The Sassy Scientist – Comment – Reply – Comment – Reply – …

The Sassy Scientist – Comment – Reply – Comment – Reply – …

Diane is on top of her research. Not only that, her education is unparalleled and with this background she is therefore in a perfect position to adjudicate the works of others:

A scientist I know published a paper drawing the wrong conclusions from their own research. How should I let them know?

Dear Diane,

As per the title of this very post, you simply write a comment. Submit this to the journal of said paper. Get that published, so the world knows how smart you are, and how wrong they were. Then, you just have to wait ever so few moments until a comment appears in the linked section of your knowledgeable scribbling. Obviously, they reiterated their own faulty logic and uttered erroneously that YOUR logic was faulty. Based on their own data and interpretation, of course. Now, your hands are tied. You’ve got to respond again. In even clearer terms. Restating that they misinterpreted their own research. A deplorable act indeed, yet one that one must take to ensure that the scientific community will definitely follow the correct path of logical fortitude. And so the vicious circle continues …

The aforementioned paragraph illustrates the most apt way of dealing with it. You just have to get your voice out there, right? What’s the point of simply ignoring the paper? You’ll miss out on showing your insight and prowess to your peers. Still, the data does look appealing and there was nothing wrong with the acquisition. Just the interpretation. Another option would be to cite the paper when you’re incorporating the data in your own study, then take a couple of paragraphs to outline your vision on their misinterpretation, and then provide your own (correct) interpretation. After which you’ll reiterate that they were wrong, and you are right. Only downside to this approach: another couple of paragraphs that you have to scratch from other sections of your paper as you’ll not be able to meet the word count cut-off otherwise. All in all, the first option still comes out a winner. Definitely better than just sliding into their DMs and let them know. Definitely easier than a wordy rant on this blog. Definitely more eloquent than a tepid Twitter reply.

Yours truly,

The Sassy Scientist

PS: This post was written without the need for any replies. Just comments.

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I am currently employed at a first tier research institute where I am continuously working with the greatest minds to further our understanding of the solid Earth system. Whether it is mantle or lithosphere structure and dynamics, solid Earth rheology parameters, earthquake processes, integrating observations with model predictions or inversions: you have read a paper of mine. Even if you are working on a topic I haven’t mentioned here, I still know everything about it. Do you have any problems in your research career? I have already experienced them. Do you struggle with your work-life balance? Been there, done that. Nowadays, I have only one hobby: helping you out by answering the most poignant questions in geodynamics, research and life. I am waiting for you right here. Get inspired.

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