Food for thought: Rens van de Schoot

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Besides providing a nutritious lunch, we’d like to give you some food for thought at National PhD Day 2016. Join us at lunchtime in the Kanunnikenzaal for a special discussion on questionable research practices by Rens van de Schoot

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Temptation Island: Do you need questionable research practices to survive academia? By Rens van de Schoot, associate professor at the department of methods & statistics at Utrecht University | rensvandeschoot.com | @rensvdschoot

Description of Food for Though session

Science has always been a dynamic process with continuously changing rules and attitudes. While innovation and new knowledge production are essential in academia, making sure the best practices in research are widely known is vital. However, rules and traditions on responsible research practices differ greatly between research disciplines and often different rules apply in different fields. Most of these rules are subjective and in fact ‘unwritten’ that makes them difficult to identify, differentiate and grasp. The current debate about appropriate scientific practices is fierce and lively and has moved from academia to the public domain, resulting in many public opinions, not solely driven by objective information, but instead loaded by emotions. Many Early career scientists feel uncertain of how to act and who to talk to.

The Young Academy of the KNAW (www.dejongeakademie.nl/) has started a project titled ‘The living room of science: promoting responsible research practices through an interactive discussion’. The ultimate goal of this project is to create an accessible online open platform for early career scientists (ranging from Phd students to young assistant professors) to acquire information about appropriate research practices. We hope that arguments like “this is how we always do it”, or “get used to it, this is what it takes to publish your paper” will no longer be used.

The lunch session at the National PhD Day can be seen as a part of this larger project. I will present the results of a vignette study among PhD-students in The Netherlands and Belgium about responsible research practices (carried out in collaboration with PNN). Topics are data fabrication, deleting outliers to get significant effects, salami slicing, gift authorship and excluding information from your paper. Together we will search for ways to improve current research practices by means of an interactive discussion. So, bring your phone with you!

For more information about the programme, go to the programme page.