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Peer Review Ring Broken - 60 Articles Retracted

samzenpus posted about a month and a half ago | from the I-scratch-your-back-you-publish-my-paper dept.

Science 178

blackbeak (1227080) writes The Washington Post reports that the Journal of Vibration and Control's review system was hijacked by a ring of reviewers. 60 articles have been retracted as a result. "After a 14-month investigation, JVC determined the ring involved “aliases” and fake e-mail addresses of reviewers — up to 130 of them — in an apparently successful effort to get friendly reviews of submissions and as many articles published as possible by Chen and his friends.'On at least one occasion, the author Peter Chen reviewed his own paper under one of the aliases he created,' according to the SAGE announcement."

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The Good News? (5, Funny)

KibibyteBrain (1455987) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429253)

Peter holds a very high standard for himself, I'm sure.

Re:The Good News? (3, Funny)

Cryacin (657549) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429291)

It's just the new strategy employed to increase the speed of scientific research and development. It's called the self-peer-review.

Amazingly articles can get released on the same day as submission with this method.

Re:The Good News? (2)

marcello_dl (667940) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429741)

Besides, who's more peer with respect to the author than the author itself? I tell you, it can't get more peery than this.

Wish I could say I was surprised (3, Interesting)

Crashmarik (635988) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429261)

We live in a day and age where you can make a pretty decent living as a scientist without actually advancing science, or doing very much technologically related labor, only natural people would game the system. While science should be immune to this sort of thing, just how many unimportant not particularly interesting results do people actually try to reproduce ?

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47429297)

You have it backwards. the fault is not that not every scientist has a breakthrough.

the fault is that in academia its pretty much "publish or die". The incentive to publish over anything else pushes the unscrupulous to do things like this.

the system itself creates this sort of situation.

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (2, Insightful)

Karmashock (2415832) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429319)

Wrong. The issue is that publishing is considered sufficient.

It should be publish or die. How do you know they're doing anything if they don't publish? they could be watching tv all day for all you know otherwise.

But as is made clear here, simply publishing and getting it through peer review is clearly not good enough. We need to increase what they have to do to avoid this situation.

For example... maybe one scientist pays another scientist to reproduce his work.

Maybe you have big collections of graduate students that as part of their process of getting a degree get assigned some random papers submitted by scientists in their field and they have to reproduce the work.

Obviously this isn't always possible... but whenever it isn't possible that needs to be put as a giant red asterisk on the paper saying "this work has not been reproduced"...

Do that and you're not going to get as much fraud or laziness.

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429331)

It should be publish or die. How do you know they're doing anything if they don't publish?

Dude, seriously? Look up Hendrik Schön; he published... a LOT.

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429339)

...and I skipped over a bit you posted, my bad.

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (0)

Karmashock (2415832) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429373)

If you had read what I said, then you'd see my post addressed your criticism of that one out of context quote.

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47429387)

Wrong. [...] It should be publish or die.

I belive the phrase you're looking for is "publish or perish."

Re: Wish I could say I was surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47429519)

Woah there. Reference, please!

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429581)

I was quoting someone else... please correct them instead... *yawn*

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (3, Funny)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a month and a half ago | (#47430043)

I was quoting someone else... please correct them instead... *yawn*

So you plagiarize too?

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (0)

Karmashock (2415832) | about a month and a half ago | (#47430181)

Sure, referencing the person you're talking to in a discussion on the internet is plagiarism... if you have no brain at all.

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429405)

We need to increase what they have to do to avoid this situation.

Alternatively (or in addition), we could increase the penalties for those caught cheating.

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (1, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429443)

we could increase the penalties for those caught cheating

No thanks, keep the lawyers out of it unless a genuine crime has been commited, the last thing we want is politicians regulating peer-review. There is no system that is totally incorruptable, the fact that these frauds were exposed means the system is working in this case. The fact that the scientific and academic communities will ostrasize the fauds for the rest of their lives is natural justice, anything more crosses the line between natural justice and revenge

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (3, Insightful)

Karmashock (2415832) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429507)

If you pay scientists to do science and they are contracted to do it... they fraudulently do not do science yet continue to cash your checks... that is a crime.

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (0)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a month and a half ago | (#47430071)

Is something special about science?

If you pay someone to do a job and they don't do it... you fire them. That's it, no worrying about crime and so on. If they're really contracting, then at worst it's a breach of contract and you could sue to get your money back.

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about a month and a half ago | (#47430103)

That's fine so long as their fraud doesn't have additional damages to the institutions that employ them.

It is in the interest of such organizations to be harsh with people that take their coin and then try to cheat them.

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (2)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about a month and a half ago | (#47430441)

Is something special about science?

If you pay someone to do a job and they don't do it... you fire them. That's it, no worrying about crime and so on. If they're really contracting, then at worst it's a breach of contract and you could sue to get your money back.

Agreed. One small point to add though is that the people they are working for put a lot of pressure on them to publish.

This is just stage one of a process. It's been known that the "publish or perish" culture has produced some problems. Self plagiarism is a biggie, but they are weeding out the fraud at the same time.

So while the more politically inclined might wring their hands and moan "we have to do something!" this is all happening because we are doing something The system is working. Tools are in place now to catch the bad boys and girls. Soon they'll know they can't plagiarize themselves, come up with bogus peer review, or doctor the data. It's good, what is happening.

It's a science solution. If it were a political solution, the fraudsters would just end up winning, and would become more powerful.

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (0)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about a month and a half ago | (#47430405)

If you pay scientists to do science and they are contracted to do it... they fraudulently do not do science yet continue to cash your checks... that is a crime.

Then again, so is your fractured syntax.

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (5, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429485)

No, "publish or perish" really dis-incentivizes novel research because guess what, often times really novel research fails. All "publish or perish" really does is incentivize either cheating or the lowest risk research imaginable. There are other mechanisms for making sure a researcher is actually doing their work, punishing them for taking risks shouldn't be among them.

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (1)

Kazoo the Clown (644526) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429509)

No, "publish or perish" really dis-incentivizes novel research because guess what, often times really novel research fails. All "publish or perish" really does is incentivize either cheating or the lowest risk research imaginable. There are other mechanisms for making sure a researcher is actually doing their work, punishing them for taking risks shouldn't be among them.

If novel research is failing peer-review, I don't see that not publishing is a good answer to that. A convenient one, no doubt.

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47429623)

Scientifically useful negative results don't merely fail peer review, they are simply unpublishable in a major journal.

