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Significosis: Not the Best for Analysis

BY AARON BARLOW Retraction Watch, one of my all-time favorite blogs, posted an interview today with psychologist John Antonakis, who had identified the five diseases of academic publishing, significosis, neophilia, theorrhea, arigorium and disjunctivitis. I was immediately struck by the first: Significosis is the incessant focus on producing statistically significant results, a well-known problem but one…

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United States of America Frees Oral History

BY ZACHARY M. SCHRAG This is a cross-post of a blog post by Zachary M. Schrag, who published it on his Institutional Review Blog. Schrag, a professor of history at George Mason University, was one of the authors of a 2013 report by a subcommittee of the AAUP’s Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure, Regulation of…

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25th Anniversary of the “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity”

POSTED BY MARTIN KICH Some 1,700 of the world’s leading scientists, including the majority of Nobel laureates in the sciences, issued this appeal in 1992. The World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity was written and spearheaded by the late Henry Kendall, former chair of Union of Concerned Scientists’ (UCS’s) board of directors. INTRODUCTION Human beings and…

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Scholarship Worth Less than the iPhone on Which It Was Written

POSTED BY MARTIN KICH In an article in the New York Times titled “A Peek inside the Strange World of Fake Academia,” Kevin Carey has provided much illustrative detail on the burgeoning business in very dubious academic conferences, impostor academic societies, and predatory journals. Beyond some of the illustrative detail that is often as compelling…

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On Race and Racism Data Matter

BY HANK REICHMAN In the aftermath of the election there has been plenty of discussion, both among academics and in the media, of the role played by “identity” and especially race in the outcome.  Mark Lilla’s much and deservedly criticized New York Times op-ed, “The End of Identity Politics,” got things going.  Among the more…

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Science Is a Kind of Poetry

BY MARTIN KICH If poetry is at its core the effort to give expression to the inexpressible aspects of our experience, then science is often a kind of poetry, or at least provides a complement to the poetic impulse. For science provides both a fundamental challenge to all simplistic notions about our existence and a…