Mathematics in everyday life

The Case of Diederik Stapel, part II

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I just read this excellent commentary (thanks to Andrew Gelman for pointing it out). It made me realize that the conclusion of my post on Diederik Stapel may have been somewhat one sided. As Sanjay Srivastava states (and you should definitely read the article yourself), journals can be either groundbreaking or definitive, but not both. Groundbreaking journals will publish articles that have the potential to change our thinking about old problems and open up new avenues of research. But there is are inherent risks with such research – there is a higher chance that the results will not be verified.  Therefore such articles will not be definitive — definitive articles are likely going to appear in more mundane, lower-impact journals.

So let me then add the following to my previous post: There is nothing inherently wrong with journals like Nature and Science soliciting the “coolest” new research and publishing it in an easily digestible format. It is up to us to follow Sanjay Srivastava’s advice that “Our standard response to a paper in Science, Nature, or Psychological Science should be “wow, that’ll be really interesting if it replicates.”

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