Skepchick Quickies 8.16


Amanda works in healthcare, is a loudmouthed feminist, and proud supporter of the Oxford comma.

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  1. Amanda,

    I don’t think most people are aware of role women played in science throughout history. So I’m glad that blog exists.

    1. It’s neat seeing some names I’m not familiar with.

      If you like a good lady scientist biography, I really enjoyed Passionate Minds about Emilie du Chatelet. She was a mathematician during the 1700s and was just generally awesome.

  2. Reproducability initiative = cool, with caveats: A lot of research is funded by industry these days, so I’m pretty sure you’d have a hard time getting the lawyers to OK sending stuff out to make sure it was reproduceable early on in your research, and in places with specialized equipment (like the one I work, where some of the lab kit is one-of-a-kind), it may be impossible without paying for them to get duplicate kit.

    Still, cool. I’ve lost track of the number of blind alleys I’ve gone down from following the leads papers that I’m now pretty much certain were wrong, and this promises to help prevent such things from repeating.

    1. I’m with you on this. The whole thing, as I’ve seen it written, makes me super skiddish. It seems like they’re questioning the validity of the structure of the studies themselves (which opens a whole gooey nasty mess for anti-science advocates).

      In many cases I think the problem is more likely to be found in a reformation of the publishing industry and the forces within scientific publishing. I won’t put all my findings in one paper because having 2 well cited pubs is better than one for my tenure packet. But that means that someone looking to reproduce my results may only have half the information they need. Or the limitations on publication length and citation requirements means that the actual contribution of my paper gets gutted and lost in the editing process (I’ve thrown so many hissy fits over this!).

      If done in a fair way that points out the real problems without opening the door to anti-science people then good. Admittedly this is exactly what the purpose of scientific publishing is supposed to be but papers reproducing existing results don’t get funded/published.

      I also have to pick nits with the fact that they reduce all science down to quantitative studies with this concept but that’s a personal thing for me :)

      1. This is why I’m really fond of the ‘unlimited supporting information’ format that some journals are going to so you can stick all your results that weren’t quite big enough to go in the paper itself but are still relevant in support of your conclusions there. Having more than a two-sentence description of the experimental procedure is very helpful. :)

        Stuff like All Results Journals are also a good idea, but I’d prefer to see big name journals drop a bit of the publication bias for positive results and give more time to papers that cast doubt on previous findings.

  3. The Science Chicks one is a good blog (though wouldn’t it be better to name it “Women of Science from History”?). Definately one to visit often.
    Maybe even show it off to my young cousin, for inspirational purposes.

    I recall one of the figures, Hypatia, from “Cosmos”.
    I found it one of the more tragic tales from history. I wonder what Sagan himself felt about it.
    To me, it also brings up anger toward religious fanatics.

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