Science is great but scientists are still people

Time to read again the famous Kornberg article

In parlous times, some truths need to be remembered and repeated. When science is under attack from many quarters, we need to be reminded of the distinctions between the extraordinary power of science and the fallibility of those who practice it. We are aware of prodigious feats in the arts, law, and religion that endure for ages. Yet none of these disciplines offer individuals, as science does, the opportunity to contribute to a progressive understanding of nature. In persuading the public to support scientists in their attempts to achieve a more rational and effective understand-ing of ourselves and of the world about us, we must be clear in distinguishing the uniqueness of science as a practice from the human qualities of its practitioners.


Die DFG hat etwas Neues (FAZ)

„FOGD“, also „Forschungsorientierte Gleichstellungs- und Diversitätsstandards“. Man ist auf den regenbogenbunten Zug der Diversity aufgesprungen. Wir zitieren, in Bezug auf FOGD, von den Internetseiten der DFG: „In den Blick zu nehmen sind […] Diversitätsdimensionen, wie Geschlecht und geschlechtliche Identität, sexuelle Orientierung, Alter, ethnische Herkunft und Nationalität, soziale Herkunft (beispielsweise unter folgenden Aspekten: ökonomische Situation, Herkunft aus nicht-akademischer Familie, Migrationsgeschichte), Religion und Weltanschauung, Behinderung oder chronische/langwierige Erkrankung. Auch das Zusammenkommen mehrerer Unterschiedsdimensionen in einer Person (Intersektionalität und seine Bedeutung) sollte berücksichtigt werden.“

Nun sind also nach Saad , Jäger und Florin, auch Pfeilschifter und Wicht an dem Thema angelangt

Das Diversitätsmanagement schlägt um in eine neue Totalität, nämlich den hobbesschen bellum omnium contra omnes, den Kampf um das jeweils schlagkräftigste (Opfer-)Narrativ und um die Macht über die Konstruktion der dazugehörigen Sachverhalte

wobei die Inhalte sekundär sind.

I never read the introduction of an article

I never read the introduction of an article, seldom the discussion section, but I always scan the methods and sometimes (if the methods warrant it) also the tables and figures. It seems that I am not alone here.

The survey indicated that individuals at different career stages valued different sections of scientific papers, and skill in reading the results section develops slowly over the course of an academic career.

So why do we still write papers with an introduction that is longer than 1 sentence?

Way too many meta-analyses

It is no secret – there are way too many meta-analyses while  original research is missing [blog, paper, paper, paper, paperjournal, journal). Books are about the method are also abundant. Sure, armchair research can be done without getting dirty.

Narrative reviews are much less appreciated nowadays although most of the current “systematic reviews” are basically useless as they are frequently written by “new kids on the block” and not by experienced scientists.

If the  current pace continues, we will soon have more reviews than original studies… As another author put it forward it is a “bloated mushroom of evidence”.


PPPR is not only the abbreviation of “pandemic preparedness prevention research” but also of “post publication peer review”. PPPR is particular important in a scenario described in an excellent commentary of an excellent article that highlights the strategy

for a “team of rivals” in which you “invite your academic rivals to work with you.” It still depends too much on the goodwill and honesty of people with too much to lose. Also, Kahneman, who is quoted/paraphrased, seems to be missing the point when he says that “With competing hypotheses and theories in play, the rivals will quickly spot flaws such as hypothesis myopia, asymmetric attention or just so storytelling, and cancel them out with similar slants favouring the other side.”

No, they wont’t, they would have to leave the club. Without independent PPPR any bias cannot be discovered as can be seen in the classical examples of synchronized groups in GWAS or farming studies –  crushing opponents by hugging.

AI threadening academia

cheating is increasing

In March this year, three academics from Plymouth Marjon University published an academic paper entitled ‘Chatting and Cheating: Ensuring Academic Integrity in the Era of ChatGPT’ in the journal Innovations in Education and Teaching International. It was peer-reviewed by four other academics who cleared it for publication. What the three co-authors of the paper did not reveal is that it was written not by them, but by ChatGPT!

a Zoom conference recently found

having a human in the loop is really important

Well, universities may loose credit

But a new report by Moody’s Investor Service says that ChatGPT and other AI tools, such as Google’s Bard, have the potential to compromise academic integrity at global colleges and universities. The report – from one of the largest credit ratings agencies in the world – also says they pose a credit risk.
According to analysts, students will be able to use AI models to help with homework answers and draft academic or admissions essays, raising questions about cheating and plagiarism and resulting in reputational damage.

What could we do?

There is an increasing risk of people using advanced artificial intelligence, particularly the generative adversarial network (GAN), for scientific image manipulation for the purpose of publications. We demonstrated this possibility by using GAN to fabricate several different types of biomedical images and discuss possible ways for the detection and prevention of such scientific misconducts in research communities.

Imagedup v2

I have updated my pipeline for single (within) & double (between) image analysis of potential duplications just in case somebody else would like to test it. No data are uploaded unless you click the save button.


result at

Country analysis of PubPeer annotated articles

Just out of curiosity, after Scihub now an analysis of papers commented at the PubPeer website. Pubpeer is now also screened on a regular basis by Holden Thorp, the chief editor of Science…

Unfortunately I am loosing many records for incomplete or malformed addresses, while some preliminary conclusions can already be made when looking at my world map.

pubpeer.R grey indicates no data, black only a few, red numerous entries.

A further revision will need to include more addresses and also overall research output as a reference.

Continue reading Country analysis of PubPeer annotated articles