Posts

Why is my internet out? Insights on logic and confounders from a dear nerd

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I wanted to know more about DAGs ( directed acyclic graphs ) and how they help people that design experiments account for confounders and other nuisances. This is a lot to do with counterintuitive logic and the many mistakes that observational clinical trials still suffer from. It seemed obvious to me that someone that taught themselves computing and code, who could explain this well and clearly to someone like me, who hates computing, could do so for everybody. Hence, my first guest post... ladies and gents, by Francisco Amaral .      Why is my internet out?   Hypothesis : it's my (internet service provider) ISP's fault. Let's call ISP; they agree, it's their fault. There was an equipment failure on their end that caused connections to and from my router to fail because a certain machine was not working.   Here, we have a simple causal relation — it is physically impossible for data to be transferred through machines that are not

New year, new experiences

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I started the year teaching... I had never taught part of an online workshop before. I attended many and may even have thought about it, but I wasn't sure I had anything new to say. It turns out, I kind of did.  I focused on how to best write the methods section of a research paper in the life sciences. To some people, this is the easiest section to write because it does not involve much “story”, it is instead a description of all the steps taken that led to the study’s findings.  A clear methods section impacts editorial evaluation and readers’ understanding. Transparency creates trust and is the key to ensuring the credibility of the research. Reproducibility relies on detail, so never  methods should never be summarized or abbreviate d without giving full details in a discoverable supplemental section. I learned a lot in the last 3 years. Regarding writing, publishing, and science communication. But there are concepts that researchers still have not fully adopted, either by lac

Supporting others that care

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It is us! We are supporting others because we care about open access! OASPA is a diverse community of organisations engaged in open scholarship. Its varied membership provides a proven venue for productive collaboration. Open access stakeholders include not only scholar-led and professional publishers of books and journals, but also infrastructure and other services. I believe that authors and other content providers, such as graphic designers and independent consultants, should be informed about the organizations that influence policy-making in their area of expertise. Although my scientific publications have significantly declined in volume (but more are a-coming...), I work with and for authors, helping them navigate their publication journey, be it through help with writing, research design, or publication. It is good to have the help and support of OASPA and Reviewer Credits, and to have learnt so much with Bio-Protocol and Cactus Communications . Soon it will be Love Me

A letter to Santa

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I've been a good reviewer, not given in to unwarranted comments on laguage, not given in to unjustified criticism, and always submitting my reports on time.  I think I deserve some gifts 😝 Peer reviewer recognition wouldn't go amiss.  Here are some thoughts on how to make the academic reviewers in your life a bit happier, relaxed, and less prone to behaving like Reviewer 2 . 1. Institutions should allocate time for peer review within their faculty appointments The time it takes to do a good job with a peer review is often underestimated. ⏳ Given that this work is not financially compensated, at least time for it should be granted as part of the expected commitment to the scholarly community. 2. Graduate courses could teach peer review, much like they teach statistics There are techniques, concepts, and skills required to perform peer review. It is important t

Sex influences the heart 💜

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Literally, I'm not being romantic or lyrical here. Patients' gender-related characteristics may partly explain traditional sex differences in risk factors for cardiovascular disease (such as for acute coronary syndrome ). The graph below shows that sex and gender are partly independent (which means, not totally separate but also not the same thing). Additionally, individuals with high feminine gender scores were twice as likely to be re-admitted to hospital and to experience worse prognoses following discharge after heart attack. Adapted from Pelletier, Roxanne PhD; Ditto, Blaine PhD; Pilote, Louise MD, MPH, PhD.  A Composite Measure of Gender and Its Association With Risk Factors in Patients With Premature Acute Coronary Syndrome. Psychosomatic Medicine 77(5):p 517-526, June 2015. DOI: 10.1097/PSY.0000000000000186 Now, I'm not saying that men act all tough in the presence of male doctors... but they do. Nor am I saying that birthing mothers feel more at ease to scre

Back to school

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Why are abstracts so important? A lot can be gleaned from the title and abstract . Most readers only go through the first page to gauge whether an article is of interest to them. ➜ These sections are therefore critical.  The abstract should clearly describe the main idea of the article; however, in papers "produced" by papermills , the abstract often does not match what is represented in the title. Other times, authors add keywords to titles/abstracts ( keyword stuffing ) to pass scope checks, but the actual content of the article is unrelated to the keywords. These discrepancies are even the main cause for declarations of concern by publishers. It is increasingly difficult to discern reality from fiction. A lot of this is caused by the ever increasing rise in submitted papers and lack of formal standards or guidelines for peer review. Moreover, the notion of reviewing as a professional obligation fails to sufficiently recognize or reward the burden it imposes. The rest

The soul-crushing audit of special issues

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What's so special about this? Special issues are collections of papers centered around a subject of special interest and are organized and led by subject experts who take on the role of guest editor of the special issue. All submissions (...) are discoverable within the collection. MDPI A special Issue is a collection of articles that concentrates on a topical research area within the scope of a journal. Special Issues are targeted, timely, and insightful collections, meaning that they are often very well received. Hindawi A special issue focuses on a specific area of research that has a broad appeal and falls within the aims and scope of the journal. A special issue also provides an excellent opportunity to review a particular theme, examine previously unaddressed aspects, propose and develop new approaches, exchange perspectives and encourage new lines of research. Elsevier Special or themed issues can be a great way to focus attention on a topic of crucial interest. A good sp