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (2)

AK Marc (707885) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429645)

If I proved that cats claws grow proportionally to zinc in their system (assuming otherwise healthy), up to zinc overdoses, it may be valid, presumably interesting, but I doubt that it would be picked up by a "major" paper. But if I proved that human IQ was proportional to the temperature of the blankets one slept under, that would be published many places and gain me much fame. Even if the results were faked and peers paid off.

The solution would seem to be the university publishing all the unpublished articles, peer reviewed by others in the same system. They'd be published, and if they can't pass a peer review, that should come out.

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (5, Insightful)

alvinrod (889928) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429705)

It's not a matter of failing peer review, it's a general disinterest in publishing negative results. If you find a cure for cancer it's a big deal, but if you just found one more thing that doesn't work any better than a sugar pill, none of the journals are going to care about publishing it even if it's the most well-run study in the history of the world.

If someone starts doing some novel research that's going to take five years to possibly produce results and nothing pans out, they aren't going to get anyone to publish the findings.

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (3, Interesting)

Rich0 (548339) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429921)

And this is part of why all the drug development work ends up happening in private industry.

A scientist will come up with a molecule that inhibits some enzyme and get some publishable result. At that point they issue the typical "possible cure for cancer" press release and move on to the next thing. 5 years and $10M later a pharma company figures out that it causes heart valve degeneration or that inhibiting the enzyme isn't the magic bullet everybody hoped for. They don't bother publishing it, but none of their scientists get paid by the publication anyway. The companies interest is that if it eventually works out they make billions.

So, in that sense you actually have an example of a way in which industrial research is actually less risk-averse than academia, which should be shocking.

That said, when it comes to the basic research side of things pharma companies do tend to let the academics do the work for them.

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47430375)

I think what the poster you quoted wanted to say is that often to make major contributions you have to do something that has never been done before, and not just follow up on previous research. Pushing on current trends is not difficult, at all, and is basically guaranteed to get you a publication in a decent journal. A lab head can do several dozens of these papers a year if he has a few handfuls of people in his group and decides to have his focus on this. Now doing this more than guarantees a comfortable living as an academic. Quite often this research can even be wrong: It's middling at best, and nobody really cares, so nobody will notice (and yes, the STAP scandal with Obokata et al. is really a special case and not what usually happens; their claims were "too" interesting to the general public and in any case outright fraudulent). Many fields are saturated by this type of managers (rather than scientists), and they have been rewarded for their noninnovative research for so long I doubt they would even recognize a basic flaw in a paper when they saw one.

This means that peer review has become useless (when your peers are managers rather than scientists) and in fact every month I spot papers from my field in some of the top journals that have zero scientific contribution: their methods are only borderline correct, and the conclusions known for decades. But they have nice pictures and peer reviewers are probably their manager-friends or manager-somebodyelses who did not have a clue what was done and well-known 50 years ago (and indeed, why care, if by ignoring old research you can accidentally redo them and get more papers!). Try publishing a paper showing that their experiment must be wrong as it violates the second law of thermodynamics and you will be shot down and now they know your name. Good luck with grants and peer reviews.

I got a bit derailed above, but no, I am not bitter nor is the above a completely accurate presentation of my personal experience. This said, it is obvious that many scientists are afraid of speaking their mind and criticizing others even when others are wrong, and that this is corrupting the entire system where one is supposed to be able to trust one's peers.

Back to the topic: Coming up with a totally new idea, trying it, and failing at it will never get written up. You say that this is the right thing to do, if you don't publish, you ought to perish. Now is failed research "wrong"? Should you have known beforehand that your idea is stupid and not even test it? Not being able to publish this failed idea and only regarding publications as a measure of your success would certainly imply this.

Hack a Day [hackaday.com] publishes fails of the week. They are not meant as articles where we laugh at someone's stupidity or bad luck, but are informative writeups about new ideas where something in the implementation went wrong, or serve as examples of how even experienced people can fail to consider some basic (or advanced) principles. Related to this, perhaps my favourite TED talk is that by Eddie Obeng [youtube.com] . He talks about business, not research. And I remind you that the only reason university research exists is that otherwise fundamental or high risk projects would not get funded as you might not have a direct way to make money off of them, or you might lose a lot, which makes them unattractive for business. Surely Obeng will then tell you that as a business manager, do the safe projects, punish those whose ideas don't work. Well this is what he says: "You're doing something new that nobody's done before, you get it completely wrong. How should you be treated? Well, free pizzas! You should be treated better than the people who succeed. It's called smart failure. Why? Because you can't put it on your CV." Companies can treat their employees with pizzas when they fail at something new, but academia is not a structured system where you could get different kinds of rewards: it is only about publish or perish. This is why it is a horrible system.

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47430429)

I forgot to add this recent article [scientificamerican.com] to my post. It goes to show that the problems I am talking about are not just my personal anecdotes or limited to my field.

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (1)

Brulath (2765381) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429523)

The problem there, then, is that research papers which analyse a failure aren't accepted often enough, which probably leads to other people redundantly repeating the same fruitless efforts. Failures aren't as flashy, but they're surely still useful.

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429599)

I think I answered this point in this post:

http://slashdot.org/comments.p... [slashdot.org]

In summary, my point is not a defense of any specific method of auditing work and ensuring people aren't just screwing around.

Rather, my point is a defense of auditing in general.

If you don't like publish or perish then please suggest an alternative that doesn't just let scientists wake up at the crack of 4pm, drink until they pass out, and then do the same tomorrow.

I'm not saying they would do that or they are doing it... I'm saying they are being paid and people being paid have an obligation to the people paying them to give reasonable assurances that they're not just screwing around on paid time.

Publish or Perish is one of the ways scientists show they're not dead weight. If you have other methods then I will of course be open to them.

I await your alternatives.

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47429849)

Stop trying to find technical solutions to social problems, you dullard.

If you don't like publish or perish then please suggest an alternative that doesn't just let scientists wake up at the crack of 4pm, drink until they pass out, and then do the same tomorrow.

We start with a society which teaches good values from a young age and which ostracises those who neglect those values. You go to America and you're way more likely to find people trying the minimum for the maximum than in another culture like, say, Japan, where laziness brings shame but hard work brings celebration and honour.

A group of good scientists knows who the bag eggs are. They tend to self-regulate as long as they're treated well by their own superiors. If they don't, they'll close ranks and protect each other regardless of competence. That's how labour always organises itself: for efficiency, if well-managed; for mere self-preservation, if harmed.

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429951)

So until your utopian society comes along I should just accept bullshit?

No. When you hire people, you set up mechanisms to monitor their work and if they're not doing their jobs you fire them.

Otherwise why am I paying these people?

Same deal in pretty much everything.

Your solution is to completely re-engineer the entire society to correct this one issue.

