I am very interested in understanding the aspects of current social science research that are generally accepted as being problematic (by researchers and other commentators).
I regard problematic aspects as those which at least some academics regard as as sub-optimal and present as problems which a discipline (or academia in general) should endeavor to address.
The problematic nature of the concepts (i.e., names for practices) that I have listed below can be inferred from the references that I have linked to them; which draw attention to issues that the authors feel are detrimental to research (either in general or within a specific area of inquiry).
Plagiarizing: researchers using another writer's words without proper citation (Loui 2002)
Self-plagiarizing: researchers reusing their own work without proper citation (Loui 2002)
P-hacking: researchers engaging in different processes until they find significant results (Simmons et al. 2013)
Harking: researchers hypothesizing post-results so that they appeared to have predicted something you they did not (Kerr 1998)
Data dredging: researchers searching through data to find anything that is significant (Smith and Ebrahim 2002)
Underpowered studies: researchers conducting studies with research designs which lack sufficient power (Maxwell 2004)
Lack of relevance: researchers conducting research that has little practical relevance (Bolton and Stolcis 2003)
Lack of studies which replicate other studies: researchers conduct too few studies which attempt to replicate prior findings (Ioannidis 2005)
Selective publishing of results: researchers running multiple studies and only reporting the most favourable ones (Turner et al. 2008)
Unjustified self-citation: researchers citing their own work without valid reason (Gami et al. 2004)
Publisher paywalling: journals make much current research [some publicly funded] becomes paywalled and inaccessible to most people (Teplitskiy et al. 2015)
Dissemination delay: journals' review cycles are too slow and delay publication (Smith 2010)
Editorial favoritism: journal editors may be biased toward accepting certain researchers research (e.g., due to familiarity, or prestige) (Yoon 2013)
Significance favoritism: journals have excessive preference for significant results: Most journals will generally only accept research with significant results (Fanelli 2011)
Self-citation favoritism: journals have excessive preference to publish papers that cite prior publications (Tighe et al. 2011)
Blind faith in peer review: Despite being almost universally adopted by prestigious journals, peer review doesn’t result in higher quality research and has many known flaws (Smith 2010)
Which concepts (if any) from the list above would you modify, add, or remove?
For instance, do any of the concepts mentioned have alternate names that I should know about (e.g., data dredging and harking are similar), or better, more accepted names that I should use instead?
Similarly, there any concepts (i.e., practices) that I have failed to include in my list or any which you think should be removed from the list? Maybe some research says that actually a given practice is good for academia, or there is additional research which highlights issues that I do not mention?
If you, based on your personal experiences, or opinions, can rule out, or contribute even a single concept then that would be a very valuable answer.
It would be an even more valuable answer if you could provide evidence (e.g., a published source) to argue why the concept is, or is not, considered to be problematic within social science research.
Thank you :)
Bolton, M. J. and Stolcis, G. B. (2003) 'Ties that do not bind: Musings on the specious relevance of academic research', Public Administration Review, 63(5), 626-630.
Fanelli, D. (2011) 'Negative results are disappearing from most disciplines and countries', Scientometrics, 90(3), 891-904.
Gami, A. S., Montori, V. M., Wilczynski, N. L. and Haynes, R. B. (2004) 'Author self-citation in the diabetes literature', Canadian Medical Association Journal, 170(13), 1925-1927.
Ioannidis, J. P. (2005) 'Why most published research findings are false', PLoS medicine, 2(8), e124. Kerr, N. L. (1998) 'HARKing: Hypothesizing after the results are known', Personality and Social Psychology Review, 2(3), 196-217.
Loui, M. C. (2002) 'Seven ways to plagiarize: Handling real allegations of research misconduct', Science and Engineering Ethics, 8(4), 529-539.
Maxwell, S. E. (2004) 'The persistence of underpowered studies in psychological research: causes, consequences, and remedies', Psychological Methods, 9(2), 147.
Simmons, J. P., Nelson, L. D. and Simonsohn, U. (2013) 'Life after p-hacking', in Meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, New Orleans, LA, 17-19.
Smith, G. D. and Ebrahim, S. (2002) 'Data dredging, bias, or confounding: they can all get you into the BMJ and the Friday papers', BMJ: British Medical Journal, 325(7378), 1437.
Smith, R. (2010) 'Classical peer review: an empty gun', Breast Cancer Res, 12(Suppl 4), S13.
Teplitskiy, M., Lu, G. and Duede, E. (2015) 'Amplifying the impact of Open Access: Wikipedia and the diffusion of science', arXiv preprint arXiv:1506.07608.
Tighe, P., Rice, K. J. and Gravenstein, N. (2011) 'Artifactual increase in journal self-citation', Anesthesia & Analgesia, 113(2), 378-382.
Turner, E. H., Matthews, A. M., Linardatos, E., Tell, R. A. and Rosenthal, R. (2008) 'Selective publication of antidepressant trials and its influence on apparent efficacy', New England Journal of Medicine, 358(3), 252-260.
Yoon, A. H. (2013) 'Editorial Bias in Legal Academia', Journal of Legal Analysis, 5(2), 309-338.