Thursday, September 27, 2012

Greg Henry's "Renewing Research"

Some great commentary on working toward a smarter research culture: "Renewing Research," by Greg Henry.

Generally, he's reminding you to do the right thing because it's the right thing to do, whether you're doing research or running the free world. Huge appreciation of his liberal arts-style editorializing in the medical literature.

Here's a link.

For those involved with emergency medicine, there are a lot of strong, provocative articles linked from the parent website.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Spin in medical literature, a cohort study

Hey, all,

A cool little study published in PLoS Medicine linked here.

Essentially, it's a "retrospective cohort study" looking at factors influencing relative hyperbole, or "spin", that appears in the news media following the publication of new medical science (specifically, randomized controlled trials). The authors conclude that, most commonly, spin creeps into the news when study authors include it in press releases. Ultimately, it suggests both that press releases need to be done responsibly and that the news media rarely reads or digests our newly published scientific literature!

I'll admit that, when overloaded with things to read and process with limited time, I occasionally take the easy route, skip past my assessment of medical literature, and begin with the conclusions. I think we all do.

There's clearly a problem if we're expecting outsider-types to digest our literary canon to separate our trashes from our treasures. They don't have the background in epidemiology/biostatistics/whatever scientific field we're publishing from to do so. Ultimately, even if they did, it isn't in the press' interest to restrict hyperbole.

So it's agreed: responsible, accurate press releases from now on. Good.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Open Science Competition

This is a pretty awesome:  Genspace and Assay Depot are holding a competition in the tri-state area of NY, NJ, and Connecticut looking for the best amateur innovators and researchers with cash prizes for receiving top marks.  This article does an excellent job of describing all the basics behind it. 

What would be great is the ability to have a much wider dispersion of these sorts of competitions.  As much as anyone may like to tinker or experiment, having the incentive of cash to really throw some results to the greater public is a perfect theater for open science to grow.  These competitions also would provide an excellent means of getting these amateur scientists to meet and possibly collaborate, putting a face to to the facebook of open science, perhaps.
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