Great plan... totally practical...

You call me a dullard? Do you have a plan that isn't completely halfbaked and impractical or is that all you're good for?

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47430331)

like, say, Japan, where laziness brings shame but hard work brings celebration and honour.

Seriously? Japan? Because what we say happening in Fukushima shows we should trust Japan to do the right thing... it was a botched thing from top to bottom. Both at the highest levels in the company masking all the crap that was happening, and at the low levels with all the workers who, must have known things were going spectacularly wrong, who simply said nothing. Honor you say... I don't think you know what that means, or the Japanese don't, at least.

And at least in academia what I've heard from Japan was that indeed hard work is appreciated. So, people come to the lab very early and leave very late, but few of those hours are indeed of any decent productivity. Wake up man, Japan isn't what you think it is.

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429693)

Which is why there is a growing movement of scientists who promote publishing failed research results.
Scientists, out of anybody, should know that failure is when you learn the most.

See also Dr. David Goodstein's 1990s predictions (1)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | about a month and a half ago | (#47430183)

You make good points. See also: http://www.its.caltech.edu/~dg... [caltech.edu]
"The public and the scientific community have both been shocked in recent years by an increasing number of cases of fraud committed by scientists. There is little doubt that the perpetrators in these cases felt themselves under intense pressure to compete for scarce resources, even by cheating if necessary. As the pressure increases, this kind of dishonesty is almost sure to become more common.
    Other kinds of dishonesty will also become more common. For example, peer review, one of the crucial pillars of the whole edifice, is in critical danger. Peer review is used by scientific journals to decide what papers to publish, and by granting agencies such as the National Science Foundation to decide what research to support. Journals in most cases, and agencies in some cases operate by sending manuscripts or research proposals to referees who are recognized experts on the scientific issues in question, and whose identity will not be revealed to the authors of the papers or proposals. Obviously, good decisions on what research should be supported and what results should be published are crucial to the proper functioning of science.
    Peer review is usually quite a good way to identify valid science. Of course, a referee will occasionally fail to appreciate a truly visionary or revolutionary idea, but by and large, peer review works pretty well so long as scientific validity is the only issue at stake. However, it is not at all suited to arbitrate an intense competition for research funds or for editorial space in prestigious journals. There are many reasons for this, not the least being the fact that the referees have an obvious conflict of interest, since they are themselves competitors for the same resources. This point seems to be another one of those relativistic anomalies, obvious to any outside observer, but invisible to those of us who are falling into the black hole. It would take impossibly high ethical standards for referees to avoid taking advantage of their privileged anonymity to advance their own interests, but as time goes on, more and more referees have their ethical standards eroded as a consequence of having themselves been victimized by unfair reviews when they were authors. Peer review is thus one among many examples of practices that were well suited to the time of exponential expansion, but will become increasingly dysfunctional in the difficult future we face.
    We must find a radically different social structure to organize research and education in science after The Big Crunch. That is not meant to be an exhortation. It is meant simply to be a statement of a fact known to be true with mathematical certainty, if science is to survive at all. The new structure will come about by evolution rather than design, because, for one thing, neither I nor anyone else has the faintest idea of what it will turn out to be, and for another, even if we did know where we are going to end up, we scientists have never been very good at guiding our own destiny. Only this much is sure: the era of exponential expansion will be replaced by an era of constraint. Because it will be unplanned, the transition is likely to be messy and painful for the participants. In fact, as we have seen, it already is. Ignoring the pain for the moment, however, I would like to look ahead and speculate on some conditions that must be met if science is to have a future as well as a past."

I think a "basic income" for all could be part of the solution, because a BI would make it possible for anyone to live like a graduate student and do independent research if they wanted.

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47429539)

The publish or perish mentality specifically contributes to an unwillingness to reproduce results, though; the likely outcome of doing such is not publishable and therefore effectively worthless in career terms. Why on earth would someone waste time reproducing results knowing full well it isn't going to get them anything (and in fact will set them back, as many of their colleagues will be doing original research).

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (2)

Karmashock (2415832) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429587)

Okay... I am going to assume you're reasonable and not a loony... and that what we have here is a failure to communicate.

Here is what I want... please throw out your existing notions of what is currently going on or whatever talking point score card you're reading from here...

1. It is reasonable for scientists in the pay of the public to be required at intervals to publish the results or at least what they were currently doing over the past few months or year or whatever interval is deemed reasonable.

2. Works thus published should be subjected to reasonable audits to detect fraud, laziness, waste, or incompetence.

3. The nature of audits should make it difficult or impossible for conflicts of interest to corrupt the auditing process.

4. The auditing process should be sufficient to determine what is and is not valid science.

5. Reproduction of work obviously cannot be done with all papers however, they should be done with all significant work deemed significant.

6. The deeming of significant or insignificant work could be down to collective or crowd sourced choices made by other scientists to cite a given work or say they found it interesting or significant. When X number of scientists say its significant then someone in the community should be tasked with verifying it through reproduction.

Do you have a problem with any of the above?

I do not claim my notions above are perfect and am open to modification. However, the basic gist of my post I think is defensible and if challenged, I will defend it.

Re: Wish I could say I was surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47429609)

Publish I do not think that word means what you think it means.

They need a full peer reviewed paper in a recognized journal.
Not a progress report.

The system worked better in the past since there were less papers published. Now finding something unique is harder every year.

Re: Wish I could say I was surprised (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429717)

A progress report TO the public that is audit-able is what we've always wanted.

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47429777)

1. It is reasonable for scientists in the pay of the public to be required at intervals to publish the results or at least what they were currently doing over the past few months or year or whatever interval is deemed reasonable.

The basic problem here is that you seem to have at best a shaky grasp of what "publish" means in academia. No journal is going to just publish "what they were currently doing over the past few months" unless that includes a significant result. I'm honestly not sure of where to recommend that you go to get a better understanding of how academic journals work, but I suppose the Wiki article [wikipedia.org] couldn't be the worst place to start.

2. Works thus published should be subjected to reasonable audits to detect fraud, laziness, waste, or incompetence.

Using what money? Peer review currently is done on a voluntary basis; no journal that I'm aware of pays its reviewers. You seem to think that just because it would be nice if all published research was reproduced that it *should* be reproduced, without concern for where the researcher-time and money will come from to accomplish this. The current reality is that any professor or research scientist who devoted significant amounts of time to reproducing already-published science would quickly find himself out on his ass, because publishing *original* research is the first and foremost factor in maintaining/advancing a career in academia. To put it in software development terms, it would be like expecting a programmer to spend a large chunk of his time on the clock refactoring code while his bosses are telling him to leave it alone and work on implementing new features.

