Tag Archives: bmc

We really don’t care what statistical method you used

Update: as pointed out in the comments, the amusing error in this article has been “corrected” (or at least, “edited away”). Thanks for your interest.
Update: I note that this article is now “Highly Accessed” ;)

An integrative analysis of DNA methylation and RNA-Seq data for human heart, kidney and liver
BMC Systems Biology 2011, 5(Suppl 3):S4

(insert statistical method here). No, really.

With thanks to Simon J Greenhill and Dave Winter.

Can a journal make a difference? Let’s find out.

Academic journals. Frankly, I’m not a big fan of any of them. There are too many. They cost too much. Much of what they publish is inconsequential, read by practically no-one or just downright incorrect. Much of the rest is badly-written and boring. The people who publish them have an over-inflated sense of their own importance. They’re hidden behind paywalls. And governed by ludicrous metrics. The system by which articles are accepted or rejected is arcane and ridiculous. I mean, I could go on…

No, what really troubles me about journals is that they only tell a very small part of the story – the flashy, attention-grabbing part called “results”. We learn from high school onwards that a methods section should be sufficient for anyone to reproduce the results. This is one of the great lies of science. Go read any journal in your field and give it a try. It’s even the case in computation, an area which you might think less prone to the problems in reproducing wet-lab science (“the Milli-Q must have been off”).

We have this wonderful thing called the Web now. The Web doesn’t have a page limit, so you can describe things in as much detail as you wish. Better still, you can just post your methods and data there in full, for all to see, download and reproduce to their hearts content. You’d like some credit for doing that though, right?

So if you do research – any kind of research – that involves computation, your code is open-source, reusable, well-documented and robust (think: tests) and you want to share it with the world, head over to a new journal called BMC Open Research Computation, which is now open for submissions. Your friendly team of enlightened editors awaits.

More information at Science in the Open and Saaien Tist. Full disclosure: I’m on the editorial board of this journal and was invited to write a launch post.

More video in science communication

A bit slow to notice this one: BioMed Central YouTube channel debuts:

We’re pleased to announce the launch of our new BioMed Central YouTube channel, which brings together videos of our authors and editors talking about their work, BioMed Central’s journals, and the benefits of open access publishing.

Video is an increasingly important way for researchers to communicate their results, and BioMed Central is at the forefront of developments in this area. We encourage authors and editors to upload suitable videos to YouTube and contact us so that we can add these videos to the BioMed Central channel.

The YouTube channel is here. I wonder what standard of comments to expect ;) .