In November 2014, 150 early-career researchers and students met in Washington D.C. for OpenCon, organized by the Right to Research Coalition, to talk about the movement to open science up – be it through Open Access to published literature, Open Data, or Open Educational Resources. The three day event offered lectures and panels on the state of the open today, but also served as an incubator for the future of the whole debate that spans universities, research funders, and publishers. It was an opportunity for the already experienced advocates and academics to interact with the younger generation of students and researchers interested in these issues. Continue reading
Ethical boards are in place to evaluate the ethical feasibility of a study by weighing the possible negative effects against the possible positive effects of the research project (Barret, 2006). When designing your research project, it could be that you need to apply for ethical approval. This is a challenging task as there are strict guidelines to abide to when drawing up a proposal. This is where your supervisor can help – with their experience, they have a clear idea of what would be accepted for someone applying for ethical approval for an undergraduate or master study. There is a great importance to abiding by ethics, in research and in practice.The importance lies in the fact that care is taken for the participant, researcher and wider society. It creates a filter for good standard of research with as minimal harm being done as possible. Continue reading
‘You love your iPhone. Literally.’ ‘This is your brain on politics.’ ‘Overclock your brain using transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS).’ There are many other claims in psychology which have been publicised by the media, yet remain unchecked by academic experts. Peer-reviewed publications – papers which have been checked by researchers of similar expertise to the authors – are produced very slowly and only occasionally make instant impacts outside the walls of academia. In contrast, media publications are produced very quickly and provoke immediate reactions from the general public. Continue reading
As many of us enter the world of science having little experience in peer review it is relevant to describe it in more detail and provide some useful tips about the process. By the time some of us finish university, we might have some general idea and knowledge about how peer review works by submitting own manuscripts and, hopefully, getting published. However, what happens if a person is about to become a reviewer oneself? This changes perspectives considerably. Thus, many early career scientists who become reviewers have not only insufficient experience, but also lack knowledge on the matter. That is why it is important to share some useful insights on how reviewers’ work looks like and on what one should be focused on when going through a big number of submitted texts in order to choose the best ones.
Graphics and figures we design are the first thing editors and other readers look at when browsing through our paper. Hence, it is prominent to be efficient in conveying complex information so the included data would be more concise and clear than the descriptive text itself. If you do it right, not only your chances for publication will increase, but it will as well help your audience to understand your ideas, objectives and results in a better way. So, in short, keep them interested. Want to know how to do it? I bet that the answer is yes. So, follow me! Continue reading
Have you ever wondered which scientific journal was the first of its kind? Or why there are scientific publications at all? In this post you will learn how far we have come since the first journals, what it means to communicate science today and what the future might hold for traditional journals and publishers.
Probably these issues crossed your mind, but you never found the time to dig deeper. I don’t blame you. It’s tough to be a young and upcoming researcher these days. Today’s advances in scientific literature are so fast-paced that it can be hard to keep up, let alone ask such remote questions.
At the same time I think you will agree that it may be useful (or, just plain interesting) to have a broader perspective on how scientific journals came to be and how this might help us understand today’s publishing landscape. This article will guide you through the different stages of science communication, going back to ancient civilizations, the invention of the printing press, all the way to a present where to “publish or perish” is the name of the game and restrictions in the access to science are an harsh reality. Continue reading
I can’t keep secrets. I’m not referring to my friend’s hush-hushes or any information that may harm others in any shape or form. I am talking about lessons and experiences in life that are worth sharing with others. For example, when I made a mistake of choosing an overly complex research question for my dissertation, I decided to write an article to tell everyone about it, so that others won’t make the same mistake as I did. This habit of mine, I suspect, comes from having been immersing myself in the world of scientific research for almost a decade. You see, the very basis of a researcher’s job is to develop new knowledge that contributes towards human’s understanding of the world, and to share these new information with everyone.
Some of you might have asked themselves this question a couple of times when checking out the literature of a specific field. Imagine the following situation: You have completed your research and now you want to compare your results to research done previously. You finally found the suitable article, have the necessary effect sizes/power and can start comparing. But wait: Who actually tells you that the reported results are correct? Would you happen to notice if the results had been influenced by factors which are sometimes not even visible to the authors themselves? The probability of you detecting them, are tiny, especially as you only have certain information of how the study has been done and what elements have been removed. It is hard to digest, but most research findings, even those reported in high quality journals, are incorrect. Try to imagine the impact this situation has on your education and your research such as research in general.
In the following post I want to discuss multiple factors of why and how research results can be false and want to outline some aspects of how the situation might be improved. The main aspects are thereby retrieved from Ioannidis essay (2005). Continue reading
Publishing in an APA journal might seem like an unattainable goal for someone who is still an undergraduate or master student. However, if you have good research, and supervisors who support you, there is a great chance you will achieve your goal. I was lucky enough to perform my final year dissertation with two fantastic supervisors, and it was this research that later went on to become the journal article being published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance. However, it was a very long road to travel down which I will re – travel with you in the following paragraphs of this post sharing the experiences I had.
The past couple of years have been somewhat tumultuous for psychology. With the revelation of several high profile cases of fraud, the field has come under scrutiny, not least from psychologists themselves. Most notably, Simmons, Nelson and Simonsohn (2011) showed how the amount of possible decisions in the research process and flexibility researchers normally have can make finding significant findings increasingly likely (see their paper for recommendations to counteract this). It is likely that there are many cases of false positives (or Type 1 error) in the psychological literature (and other bodies of literature). Such errors in the literature, whether resulting from fraud or cultural norms in research practice, are difficult to remove due to the combination of the reluctance of journals to publish exact replications (see previous post on publication bias) and the reluctance of journals to publish null results (which exacerbates the file drawer effect). Thankfully, some initiatives have been established to counter this risk to the credibility of psychology in the form of systematic efforts at carrying out and publishing replications. However, negative attitudes towards replication remain. Many established researchers do not see any incentive in replication (Makel, Plucker & Hegarty, 2012). It is a waste of time that could be spent on their own projects and is perceived as more likely to cause frustration in their colleagues then be rewarded with a publication. This is where you, the students, can step in. Carrying out a replication is a great way for a student to hone his or her research skills, while providing a valuable service to psychology. Before exploring the role students could have in this issue, let’s examine exactly what replication is, the situation of replication in psychology currently, and the efforts that have been made to advocate for it.