3. The nature of audits should make it difficult or impossible for conflicts of interest to corrupt the auditing process.

Agreed, the journal from this article should absolutely have done a better job of verifying the identities of its peer reviewers.

4. The auditing process should be sufficient to determine what is and is not valid science.

In what sense? If someone publishes a paper based on years of astronomical observations, is the peer reviewer obligated to spend years making his own observations to see if he can find (more or less) the same result? If "Yes", then the simple reality is that no one will volunteer to peer review such work, and you'll end up in a situation worse than the present one. If "No", then you're back to admitting that at some point the reviewer has to trust the article's author(s).

5. Reproduction of work obviously cannot be done with all papers however, they should be done with all significant work deemed significant.

I would argue that, certainly in my own field, "significant results" intrinsically draw more attention once published, and thus any mistake or malfeasance is more likely to be caught.

6. The deeming of significant or insignificant work could be down to collective or crowd sourced choices made by other scientists to cite a given work or say they found it interesting or significant. When X number of scientists say its significant then someone in the community should be tasked with verifying it through reproduction.

And, again, whence comes the money and time to reproduce it? This is a point that most scientists, I believe, would agree with -- but no one is going to sacrifice their own career to help accomplish it. And the "publish or perish" mentality contributes to this problem, as journals do not publish articles which simply say "yes, this other article seems to be good science".

Overall, I don't see anything too objectionable in what you want -- but it is basically a list of demands without any suggestion of how they could be accomplished or any understanding of why they are *not* being accomplished (to the extent that they aren't) in the current system. It's akin to a long-winded way of saying "programmers should just stop writing buggy code"; no sane person is going to disagree with the sentiment, but without addressing the causes (and possible solutions thereto) it comes across simply as baseless criticism.

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (0, Troll)

Karmashock (2415832) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429835)

1. I'm not interested in being brow beaten by some fool more interested in winning an argument then in addressing the argument.

If you're going to keep attempting an ad hominem then I'm going to simply not talk to you. And then what will you have accomplished?

This is the internet... be nice or you're getting a flame war.

2. Scientists are paid. You missed the whole point about not assuming that i am defending the current system but rather talking about the problem that the current system was set up to deal with and that will need to be dealt with if we get rid of the current system.

The point is that money goes to scientists and the people that provide that money have a right to expect something be done with it.

Furthermore, they must share information... you don't like the term publish or you're going to get asinine on the issue? fine... We'll start using other words. I'll speak chinese if I need to get you to stop trying to make this a semantics debate.

3. I'm not talking about any journal in particular. They're all suspect because there's no uniform way of doing this and the journals themselves are not audited which is another problem.

4. I specifically said that if it were not practical then the paper gets a big red asterisk next to it's name that says "unverified" or "not reproduced" or whatever.

By all means... put out as much research as you want that no one could possibly verify or reproduce. Make my fucking day. But it gets the red asterisk.

Peers will take that in stride because it won't be that uncommon. But laymen will at least understand what has and has not be verified. That is important. Science cannot be something only scientists understand any more then the law can be something only lawyers understand.

You do that and you create a situation where everyone has to walk around telling each other to "trust" them... and guess what... humans don't work that way.

I don't trust the guy at the bank when he says "oh this home loan is the best for you... I swear"... I don't trust the lawyer that says "oh this is a good contract, sign it"... I don't trust the doctor that says "you don't need a second opinion, get this operation."

And I'm certainly not going to let the scientists get away with a similar argument.

its not acceptable.

So things need to be structured in a reasonable way so that scientists find the process reasonable, those providing funds know that their money isn't being wasted, and the public can use the resulting science without having to just take on faith something some guy said.

doubtless you're going to try and argue that we have to trust them because its just too complicated. I'm not interested in that discussion. My opinion is no. End of that tangent.

6. As to the money to reproduce it, that can be provided by the same institutions that hire the scientists in the first place as part of their quality control policy. Which is in large part what all of this in the first place.

Would that money go to the same scientist or the same type of scientists? Probably not. We might have specialists that ONLY reproduce other people's work. That might be literally all they do. And they might be paid by the scientists that produced the paper who are themselves taking the money from their grants or working budgets as a cost of publishing.

here you'll tell me they don't have enough money to do that... well obviously not because they didn't need to do that before so they weren't given the money to do that.

I'm anticipating the circular arguments from you because you demonstrated several of them above and its making my head throb.

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (3, Informative)

Maow (620678) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429875)

1. I'm not interested in being brow beaten by some fool more interested in winning an argument then in addressing the argument.

If you're going to keep attempting an ad hominem then I'm going to simply not talk to you. And then what will you have accomplished? ...you're going to get asinine...

Jeez, pot meet kettle.

To top it off, he addressed your points quite well and it appears that it's you that seems intent upon winning an argument with your long-winded reply, which, of course, doesn't specifically and concretely address the issues raised by the person you're replying to.

Funding to reproduce coming from same institution? So they'll have half the money for original research then. And the suckers tasked with the reproduction won't be advancing their own careers under the Publish (original, ground breaking work) Or Perish model used today.

Like it was stated, in a fairly appropriate analogy, reproducing others' work is akin to re-writing a new software project - in software dev, it's a losing game.

In science it's important, but like in software dev, the boss isn't interested. And while the result may be beneficial, it's hard to convince people that it's a rewarding career move to play catch-up to others' work.

Having said all that, I think we all agree that reproducibility is important -- question is, how to go about it as the current system kinda disfavours it in all but the most important projects.

We need to implement specific, concrete changes -- having grad students do some of that is a good idea, but not sure if it'll completely solve the issue.

But laymen will at least understand what has and has not be verified. That is important. Science cannot be something only scientists understand any more then the law can be something only lawyers understand.

Laymen will never understand cutting edge science (unless they're quite keen on the topic at hand - a miniscule minority), and any layman that thinks they understand the law as well as lawyers generally get their arses handed to them should they attempt pro se representation.

Specialization in complex fields is natural.

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (-1, Flamebait)

Karmashock (2415832) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429935)

You're right, reproducing work by route should cost the exact same amount as doing the initial research from scratch...

or you're pressing post without using your brain.

These sorts of discussions are nothing but irritating because people like you aren't actually arguing or having a discussion. You're just posting the first thing that pops into your head that might be a problem... and you're sloppy about it because you're not thinking about it in any depth and often not reading the full post before you comment.

Its a waste of time. worse, you've got nothing original or novel to bring to the discussion. Why would anyone find your comment to be even a little worth reading? Its got nothing. It isn't insightful. It isn't knowledgeable. It isn't funny. It isn't even brief.

