JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Fake science on fake fish from James Cook Uni?

Third World Science with First World Funding

Is James Cook University a grants machine or a research institute?

James Cook University reviews ex-student’s ‘fishy’ findings, by Graham Lloyd, The Australian

Oona Lönnstedt has been prolific, writing alarming papers on microplastics, acidification, and reef degradation. But her work looks like a trainwreck. One paper has been withdrawn, in another it was “found that Lonnstedt did not have time to undertake the research she claimed.” She’s been found guilty of fabricating data on the microplastics study. Now Peter Ridd has pointed out that the photos of 50 Lionfish appear to contain a lot less than 50 fish. Images have been flipped, spun or “manipulated” so the same fish appears more than once.

James Cook has done what any ambitious, money-hungry grant troughing institute would do, a very slow investigation of allegedly corrupt behaviour and a very quick sacking of the honest researcher who threatens to expose them. Any respectable Science Minister would freeze all grants to James Cook until this situation was resolved and reversed.

Send your thoughts to The Hon Karen Andrews. Contact her here: karen.andrews.mp AT aph.gov.au. There is a crisis in Australian science. Who is going to [...]

Which scientists are bad at sharing? 92% of environmental scientists

Sharing data is one of the most essential principles of good science and has led to remarkable advances in areas like genetics. But one recent study showed the worst sharers were ecologists, as only 8% shared their data. This new paper by Soranno et al describes sharing data through publicly available datasets as “ethically obligatory”. (Did we need a paper to say that?) And she further claims environmental scientists are out of date. (Which all seems rather bleedingly obvious to anyone in the climate debate.) Soranno argues a cultural change is needed. Indeed.

It’s good to see recognition here of the value of citizen scientists, but the paper misses the elephant in the room. There is no recognition that the largest pool of citizen scientists on the planet are often formally trained, experienced, and seeking data from public institutions on such controversial, dangerous areas as tree rings and thermometers. Nor that the scientists with the worst sharing habits are not the ones who don’t release data, but the ones who ignore FOIA requests, then threaten legal action as well.

One day perhaps social scientists will recognize the real ethical fire burning in science.

 

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