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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Research Game


Research improprieties have always been with us, but we live in a day where (luckily) they are exposed with greater regularity (rather than remain hidden).
A long, I think important, commentary (and not heavy on mathematics) from statistician Deborah Mayo, this morning, giving a whistleblower's perspective on a well-known scandal emanating from one Duke oncology lab. Ought be read by anyone interested in ethics, statistics, and reproducibility in research:

http://tinyurl.com/lf5jq6a

Toward the end she writes this before giving a counterview:
"I have recently received letters from people who tell me that any attempt to improve on statistical methodology or to critically evaluate -- in a serious manner -- people’s abuses of statistical concepts, is an utter waste of time and tantamount to philosophical navel gazing. Why? Because everyone knows, according to them, that statistics is just so much window dressing and that political/economic expediency is what drives kicking data into line to reach their pre-ordained conclusions."
And I dare say, as problems with research methodologies go, this represents but one of the iceberg tips toward which one must remain vigilant.


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