My Open Access roundup for 2015: A year that access negotiators edged closer to the brink.
Pylori Story concluded with The Microbe Revolt: about the rise, fall, and rise of Helicobacter Pylori. It's my first attempt at a full comic strip.
My 10 most-read posts in 2015: they were mostly about women and sexism in science, science skills, and statistics. Thanks for the reading and encouragement!
My first comic strip! It's called Pylori Story. #1 is Acid Attack! Tune in each day for more installments of stomach-churning terror!
A randomized trial of online cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) depression was widely reported as showing it doesn't work. I've written a post on websites for anxiety and depression at Absolutely Maybe, so I looked into it carefully to see whether that post needed revision. I concluded it didn't (but added an update note to the post). I commented on the reasons at PubMed Commons.
While researching for a major super-sekrit project for Absolutely Maybe, I came across a woman scientist on Wikipedia's timeline of immunology. Her name is Eva Klein, and she didn't have a Wikipedia page, but whoever put her on the timeline had slated her as needing one. (That's what the red links in Wikipedia mean.) Turns out her husband had a page, but not her. There was a photo of her and husband, where he was named and she wasn't.
Yet, she's considered one of the founders of cancer immunology - she led the discovery of natural killer cells in the 1970s, no less, after developing cell lines in the 1960s. Klein is now 90, and she's had an utterly fascinating life. And the blank spaces for her on Wikipedia have been solved: I've made her a Wikipedia page. (And if you get the urge to follow suit, there's another woman with a red link on the immunology timeline: Katherine McDermott, for adjuvants in 1942.) And here's that photo of the Kleins in 1979:
Eva Klein worked with mice. Ironically, in the morning I'd updated my cartoon and 2014 posts on why 2 out of 3 claims from animal research don't pan out for humans! You can reach them both from here on tumblr. Eva Klein's story is a great example, though, of just how important the 1 out of 3 that do pan out are!
9 PubMed Ninja Skills: Search, slash & collect! The joys of searching PubMed's 25 million biomedical citations.
New Statistically Funny! More Than Average Confusion About What Mean Means Mean - a gentle intro to standardized mean differences.
Science and the Rise of the Co-Authors: from the typical wolf in the 17th century - to breaking the 5,000-author-paper in 2015. We still aren't getting this right (and then there's "the jackass factor"). First post for the month at Absolutely Maybe.
Plus The perils of data bingo! Lots of data + multiple testing = many statistical illusions. An old favorite refreshed and posted to Tumblr.
My picks for milestones in the history of science journalism over at PLOS Blogs: Curiosity to Scrutiny.
The annual international Cochrane meeting is in Vienna this year - and I had the (daunting!) privilege of being the middle speaker in a plenary session with John Ioannidis and Ben Goldacre. The session is on YouTube. I uploaded my slides into Slideshare here. And I expanded on one of the issues I touched on there in a post at Absolutely Maybe: Why Aren't We All Machine-Friendly Researchers? (Check that one out if for no other reason than the cartoon: I think it's one of my better ones.)
My latest post at MedPage Today is about the evidence and patient issues with individual performance data on surgeons and ProPublica's new Scorecard: What's the Score on Surgeon Scorecards?
And here's a quick "for and against" between me and orthopedic surgeon Charles Mick (spoiler alert - I'm against): Surgeon Scorecard: Two Views.
Over at Tumblr: The Trial Acronymania Menace!
And the Tim Hunt controversy erupted again, as the handling of complaints to some organizations ended. To catch up on that, check out the update at the bottom of my post, The "Un-Calm" After the Tim Hunt Storm. This was also accompanied by further rounds of allegations about me and my posts. (I haven't been monitoring this recently, so perhaps it never really abated much and it only seems like a flare-up to me because I saw it!) And more of them in the comments section of that post, too. By (a bit of) popular demand, I added an update of major media pieces since I left off in August (although casting a wider net).
If you're interested in inspecting the anatomy of some of this - the emergence of conspiracy theories and entrenched conflict in real time - I detailed this a bit in an update at the end of my original Tim Hunt Timeline. With an increasing drift of accounts of the events of that storm, and to save myself time answering so many questions, I dug out the details of all the eye witness accounts I assessed originally - and explained the methods I used and the rationale for them: that's here in this Supplementary File.
And back to normal: thinking about health research. I got to participate in the wonderful OHRI's 10th Annual Clinical Research Training Course in a very cold and brightly colored Ottawa. I uploaded the slides from my session on equity, applicability and efficiency in health research here.
Many trials end with a whimper. Some end with a bang. A few weeks ago that happened with SPRINT, a trial to lower blood pressure further than ever before. A trilogy of posts:
Latest cartoons added to Tumblr: Researchers - Don't Become a Statistic!, The Forest Plot Trilogy - A Gripping Thriller Concludes, and on the right side of the angels in Heaven's Department of Epidemiology.
And The "Un-Calm" After the Tim Hunt Storm...tracking the end of the major media cycle and its aftermath.