scientific conduct. On Being a Scientist was…

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