What we read this week (6 September)

Welcome to Things we read this week, a weekly post featuring articles from around the internet recommended by BMJ Labs.

Publishing

Peer review

  • Elsevier Connect has a write up of the  Elsevier’s Research Funders Summit in Combating bias, preserving research integrity – it’s all part of scientific review including the following comment from Dr. Sally Amero at NIH: “Some of the things we’re dealing with now include threats and bribes to reviewers or against reviewers … cabals and networks of people across the country who are looking out for each other’s welfare, embellished bio sketches, reciprocal and requested favors. Incomplete conflict of interest certifications is becoming more and more of a concern. Leaks of information before the meeting, inappropriate access to our secure review site, and applications being shared outside of our review meeting.”

Discovery

Conferences and dissemination

And finally…

Great article about statistics in the New Yorker. It covers Shipman, statins, and aspirin:

“The dangers of making individual predictions from our collective characteristics were aptly demonstrated in a deal struck by the French lawyer André-François Raffray in 1965. He agreed to pay a ninety-year-old woman twenty-five hundred francs every month until her death, whereupon he would take possession of her apartment in Arles.

At the time, the average life expectancy of French women was 74.5 years, and Raffray, then forty-seven, no doubt thought he’d negotiated himself an auspicious contract. Unluckily for him, as Bill Bryson recounts in his new book, “The Body,” the woman was Jeanne Calment, who went on to become the oldest person on record. She survived for thirty-two years after their deal was signed, outliving Raffray, who died at seventy-seven. By then, he had paid more than twice the market value for an apartment he would never live in.”

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