Content tagged as 'Academic'

Here is a list of all the content that has been tagged as academic.

Science doesn't have a problem

Everywhere I look, people are saying there is something wrong with Science.

Dealing with negative trial results

Welcome to the world of clinical trials. You’ve got a great idea that has real potential to improve health. But I have some bad news for you. Are you ready?

No, we can't censure people for ad hominem attacks in scientific discourse.

“Individuals engaging in ad hominem attacks in scientific discourse should be subject to censure.” From Issues with data and analyses: Errors, underlying themes, and potential solutions. Andrew W. Brown, Kathryn A. Kaiser, and David B. Allison. PNAS March 13, 2018. 115 (11) 2563-2570; published ahead of print March 12, 2018. That is a remarkable suggestion.

Can social media be useful for scientists?

I have been blogging and using Twitter as a scientist since 2010. By that point it was pretty obvious that internet was radically changing how scientists could engage with the public and each other, and thus science blogging had become quite popular. Like a lot of people, I wanted to write about how studies from my areas of expertise were reported in the media, and my first substantial blog post was about a large epidemiological study of homebirths in the UK. Twitter was a natural companion to blogging, since you could use it to share what you were writing. Eight years later I still blog and tweet. From time to time this comes up in conversation with colleagues, and they often ask if I really think it’s worth my time.

New workshop for citizen scientists

I am happy to announce that in the new year we will be running a series of workshops for Cork Citizen Scientists. In contrast to the small series of lectures we ran this year, the new workshops will be completely focused on supporting local citizen scientists in their efforts to answer real questions with real data.

Sex differences

Remember the whole Google Memo thing that happened a hundred years ago? Its central argument (as far as I could tell) was that the large male to female sex ratios we observe in Tech can be reasonably explained by small differences in the sex-specific probability distributions of innate characteristics. Thus Google’s attempts to increase diversity were silly at best, perhaps harmful or unjust, and largely due to a culture of political correctness that was oppressive to “conservative viewpoints”.

Response Heterogeneity

A colleague in food science recently sent me a narrative review outlining some of the challenges in their field. One of these was “extensive heterogeneity in the response to increased intake [of flavonoids]”. So-called response heterogeneity is often highlighted to justify the need for precision medicine, but there is a problem with this: the studies that are used to demonstrate response heterogeneity simply don’t.

Getting an interview

To get a job, you have to get an interview. Who knows what will happen at that point, but securing an interview is at least partly in your own hands. Having just finished shortlisting the applicants to a postdoctoral research post I recently advertised, here are my thoughts on how to get your foot further in the door. None of this is original. It’s just fresh on my mind.

In Defense of DAGs

Professors Nancy Krieger (NK) and George Davey Smith (GDS) recently published an editorial in the IJE titled The tale wagged by the DAG: broadening the scope of causal inference and explanation for epidemiology. In it, they argue that causal inference in epidemiology is dominated by an approach characterised by counterfactuals (or potential outcomes) and directed acyclic graphs (DAGs); and that this hegemony is limiting the scope of our field, and preventing us from adopting a more useful, pluralistic view of causality.

Your science is justified by the question, not the answer

Registration of clinical trials, prior to any patient recruitment, is now common. Though trial registrations often omit the important details regarding their proposed analyses (despite advice to the contrary), most trialists seem to agree, at least in principle, that you should transparently describe your plans for clinical trial data before they are collected. Unfortunately, this remains a foreign concept in other areas of clinical and public health research.