Archive for editorial

public research blues

Posted in University life with tags , , , , on November 21, 2019 by xi'an

Nature snippets

Posted in Books with tags , , , , , on July 8, 2018 by xi'an

Besides this remarkable picture of a fox and an eagle fighting for a rabbit, posted in Nature of 7 June, I noticed [in Nature 24 May] an editorial by Richard McEalreath, author of the remarkable Statistical Rethinking, about a paper by González-Forero & Gardner developing a model for brain vs body growth, incorporating social and ecological challenges. The goal was to fit the actual growth in body mass and brain mass. As in the one below.Without reading the supplementary material, I cannot tell how much statistics was involved in preventing the “best fit” to turn to overfitting. But Richard McEalreath points out that this modelling goes away and presumably beyond the “purely statistical”, including regression approaches, without elaborating more on the methodological aspects.

a lifetime word limit…

Posted in Books, Kids, pictures, University life with tags , , , on November 20, 2017 by xi'an

“Exceptions might have to be made for experts such as statisticians and bioinformaticians whose skills are required on many papers.”

One of these weird editorials periodically occurring in Nature. By Brian Martinson, suggesting that the number of words allotted to a scientist should be capped. Weird, indeed, and incomprehensible that Nature wastes one of its so desperately sought journal page on such a fantastic (in the sense of fantasy, not as in great!) proposal. With sentences like “if we don’t address our own cognitive biases and penchant for compelling narratives, word limits could exacerbate tendencies to publish only positive findings, leading researchers to explore blind alleys that others’ negative results could have illuminated” not making much sense even in this fantasy academic world… As for the real world, the list of impossibilities and contradictions stemming from this proposal would certainly eat all of my allotted words. Even those allotted to a statistician. The supreme irony of the (presumably tongue-in-cheek) editorial is that the author himself does not seem particularly concerned by capping his own number of papers! (Nice cover, by the way!)