Buy a ticket, play the funding lottery!

Academics and researchers must apply for grant funding. These grants provide the financial support required to carry out the research proposed in the grant. These funds are used to purchase equipment, pay salaries, cover publication and travel costs, etc. Being successful in a national funding competition is a key indicator of success. Not only can the researchers carry out the

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Journal impact factor = reliable research?

Academics and scientists, especially those in administrative positions looking to rate their peers/staff/candidates, have traditionally used impact factors as an indicator of quality and influence. Only the best, most trustworthy and innovative research gets published in journals with high impact factors. At least, that is what they would like us to believe… What is an impact factor? The impact factor

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Research concepts: Overview

An important part of conducting sound science involves interpreting data correctly. Unfortunately, we don’t do that very well. For example, we are fooled by regression to the mean, we report findings when there are none, and we are overconfident about statistical power and significance. As scientists and lay persons, we want to be certain about research findings. But statistics only

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Differences between cohort studies of aetiology and prognosis

Many medical and scientific questions are the sort that cannot be answered using randomised study designs. For example, Does cigarette smoking cause lung cancer?, What is the risk hip fracture in adults?, and Do rats indirectly destroy coral reefs? Scientists often use observational cohort studies to answer these types of questions. In cohort studies, (1) a sample of subjects or

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Exploring the metrics and incentives of scientific productivity

The pressure to publish and current incentives that reward highly-cited discoveries leads to research findings that are not reproducible and inadvertently results in the natural selection of bad science. It is difficult to encourage scientists to take effort in conducting reproducible and rigorous research without better incentives. What kinds of metrics and incentives might reward scientists for conducting sound science?

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