An utter vacuum of worth.

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (1)

hxnwix (652290) | about a month and a half ago | (#47430345)

Look at the moderation your posts have received. Nobody likes you; nobody thinks you're right.

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (2)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a month and a half ago | (#47430165)

Well, when it comes to doing browbeating, you're doing a bang up job. You are assuming that your solution is right and will not accept any criticism of it no matter how much of a bad idea it is. Your solution is unfortunately unworkable.

Is the current system perfect? No, not even slightly? Is your solution actually a solution? No, yours is a cure worse than the disease, or at least unworkable.

The point is that money goes to scientists and the people that provide that money have a right to expect something be done with it.

That's what publish or perish is! The money is largely provided by the public and not unreasonably, they want to see that the money is being used. Spending that money going in circles replicating results for the sake of it doesn't yield much of use, sadly. So, you'll have to convince people that it's a good thing that now (say) half the amount of research is getting done.

Furthermore, they must share information... you don't like the term publish or you're going to get asinine on the issue? fine... We'll start using other words. I'll speak chinese if I need to get you to stop trying to make this a semantics debate.

The point about publishing is that as soon as you have a result worth sharing, you share it. In fact if anything, publish or perish encourages that. The opposite: dumping out stuff because there's a reporting deadline does actually happen. For example any EC funded projects of which there are many hav mandatory reporting deliverables. I think a few of the RCUK bunch do as well.

Guess what? No one ever reads the damn things, mostly because any results worth sharing are published as papers. So in fact what you advocate does happen and is demonstrably useless. You can in fact go and request copies of these documents if you wish. I believe they are a matter of public record.

By all means... put out as much research as you want that no one could possibly verify or reproduce. Make my fucking day. But it gets the red asterisk.

I don't see what function that would serve. All research is already considered to have a big red asterisk by default. You might weigh the liklihood of correctness by the content of the paper, the believability of the result and the track record of the researchers, but new publications are generally taken to be unverified.

So your red asterisk would not serve any purpose.

You claim you want to make it easier for "laymen" but the red asterisk won't help, because it's already effectively there. The best thing you can do is stump up the money to educate them instead.


6. As to the money to reproduce it, that can be provided by the same institutions that hire the scientists in the first place as part of their quality control policy. Which is in large part what all of this in the first place.

And where does that money come from? Who wants to double the research costs of universities just to do what's already being done by a less formal method? Whether it's privately or publicly run, the people stumping up the hard cash are going to want to know why the output has halved or the cost has doubled.

Would that money go to the same scientist or the same type of scientists? Probably not. We might have specialists that ONLY reproduce other people's work. That might be literally all they do. And they might be paid by the scientists that produced the paper who are themselves taking the money from their grants or working budgets as a cost of publishing.

Well that would shoot a huge amount of research in the foot. I've published a fair chunk. All of my most major publications were done either on the side with no budget at all or in a small research group that had enough money for 3 PhD students (and this was way back when we were 10k per year) and almost no equipment (seriously we were on hand-me-down computers that the better funded groups junked due to obsolescence).

Come to think of it quite a lot of people I know got their big breaks by looking at some side project that interested them and wasn't really part of the main funded research.

The money you're talking about simply doesn't exist. There was never even money to to the research never mind pay someone else to do exactly the same.

here you'll tell me they don't have enough money to do that... well obviously not because they didn't need to do that before so they weren't given the money to do that.

So where will the money come from? You can't magically "get it from the institution" because the institution has to get it from somewhere. In the UK this means taking it out of paid taxes.

The thing is that despite your efforts, your method still doesn't solve the fundemental problem of whether you know something was correct or not. The verifier could make a mistake in either direction, or worse you'll never eliminate fraud.

The current system does however eventually sort it out. If it is an important result (defined as one that people care about) other people will look at it. And soon the truth will come out.

Two good examples: high temperature superconductivity and cold fusion. Both HUGE results with massive implications. So, scientists swamed over them like flies. The first was replicated and built on and is now a hige field in its own right. The second is now dismissed as an error.

The thing is this required no formal system of verification, but he measure of "importance" was automatically crowdsourced (I hate that phrase) among the scientist's peers. Interesting work attracts more scrutiny. And now, it doesn't matter if the original results were verified or not. Frankly it doesn't matter if the sampes and data are long lost. High Tc is firmly established as a fact.

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about a month and a half ago | (#47430225)

Actually I said repeatedly that I'd accept criticism. However, not reading my post before commenting, taking me out of context, using various straw man arguments, etc is not constructive or valid.

So yeah... i'm going to flame, turn it to ash, and crush the ashes under my boot.

No mercy. No hesitation. No remorse.

As to the point of red asterisk, I pointed out that this was mostly for the lay community that gets a lot of their science news from the media that is full of a lot of people that don't know any better.

You need to help these people out by making clear whether given findings were reproduced or not.

What I think you'll find is that in some cases the media if they have that point will fixate on it and basically undermine the finding until it is reproduced.

And then the scientists if only out of irritation because the lay community that ultimately pays for everything keeps bring it up... will have it reproduced somewhere thus removing the red asterisk and moving on.

I'm not asking for every little thing to be reproduced. I just think its reasonable for the lay community to not get so easily duped by bad science.

As to it already "effectively" being there... but its not. The lay community is generally totally clueless as to whether a given finding has been verified or not.

So effectively it isn't there FOR THEM.

As to not having money... then don't do it and put the asterisk on your paper. Write the whole thing in crayon on napkins and mail it to your mother with carrier pidgins. Post it as a rhyming blog on facebook... Whatever floats your personal boat.

My point was that if you want to avoid confusion you should hold to certain standards. But who needs them, am I right? Lets just do whatever the hell because its just too expensive.

No really... do that. But then put a disclaimer somewhere... In crayon if that's all you've got... and that way when it hits the media the poor journalists that don't know anything can have a chance at not overstating things.

Here you say but all of that is redundant... its obvious... except it isn't for the laymen. So it isn't redundant. It isn't obvious. Put it on the paper.

If you want to scrawl that in crayon... go for it... just put it there. I'm sure Crayola has a wide selection of red crayons to choose from.

As to money and taxes... you do realize that most of your funding problems stem from the public and politicians not seeing tangible results... right? If you told the people, give us X dollars and we'll produce research that will yield everyone X*100 then you'd get all the money. ALL OF IT.

This is a big factor in a lot of spending. Now you can't ever make those sorts of promises. I appreciate that. But giving people better reporting that is understood and can be turned toward something practical means your funding will flow a lot easier.

