Friday, May 17, 2013

Hey, that's not the right data!

Some of you may have seen this James Hicks article in The Scientist, where he shows a graph that seems to correlate high notices of retractions with low NIH grant success rates. Interesting idea, right?

Unfortunately, Nature reporter Richard Van Noorden (the collector of some of the data used in the graph) notes that Professor Hicks did not use the most relevant data for his retractions (i.e. US retractions, funded by the NIH) for his graph. When you do, the correlation is not nearly so clear.

I agree with Richard that the hypothesis is sound (i.e. as it gets more difficult to get funded, the incentive to cheat goes up), but it remains unproven. 

1 comment:

  1. Did you see this column in the new Nature?