Rein in the four horsemen of irreproducibility + Netflix show spikes suicide rate?

Rein in the four horsemen of irreproducibility

EXCERPT (Dorothy Bishop): . . . I strongly identify with the movement to make the practice of science more robust. It’s not that my contemporaries are unconcerned about doing science well; it’s just that many of them don’t seem to recognize that there are serious problems with current practices. By contrast, I think that, in two decades, we will look back on the past 60 years — particularly in biomedical science — and marvel at how much time and money has been wasted on flawed research. How can that be? We know how to formulate and test hypotheses in controlled experiments. We can account for unwanted variation with statistical techniques. We appreciate the need to replicate observations.

Yet many researchers persist in working in a way almost guaranteed not to deliver meaningful results. They ride with what I refer to as the four horsemen of the reproducibility apocalypse: publication bias, low statistical power, P-value hacking and HARKing (hypothesizing after results are known). My generation and the one before us have done little to rein these in. [...] It is wasteful to conduct studies that are underpowered, but researchers have often treated statisticians who point this out as killjoys ...

[...] The problems are older than most junior faculty members, but new forces are reining in these four horsemen. First, the field of meta-science is blossoming, and with it, documentation and awareness of the issues. We can no longer dismiss concerns as purely theoretical. Second, social media enables criticisms to be raised and explored soon after publication. Third, more journals are adopting the ‘registered report’ format, in which editors evaluate the experimental question and study design before results are collected — a strategy that thwarts publication bias, P-hacking and HARKing. Finally, and most importantly, those who fund research have become more concerned, and more strict. They have introduced requirements that data and scripts be made open and methods be described fully.

I anticipate that these forces will soon gain the upper hand, and the four horsemen might finally be slain. (MORE - details)

U.S. youth suicides up after Netflix show, cause unclear: study

INTRO: Suicides by young Americans rose by nearly a third in the month following the 2017 debut of popular Netflix television drama series “13 Reasons Why,” in which a teenage girl kills herself, a U.S. study showed on Monday. The researchers said the study had limitations and they could not make a direct causal link between “13 Reasons Why” and the increase in suicide rates or rule out other factors. Another, previous study had found watching the program was associated with a reduced risk of self-harm for some young adults.

The rate of suicide in April 2017 was 28.9 percent higher among U.S. youth ages 10 to 17 than would be expected based on suicide counts and trends observed in previous years, the National Institutes of Health-supported (NIH) study said on Monday. It found rates of suicide for 10- to 17-year-olds were also higher in the rest of the year, resulting in an additional estimated 195 suicide deaths from April to December 2017 versus expectations based on past data. The increase was driven primarily by young boys, they said. (MORE)

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