Category Archives: Philosophy

Allergy research – waste of time

A waste of time – said about another field but applies to allergy research as well (when reading the review request of “Allergy” today)

It’s a problem in science in general. Scientists need to be published which means they need to work on things that their peers are extremely familiar with and can recognize an advance in that area. So, that means that they all need to work on the same thing. The thing they work on… there’s nothing to encourage them to work on things that are practically useful so you get just a whole lot of research which is minor advances and stuff that’s been very highly studied and has no significant practical impact.

Tyrannei der Intimität (Sennett)

der Freitag:

In seinem 1977 erschienenen Buch „Verfall und Ende des öffentlichen Lebens. Die Tyrannei der Intimität“ betrachtet Richard Sennett, ein US-amerikanisch-britischer Soziologe, den kollektiven Rückzug aus dem Öffentlichen … Für unsere heutige Zeit konstatiert er die damit zusammenhängende Tyrannei der Intimität..

Das betrifft auch akademische Leben: Bei Corona waren die meisten bei mir im Wohnzimmer und ich in ihrem. Aber ob das der Beziehung zuträglich ist?

Die menschliche Erfahrung beschränkt sich immer mehr auf zwischenmenschliche Beziehungen der nächsten Umgebung, sodass den unmittelbaren Lebensumstände eine überragende Bedeutung zukommt. Gesellschaftliche Fragestellungen nach Herrschaft und architektonischer Gestaltung öffentlicher Räume, die über den eigenen Lebenshorizont hinausweisen, verlieren hingegen an Gewicht.

Data available? Forget it!

Bergeat 2022

Data were available for 2 of 65 RCTs (3.1%) published before the ICMJE policy and for 2 of 65 RCTs (3.1%) published after the policy was issued (odds ratio, 1.00; 95% CI, 0.07-14.19; P > .99).

Danchev 2021

Among the 89 articles declaring that IPD would be stored in repositories, only 17 (19.1%) deposited data, mostly because of embargo and regulatory approval.

Gabelica 2022

Of 3556 analyzed articles, 3416 contained DAS. The most frequent DAS category (42%) indicated that the datasets are available on reasonable request. Among 1792 manuscripts in which DAS indicated that authors are willing to share their data, 1670 (93%) authors either did not respond or declined to share their data with us. Among 254 (14%) of 1792 authors who responded to our query for data sharing, only 122 (6.8%) provided the requested data.


Nature will jetzt ethischer werden

Nature schreibt in einem neuen Artikel über die 1964 Ethik Konvention von Helsinki und den 1979 Belmont Report

But these are generally silent about the benefits and harms of academic research whose conclusions could affect groups of people that haven’t directly participated. Examples include research that could lead to people being stigmatized, discriminated against or subjected to racism, sexism or homophobia, among other things. Such work might be used to justify undermining the rights of specific groups, simply because of their social characteristics. Guidance developed by Springer Nature editors aims to fill this gap in the frameworks.

Die Kommentare zu diesem Vorschlag sind nicht sonderlich positiv. Denn letztendlich sind die @Nature Argumente nur vordergründig ethisch — sie ideologisieren vor allem Wissenschaft als “woke”.

Was ist denn schon “potentieller” Schaden und wer definiert ihn? Letztlich ist doch jedes wissenschaftliche Ergebnis dual use: Kernspaltung, Gene Editing und natürlich auch Epidemiologie  und AI.

Deep fake image fraud

Doing now another image integrity study, I fear that we may already have the deep fake images in current scientific papers. Never spotted any in the wild which doesn’t mean that it does not exist…

Here are some T cells that I produced this morning.

Continue reading Deep fake image fraud

Real collaborations

I have taken part in so many collaborations – on institute level, on a national and on EU level. But usually these collaborations are mainly there on getting monies not in getting any real progress.

So I am very much intrigued by a project in a completely different area – sound localization in the brain – that is simply based on common interest. It includes a great description including a video, Python notebook, discussion forum and is open to everybody who wants to contribute. I wish this would have been possible also in allergy research (where not even published data of the consortium are available for reanalysis).

Academic age

Ever heard of this term? Here it comes

Another feature that was rated useful was evidence of applicants’ ‘academic age’. This was defined as the number of full-time-equivalent (FTE) years for which they’d worked in academia and was calculated from the year of their first academic publication, rather than the year they got their graduate degree.

So while the new Swiss granting scheme looks really nice, I expect that other funders will use the idea and divide impact factor by academic age…

Why recent allergy congresses failed

Maybe allergy societies, journal editors and conference organizers never grasped the idea of unconferences

An academic conference is a traditional platform for researchers and professionals to network and learn about recent developments and trends in a particular academic field. Typically, the organizing committees and sponsors decide the main theme and sub-topics of the conference and select the presenters based on peer-reviewed papers. The selected speakers usually share their research with a large audience by means of presentations and posters. However, the most stimulating discussions generally take place over coffee breaks when attendees can interact with each other and discuss various topics, including their own research interests, in a more informal manner, while expanding their own professional networks. An emphasis on facilitating such informal/networking interactions is a central focus of “unconventional conferences”—or “unconferences.” Continue reading Why recent allergy congresses failed

Science I have come to learn …

is as political, competitive, fierce, a career as you can find, full of the temptation to find easy paths (Paul Kalanithi, When breath comes air, 1977-2015)

Responsibility for algorithms

Excellent paper  at about the responsibility for algorithms including a

broad framework for involving citizens to enable the responsible design, development, and deployment of algorithmic decision-making systems. This framework aims to challenge the current status quo where civil society is in the dark about risky ADS.

I think that the responsiblity is not primarily with the developer but with the user and the social and political framework ( SPON has a warning about the numerous crazy errors when letting AI decide about human behaviour while I can also recommend here the “Weapons of Math Destruction” ).

Being now in the 3rd wave of machine learning, the question is now already discussed (Economist & Washington Post) if AI has an own personality.



The dialogue sounds slightly better than ELIZA but again way off. We clearly need to regulate that gold rush…

PubPeer Statistics

For a forthcoming article, I need some statistics to illustrate how PubPeer performs.  AFAIK know there is only one report from 2021 so  I had to try something by my own.

PubPeer submissions until 23 April 2022

Continue reading PubPeer Statistics

More PubPeer Pearls

It’s always interesting if we can find a discussion under a PubPeer article with more than 3 comments. Elisabeth Bik collected some of these interesting #PubPeer Pearls at Twitter while I am starting a new collection here.

The longest thread that I remember is this one with 290 comments around a retracted article while my most appreciated PubPeer author Continue reading More PubPeer Pearls