But haven't won the award (or made many friends) yet (Congratulations, you're a parasite!):
How would you feel if you were called a parasite in a respected scientific journal? If you’re Drs. Erick Turner and Kun-Hsing Yu, the answer is: elated.
The two scientists have each received an inaugural Research Parasite award, for which they’re honored in the latest issue of Nature Genetics.
The tongue-in-cheek honor comes from the mind of computational biologist Iddo Friedberg, and was brought to life by Casey Greene, a pharmacologist at the University of Pennsylvania. The idea was a response to a now-infamous editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine that referred to those who picked over the bones of previously published studies as “research parasites.”
The award has the serious aim of fostering “the craft of data reanalysis for novel ends.” And the particular brand of parasitism that Turner and Yu demonstrated shows just how useful the rehashing of others’ findings can be. ...
Data sharing is not a new idea. Since 2003, the National Institutes of Health has required grantees who receive at least $500,000 per year in funding to share their results. And many journals demand that authors make their data public as a prerequisite of publication, although those polices are often not enforced.
“Research parasites help to maintain the self-correcting nature of science,” Greene and his colleagues wrote in Nature Genetics announcing the winners. “Scientists who perform rigorous parasitism put scientific work to the test, and their results may support or challenge what we think we know.”
This year’s contest generated 41 applications and the group is already accepting applications for 2018. Greene says he’s pleased with the results so far, but he fears that some scientists may be turned off by the satire. “I’d like to transition to the positive framing of the award — awards for rigorous secondary data analysis — and to work harder to encourage members of underrepresented groups to apply,” he said.
Turner said science does not value secondary data analysis as much as it should. “My cynical sense is that one’s academic ‘success’ is largely measured in terms of how much grant money you bring in — not only for your work but also for the institution via indirect costs,” he told STAT. ”Funding agencies seem enamored with chasing the next big thing, even though the ‘gold in them thar hills’ often turns out to be fool’s gold. The research parasite who reveals that fact may be viewed by many as a party pooper.”
Hat tip: Retraction Watch
I've written more comments than most over the years. My first publication was a comment. Much of my research time over the past 6 months has been dominated by this one. And there's been this and this and this and this. Not all are reanalyses of the authors' data but the same jerkish behavior is evident in each. It seems that if something doesn't seem quite right then you should try to point it out.