Here you're going to tell me it doesn't work that way or I don't understand or something along those lines. Well, that's circular logic. You can always say that isn't how it works. If I advocated a republic type government 4000 years ago you could sit there and say "you don't understand, we have these peasants, and these nobles, and these priests... these guys rule everything and... etc"... I know that. You can do things that way forever if that's what you want.

But then don't bitch when the funding gets tight because the "trust us" argument is only good for limited funding.

If you want the money to flow... you have to give us something more. You have to make us understand.

Actually. Not stupid condescending cartoons. We're not stupid. We're not children. There are a lot of things laymen understand about a lot of things that scientists of whatever description know nothing about.

Lets not treat each other like garbage and instead do our best to help each other come to a common understanding and from that move forward together.

Someone mod this up (1)

Puff_Of_Hot_Air (995689) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429843)

An insightful post, I'd love to hear if you had an ideas on how the system could be improved?

Re:Someone mod this up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47430135)

Unfortunately, I can't say that I have any brilliant ideas on how the system could be fixed. It is fundamentally a cultural problem, and will only really be addressed when the cultural perception of research changes. But, it's quite difficult to sell people on the idea that the very boring work of reproducing research (to ensure that what we think we know is actually true) is worthwhile. Comparatively, selling people on a new particle accelerator or a new cancer treatment or whatever is much easier.

There is already a sort of class divide in academia between the tenured or tenure-track professors and the non-tenure-track lecturers and adjuncts and it would be great if this could be mapped to original research vs reproduction. Unfortunately, though, the non-tenure-track is absolute shit as a career path and the only way to get off of it is to publish, publish, publish.

So basically, we just need to convince academia that reproducing research is respectable work and that producing significant original research should not be the only viable career path, and society at large that funding such reproduction is a good use of money. While we're at it, maybe we can solve world hunger and negotiate peace in the middle east. :)

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (2)

PvtVoid (1252388) | about a month and a half ago | (#47430137)

.It is reasonable for scientists in the pay of the public to be required at intervals to publish tts or at least what they were currently doing over the past few months or year or whatever interval is deemed reasonable.

Dear NEJM: For the last six months, I mostly sat around in my office, read Slashdot, and mined Bitcoin on the cluster.

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a month and a half ago | (#47430309)

Here is what I want...

OK, you can want what you like. Hoewver for it to be a practical solution it has to be better than what we currently have and if more expensive, then the money has to be raised from somewhere. It also has to produce usefult results. I do not think your solution meets those criteria.

Therefore I think that what you want is counterproductive.

1. It is reasonable for scientists in the pay of the public to be required at intervals to publish the results or at least what they were currently doing over the past few months or year or whatever interval is deemed reasonable.

Reasonable? Yeah I guess. Pointless? You bet. The EC and RCUK already require this. The documents disappear into a black hole of woe never to be read again. Have you ever requested one? I believe they are a matter of public record and if not, a FOI request would surely work.

Most of what's worth writing already gets put into papers. Not everything (sometimes we abandon papers which ae too hard to get through review or for lack of time), but some of them wind up on arXiv and whatever anyway.

I do not know if it is a coincidence that the EC funding has the strongest reporting requirements and the smallest output pre unit of currency invested.

2. Works thus published should be subjected to reasonable audits to detect fraud, laziness, waste, or incompetence.

Audits are already done on the spending by some of the major funding councils, such as the EC Framework grants. If you meet the deliverables you agreed with the money they gave you're fine.

Laziness? Well, if people are lazy they don't have much to publish. That's easy enough to find by looking at research output.

Fraud is much harder. How do you propose to do these audits?

Incompetence is generally covered reasonably well by peer review. It's not perfect and doesn't have 100% success, but no system is ever prefect.

3. The nature of audits should make it difficult or impossible for conflicts of interest to corrupt the auditing process.

Well, that's just wishful thinking. I don't think it is possible to design an auditing process for use by humans which is corruprion free. Never mind in science just look around at all the other auditing that goes on. Sure you can want this if you like but that doesn't make it possible never mind practical.

Unless you can propose a practical solution for such audits...?

4. The auditing process should be sufficient to determine what is and is not valid science.

5. Reproduction of work obviously cannot be done with all papers however, they should be done with all significant work deemed significant.

6. The deeming of significant or insignificant work could be down to collective or crowd sourced choices made by other scientists to cite a given work or say they found it interesting or significant. When X number of scientists say its significant then someone in the community should be tasked with verifying it through reproduction.

You know this is already how it works right, except for a minor change in the last sentance? If work is deemed significant and interesting, then others will try to build on it. To do that they will naturally replicate it. There's no formal process, but it is nonetheless what happens. No one gets "tasked", they just do it anyway.

And really significant results do attract interest. High temperature superconductivity. Gigantic magnetoresistance. Cold fusion. GFP transfection. Treating cells with acid to gt stem cells.

All of those examples were really interestind and had huge potential for lots of interesting new work. As a result they got a lot of attention which hadthe effect of determining correctness or not. They're just some of the more well known example. In any field there are examples of the same sort of thing. Papers which are significant attract attention because they point the way forward (or not).

Do you have a problem with any of the above?

1 already happens to some extent and is generally pointeless. 2 and 3 are unworkable. 4, 5 and 6 already happen in an informal manner.

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about a month and a half ago | (#47430227)

Reproducing work is often a good thing to set for first-year PhD students to do. If they reproduce something successfully, then they've learned about the state of the art and are in a good position to start original research. If they can't reproduce it, then they've got a paper for one of the debunking workshops that are increasingly attached to major conferences and that's their first publication done...

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (1)

guises (2423402) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429715)

The problem with "publish or perish" isn't the fact that scientists have to eventually share their results, it's the volume of publishing that's expected which gets in the way of actual work. When a scientist has a data set and the first thought is "How many papers can I get out of this?" it's an indication that something is wrong.

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about a month and a half ago | (#47430255)

In the UK, university research departments are assessed base on the Research Excellence Framework (REF, formerly the Research Assessment Exercise [RAE]). Each faculty member is required to submit 4 things demonstrating impact. These are typically top-tier conference or journal papers, but can also be artefacts or examples of successful technology transfer. The exercise happens every four years, so to get the top ranking you need to write one good paper a year. The only incentive for publishing in second-tier venues is meeting other people who might lead to interesting collaborations.

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47429815)

It should be publish or die.

Life is hard. People fail all the time. Sometimes the best you can do is keep on trying.

