Sanjay Srivastava Alexa Tullett And Simine Vazire public
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In 2012, Rink Hoekstra received two emails on the same day. One was from a journal editor, telling him that a manuscript was being rejected based on the recommendations of two reviewers. The other was from one of those reviewers, complimenting the paper and congratulating him on a job well done. The reviewer, Fiona Fidler, discovered that her revie…
 
Academics are under enormous stress right now, raising the possibility of a rising rate of burnout. Longtime structural trends in higher education have increased pressures for demonstrable productivity. On top of that are a global pandemic, resistance and backlash to calls for racial justice, and unstable politics in the U.S., the U.K., and elsewhe…
 
Academics love awards. We give out career awards, mid-career awards, early-career awards. We give out awards for the best paper, the best theory, the best teaching, the best service. But what function do all those awards serve? And are we the better for having them? In this episode we talk about how awards fit into the academic ecosystem. How do re…
 
Scientific journal articles have a lot of numbers. Scientists are smart people with even smarter computers, so an outsider might think that, if nothing else, you can count on the math checking out. But modern data analysis is complicated, and computational reproducibility is far from guaranteed. In this episode, we discuss a recent set of articles …
 
How does psychology's response to the replication crisis fit into a broader history of science? In this episode we discuss a paper by sociologists Jeremy Freese and David Peterson that takes on that question. Are "epistemic activists" in psychology redefining what it means to be objective in science? Does a focus on reforming incentives mean we vie…
 
The upcoming academic term will be unusual, to say the least. The global pandemic led to emergency shutdowns in March, and it is likely that many colleges and universities will continue teaching partially or wholly online. And protests against anti-Black racism in the United States and elsewhere have led to institutional statements about taking an …
 
Scientific knowledge is always contingent and uncertain, even when it's the best we have. Should that factor into how we communicate science to the public, and if so, how? We discuss a recent article about the effects of communicating uncertainty on people's trust in scientific findings and scientists. When should and shouldn't scientists communica…
 
The COVID-19 pandemic is creating major and serious disruptions to just about everything, and higher education is no exception. In this episode we talk about how our work has been affected by measures to slow down the coronavirus. How have we adjusted to remote teaching? What effects have the social distancing measures had on our research? How are …
 
In recent years there has been a lot of talk about public trust in science - how much there is, in what ways, whether we deserve it or not. In this episode, we discuss an article by historian and philosopher Rachel Ankeny that asks whether "trust" is even the right concept to be talking about. What does it mean to trust an abstraction like "science…
 
Many important questions about cause and effect are impractical to answer with a randomized experiment. What should we do instead? In this episode we talk about doing causal inference with observational data. Has psychology's historical obsession with internal validity led it, ironically, to think about causal inference in an unsophisticated way? C…
 
The path from theory to study consists of a thousand decisions, big and small. How and how much do these decisions matter? We discuss a recent crowdsourced meta-study that tried to find out. Fifteen teams of researchers were given 5 different hypotheses and told to design a study to test them, then they ran all the studies and got widely varying re…
 
How important is expertise in conducting replications? Many Labs 4 was a large, multi-lab effort that brought together 21 labs, running 2,220 subjects, to study that question. The goal was to compare replications with and without the involvement of the original authors to see if that made a difference. But things got complicated when the effect the…
 
The Graduate Record Exam - the GRE - is widely used in graduate school admissions. In recent years however, a number of graduate programs, including a few in psychology, have stopped requiring it in a movement that has been dubbed "GRExit." In this episode we discuss the arguments around using the GRE in graduate admissions. What is the evidence fo…
 
In our annual end-of-year episode, we talk about noteworthy reflections and events from the year that just passed. Alexa reflects on breakups, and wonders why we don't take them more seriously as a significant disruption to other people's lives. Sanjay talks about hitting a low point and deciding to finally do something about it. And Simine talks a…
 
Peer review is a major part of how science works today. In this episode we talk about how we approach doing peer reviews. How do you distinguish between differences in approach or preference - "I would have done it a different way" - versus things that you should treat as objections? How much weight do you put on different considerations - the impo…
 
To get your PhD you have to do a dissertation. For some this is an important product that demonstrates your ability to produce original research. To others, it's a vestigial ritual and a waste of time on the way to becoming a productive scholar. In this episode we discuss dissertations - what they've been in the past, what they are today, and where…
 
Speaking up about injustice and bad behavior in a professional setting - as a witness, or as the target of it - is hard. It's uncomfortable, it's difficult, and it can generate backlash and other risks for yourself and your career. In this episode, we talk about that moment when people finally decide to say something or do something. Simine shares …
 
Academics give a lot of talks. Job talks, conference talks, colloquium talks, brownbag talks, pub talks. In this episode we talk about talks. How do you approach different audiences and formats? How do you manage a format or audience where interrupting with questions is the norm? How, and how much, do you prepare for different kinds of talks? How d…
 
Scientists have to follow a lot of rules. We have IRB rules, journal submission rules, university rules - lots of rules. But some of the most important rules in science aren't rules at all - they are norms. Guiding principles that shape the work we do. In this episode, we discuss a classic paper by the sociologist Robert Merton on 4 norms that gove…
 
The three pillars of academic work are research, teaching, and service - in that order. But service is incredibly important for universities and professions to function well and for academics to contribute to their communities. In this episode we talk about how we think about service. How do decide what service to do, and how much? How do you manag…
 
In the past decade, scientists in psychology and elsewhere have changed a lot in how we evaluate what makes research replicable, robust, and credible. New theories and findings in metascience and methodology - and repopularization of old ones - have given us new ways to think critically about research. But what do we do when these concepts and argu…
 
Part of academic life means talking to new people about yourself and your work - whether it's on a job interview, at a conference, or casual conversations outside of academic settings. In this episode we talk about talking to strangers. How do you answer default academic small-talk questions like "tell me about your work?" How do you shake out of t…
 
Editors of scientific journals have a lot of power. For one thing, journals are the main way that scientific work is distributed, so editors' decisions control the flow of information among scientists and to the public. For another, publications are probably the single most consequential product in evaluating scientists for jobs and career advancem…
 
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