Mozilla Science Lab Week in Review, May 18-24

The Week in Review is our weekly roundup of what’s new in open science from the past week. If you have news or announcements you’d like passed on to the community, be sure to share on Twitter with @mozillascience and @billdoesphysics, or join our mailing list and get in touch there.

Blogs & Articles

  • Daniel Shanahan wrote an article for the LSE on reimagining scientific publishing as ‘living documents’ that update their findings as data becomes available. Shanahan observes that by leaving the results of a scientific work an open and evolving question, this model of publishing could move the focus off of results, which are easily impacted by chance and systematics, and instead highlight the salience of the question being asked and the quality of the analysis processing data as it is received.
  • Christian Jacobs et al submitted a paper studying the five-year adaptation and iteration of an undergraduate programming course run by the Department of Earth Science and Engineering at Imperial College London; in it, they explore how lessons learned resulted in a highly effective primer course in programming for scientists as part of formal undergraduate curriculum.
  • Gaël Varoquaux wrote a thoughtful exploration of the value and impact of software publications in research. Varoquaux argues that while code publication is crucial for reproducibility, quality is best served when we focus on reusing software that has a high standard of quality set to it, with thorough tests and documentation – even if that software doesn’t implement the latest or most esoteric ideas.
  • Glatard et al have published an article in PMC examining the numerical stability of neuroimaging analyses across operating systems. The authors attribute substantial differences in results to differences in implementations of floating point arithmetic across operating systems, and note the most substantial effects arise in longer analysis pipelines.
  • Neil Chue Hong has curated and published a comprehensive list of journals for publishing papers focused on scientific software – please get in touch if you have more to add!

Retractions & Falsifications

  • Donald Green has submitted a retraction request to Science for the much-read LaCour (2014), a social science paper he participated in last year. The retraction request came after the release of a report by Broockman et al detailing the irregularities they found in the original work when they attempted to replicate and extend it, and concluding that the original primary data was faked. In the wake of media attention on the issue, Donald Green told Retraction Watch that he had never seen or reviewed the primary data collected by LaCour.
  • Nautilus published an article on the prolific and fraudulent publication history of Yoshitaka Fujii, and the statistical techniques that exposed his fakery.

Meetings & Conferences

  • FORCE11 is convening a new working group on software citation, seeking to create a “consolidated set of citation principles in order to encourage broad adoption of a consistent policy for software citation across disciplines and venues.”