Should everyone who has ever been in a car accident be permanently banned from driving? If a single student fails a class should the instructor be permanently banned from teaching? If someone commits a crime does that mean that all the police should all be fired for failing to prevent that one crime? If someone dies of cancer at a hospital should the hospital be shut down for failing to cure the patient? Should we no longer "support the troops" because Iraq is still a mess? Should we shut down governments because people are still living in poverty?

Sometimes the best you can do is buy the lottery ticket and hope - particularly when you're doing real science - exploring the unknown in the hope of doing something that no one has ever been able to do in the history of the planet.

So how do you get accountability in something as complex as science? I'd argue that there isn't a simple easy formula - fundamentally you have to build up communities where people know each other and that are united by a desire to advance scientific knowledge.

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429845)

Yeah that's what I was advocating captain strawman... everyone that ever stumbles should be shot in the face with a chainsawgun.

*yawn*

Either read what people write before coming up with a opinion about it or don't press send.

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47429959)

... everyone that ever stumbles should be shot in the face with a chainsawgun.

A non-trivial hypothesis in science can easily take 5-10 years to explore. When you start you have no idea whether the hypothesis is correct - which is the whole point of science: exploring the unknown. But if the hypothesis turns out to be wrong that's a 10 year "stumble". In the current environment it's very hard to publish a failure. And if you don't publish then it can be hard to feed your family - not quite as bad as a chainsaw gun but pretty scary.

You want to live in a simple world where accountability is easy - like counting output on an assembly line. But you just really don't get just how hard science is. I mean, modern scientists are trying discover things that even Einstien couldn't discover but all they get is simple-minded complaining about accountability.

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about a month and a half ago | (#47430053)

I swear to god... were are there so many fucking illiterate people commenting on this thread?

I already said... and at this point it is four times... "if its impractical to reproduce the research then it gets a red asterisk to a little disclaimer that says "no reproduced"."

Read, motherfucker.

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47430463)

The red asterisk idea is pretty lame. For interesting discoveries, rebroadcasters of the announcement wouldn't feel obligated to use it and would generate clickbait. Who decides what is impracticable to be reproduced, is it subjective? If the researcher thinks it could be easily reproduced as long as you rented xyz equipment that costs millions of dollar and a supercollider, he could drop the red asterisk even though to a layman that's ridiculously not reproducible. Would it be in a scientist's best interest to avoid a scarlet asterisk by subjectively saying his/her research is reproducible? What are the chances that grants would start saying you can't have a red-yellow star if you want funding?

I get the feeling you think scientists and associated institutions should eat the costs of this research being done twice by different teams. Pay the scientist $50,000 for research that has to be done twice and thus cost $100,000.

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (1)

shrewdsheep (952653) | about a month and a half ago | (#47430239)

Wrong. The issue is that publishing is considered sufficient.

It should be publish or die. How do you know they're doing anything if they don't publish? they could be reading slashdot all day for all you know otherwise.

FTFY

But as is made clear here, simply publishing and getting it through peer review is clearly not good enough. We need to increase what they have to do to avoid this situation.

For example... maybe one scientist pays another scientist to reproduce his work.

Maybe you have big collections of graduate students that as part of their process of getting a degree get assigned some random papers submitted by scientists in their field and they have to reproduce the work.

Obviously this isn't always possible... but whenever it isn't possible that needs to be put as a giant red asterisk on the paper saying "this work has not been reproduced"...

Do that and you're not going to get as much fraud or laziness.

I think that there is a common misunderstanding about the function of a publication. First and foremost it is a progress report of the scientist. This creates a lot of published noise - no doubt - OTOH it creates something that can be measured. This is absolutely critical to keep the scientific circus running (in a positive way). There are different ways to measure quality (which journal, reading an abstract, reading an article, asking by email) and scientific progress/quality is somewhat orthogonal to the publishing process. If you want to be sure of something be sure you have your act together to judge publications. The system can be gamed but it is not a problem in itself.

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about a month and a half ago | (#47430451)

It should be publish or die (...)

You might want to read this:
http://www.theguardian.com/sci... [theguardian.com]

Re:Wish I could say I was surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47430435)

On the other hand, if we setup a system where pretty much all that matters is how many studies have been accepted, this kind of thing is not surprising.

Chen? Sounds Chinese (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47429267)

So this shouldn't surprise you at all. The Chinese are always cheating the system, bribing people, etc.

Re:Chen? Sounds Chinese (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429391)

So this shouldn't surprise you at all. The Chinese are always cheating the system, bribing people, etc.

He is from Taiwan, not China.

Re:Chen? Sounds Chinese (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47429441)

Go say that in China. See if they agree with the distinction.

Re:Chen? Sounds Chinese (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429533)

Go say that in China. See if they agree with the distinction.

Lisa, soon you'll have a Chinese baby sister who will surpass you academically!

I don't know about that, I'm considered preeeetty smart.

Well Tibet was considered pretty independent, how'd that work out?

s/Tibet/Taiwan
China won't even let MS push out the Taiwanese IME unless you have a specially-flagged build of Windows (which I've never been able to find).

Re:Chen? Sounds Chinese (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429655)

China won't even let MS push out the Taiwanese IME unless you have a specially-flagged build of Windows (which I've never been able to find).

What's the difference between the Taiwanese IME and the Chinese one (assuming you can select Traditional)?

And Taiwan is "protected" by the US, so they'll likely do better than Tibet did.

Re:Chen? Sounds Chinese (2)

Tablizer (95088) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429463)

He is from Taiwan, not China.

You sure about that? Maybe he lied on that also. Hell, maybe he's not even Asian, or a "he".

Re:Chen? Sounds Chinese (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47429605)

If you -- you personally, the country China, or the rest of the world -- want to claim that Taiwan is a part of China, then it cuts both ways. So yes, he is "Chinese". And technically, the majority of Taiwanese people are ethnically Chinese.

So yeah, don't try to differentiate only when it suits your needs. When Taiwan does something good, I'm sure you're the first to jump out and say they're "Chinese".

Re:Chen? Sounds Chinese (2)

backslashdot (95548) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429707)

And what about Hendrik Schön, where was he from?

Or maybe it's not just the Chinese, your brain locks onto fake patterns.

I remember Journal of Vibration and Control! (4, Funny)

RevWaldo (1186281) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429279)

That was one high class bondage mag, right up there with Bizzare and Exotique.

I don't think "peer review" means what WaPo thinks it means...

.

Re:I remember Journal of Vibration and Control! (1)

sd4f (1891894) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429315)

As a mechanical engineer, I've used it. Great cure for insomnia if you need one.

Re:I remember Journal of Vibration and Control! (1)

plover (150551) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429369)

[Citation needed]

Re:I remember Journal of Vibration and Control! (1)

gargleblast (683147) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429477)

Now that's discipline.

Re:I remember Journal of Vibration and Control! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47429631)

Now that's discipline.

Thats what your mom said when i fucked her brains out! Shes into whips and chains you know. The safeword is "trolling".

Re:I remember Journal of Vibration and Control! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47429781)

I will never be able to read Wikipedia the same way ever again.

And lonely women the world over revolt. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47429283)

Demand class action status.

In other news, (2)

Zomalaja (1324199) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429395)

There actually is a Journal of Vibration and Control. Must be some thrilling stuff to read.

Re:In other news, (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47429465)

There actually is a Journal of Vibration and Control. Must be some thrilling stuff to read.

Dull. I prefer GPS World; now that's some timely and relevant stuff.

I love this article! Five Stars! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47429403)

I am not samzenpus.

Dildos and bondage! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47429461)

Yay!

Ah... Chinese (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47429483)

Somehow I'm not surprised it's a chinaman. The Chinese are notorious for publishing anything and everything without concerns for quality control, and indeed will cheat if it means success at the expense of integrity.

Chen-Yuan Chen (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47429529)

There's a lot of weirdness about this story. Firstly, guy's name is Chen-Yuan Chen, not "Peter". Secondly, he works at a teachers' college. Thirdly, he's supposed to be a researcher in methods for using electronics to help people learn, so why would he suddenly start writing a bunch of papers about mechanical systems? In addition to spamming 60 fraudulent papers in a few years, he also had each of the 60 papers cite all the other papers!

And the weirdest thing is that a bunch of right-wing crackpots are coming out of the woodwork to argue that this has some implication for climate change research. The fuck are these people smoking?

Re: Chen-Yuan Chen (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47429593)

First, LOL at the stupid Asian folks giving themselves dual Ching Chong Chang Ching names.

Second, as to the climate change part, good - because you know what makes me doubt a lot of what is said about it? I mean besides the fact that it doesn't seem like the eastern seaboard is going to be underwater within the next few years like they originally said? That supposedly everyone agrees about it except for a tiny few percent. Now, the idiot true believer will say, "so, does that mean that because scientists believe in gravity universally that you are suspicious of them, too?" And the answer would be no, dumbass, because I can release an object mid-air and it falls to the ground. But overall climate change? Nothing but scare tactics so far and the more hyperbole folks throw out, and pretending that the earth hasn't always had cycles and the fanatical "you must believe!" religious nature of it all is certainly highly suspect when you have, as has been pointed out, "publish or perish" and all these "scientists" who agree are really made up of an awful lot of folks just in it for money/recognition like dear Ching Chong Chen there.

Re:Chen-Yuan Chen (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429669)

My first job was for a guy named Marshall Marshall. So it's not only the Chinese that re-use names. That, and it's likely that the two Chen's aren't the same word, but phonetically similar.

Re:Chen-Yuan Chen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47430153)

There's a lot of weirdness about this story. Firstly, guy's name is Chen-Yuan Chen, not "Peter".

That's not weird at all.
Many Chinese who move to the west adopt "western" first names to make it easier for others to remember and say their names. I'm not sure they use it officially (probably not), but as a researcher you can choose how you sign your publications. You can even sign with a pseudonym if you like.

It sounds a bit weird to us that a grown person would just choose a name an have everyone call them that, but I think in the Chinese culture your first name isn't that important anyway - it's the family name that counts.
Also, it's quite convenient. In my previous job I had a Chinese colleague who hadn't adopted a western name, and a lot of us had trouble remembering his name. Even when we did remember it, I'm pretty sure our pronunciation was completely off.
He didn't care. I guess he was just used to it and he was a pretty cool guy to begin with but yeah, it'd make all of our lives easier if he'd just gone with "Peter" like the fraud in the article.

on perfecting the science of sockpuppetry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47429541)

There's a paper to be written, I'm sure.

Re:on perfecting the science of sockpuppetry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47429549)

You're the best, AC! Let me coauthor your paper and I'll suck your sock!

Peer review (-1)

slackware 3.6 (2524328) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429563)

is about getting your buddy to agree with you and now they even have fake buddies. I'm sure this is the only time this happened. Kind of how 93% of scientists believe the earth is flat, or is it colder or hotter or do the buffaloes fart more methane than bison? Peer reviewed scientific papers can be trusted to be factual as much as a Catholic priest can be trusted around a young boy.

scientists are deceitful shits (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47429567)

It's rampant fraud like this that makes honest people hate science. When I was small, I wanted to be a scientist. Then I met some scientists. Asshole spawn they are, all of them.

Re:scientists are deceitful shits (1)

KeensMustard (655606) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429867)

Well, feel free to not use any of the things developed from scientific advances. I hear that caves are comfortable year round, and herbs and grasses picked from the mountainside can make a fine salad!

Re:scientists are deceitful shits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47429911)

No one tell KeensMustard that homestead agriculture and legacy farming was doing quite well until the 20th century, when "scientists" discovered how to improve yields and make it a profitable industry.

Wikipedia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47429673)

Funny, Wikipedia does not mention it yet: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Chen
Must have been peer reviewed out.

Re:Wikipedia (1)

Mike Frett (2811077) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429915)

Change something and watch what happens, It'll be gone in five minutes. Same with the Blu-ray Wiki, post anything true but condemning and check back five minutes later -- poof. "They" get paid good money to keep things in the companies best interest. Which is also why I don't donate anymore to Wikipedia.

Re:Wikipedia (1)

Nonac (132029) | about a month and a half ago | (#47430201)

I don't think that is the same Peter Chen.

"You've got the wrong guy. I'm the Dude, man"

Web of Trust (3, Interesting)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429863)

People should cryptographically sign peer reviews (and their papers). And journals should only trust signing keys that themselves have been signed by respected experts. The more respected you get, the more signatures your keys and papers get.

Re:Web of Trust (1)

Nonac (132029) | about a month and a half ago | (#47430207)

That sounds more like a popularity contest than a peer review system.

Another ring: Method Engineering (1)

Frans Faase (648933) | about a month and a half ago | (#47429939)

There are whole fields within Computer Science, one being "Method Engineering", that basically are one big ring. For your information, "Method Engineering" is about methods for developing software.

'Chen' - now there's a surprise... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47429945)

A corrupt, dishonest, lying, cheating CHINAMAN? Say it ain't so!

Oh, wait... he's 'American', because the nation-wrecking Jews say so...

It's money. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47430295)

The problem is not that researchers have to publish per se. It is the fact that their monetary rewards (e.g., salary) are primarily based on the amount of papers published. Also, having published more gives you a better chance for a assistant / associate professorship.

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