ask a scatterbrain: sharing code and data

This from an anonymous correspondent:

Making data and code available for other researchers is an important tool for promoting replication, discovering errors, and advancing research agendas. However, how to handle the ownership situation? In this case, a junior scholar who worked for a long time on a tricky piece of code, using publicly available data, was asked to provide a copy of the code. A while later, an original piece of research appeared using the code, with appropriate citation to the original work. However, if the two researchers had been colleagues surely the programmer would have been a co-author on the work. What is the best way to handle this in general? Is there some way to communicate reasonable expectations at the point the code is shared, or should one reserve the right to review and join the work later, or what?

the witch hunt and inquisition meme

Per Smith first alerted us to the emergence of a new meme in the debate over Mark Regnerus’s article: the “witch hunt and inquisition” meme, apparently first posted by George Yancey and roundly debunked before Yancey moved on to other pursuits. Christian Smith also advanced the claim, first in a set of vitriolic emails sent to various scholars and now in a breathless j’accuse in the Chronicle charging that the only reason for the critiques was sociology’s “progressive orthodoxy.”

Continue reading “the witch hunt and inquisition meme”

the 2012 asa blog party: covered in awesomesauce

Please join us at the annual ASA blog party:

Saturday, August 18, 2012
Harry’s Bar in the lobby of the Magnolia hotel
818 17th street between Stout and Champa Streets (just 2.5 blocks from the convention center)

This year, Jenn Lena and Gina Neff have graciously invited us to join their party to celebrate the publication of their brilliant books:

Banding Together Venture Labor

Banding Together: How Communities Create Genres in Popular Music by Jennifer C. Lena

Venture Labor: Work and the Burden of Risk in Innovative Industries by Gina Neff

There are even rumors of appetizers being provided for this fabulous event, and drink specials abound. I look forward to celebrating these great books, seeing old friends and meeting newer blog readers. I hope to see you all there.

bad decisions and fairness

I have often discussed in class an example from Lani Guinier’s 1994 book, The Tyranny of the Majority, that deals with notions of fairness and rules of the game. Consider a road race in which the first-place finisher wins $10,000, and all other participants are banned from future competition. Consider, by comparison, a road race in which the first-place finisher wins $1,000, the second-place finisher $999, the third-place $998, and so on down the line. Continue reading “bad decisions and fairness”

personally, i would classify the zombie apocalypse as an ‘unreal dystopia’

I just noticed the ASA meeting logo. Am I the only one who thinks the font and hand coming out of the ground looks like the opening screen for a zombie movie? Just replace the upside-down globe with a brain and I’m there, with popcorn.

(Also, discussion over at orgtheory about the Official ASA 2012 app. There’s some unfortunate technical snarkiness about how it isn’t really a “mobile” app because in order to work it will need to be hooked up to one of the various Internet tubes that will be set up around convention center.)

could we prevent some scientific retractions?

Fabio Rojas and others have been discussing retractions over on our buttoned-up nemesis, and making the excellent point that the presence of scientific retractions is good for science. However, it can only be good for science insofar as bad or even falsified science takes place to begin with. Continue reading “could we prevent some scientific retractions?”

putting my class online

So… I’m thinking of putting my Intro class online this year. Two questions: 

1.) Any resources I should look into for doing this? Things you’d recommend and/or avoid? 

2.) Any words of wisdom to push me over the edge one way or the other? Is this the greatest thing I’ll ever do, or the worst? Likely in between, of course. But experiential lessons would be most appreciated. 


why do we sign away our copyrights, again?

This isn’t the first time we’ve puzzled over the wacky world of academic journals, but was reading this  discussion of signing away copyright vs. licensing a journal to publish your article, the gist of which is that for this particular journal these are equally poor choices:

If I have signed away all rights as a condition of publication, the copyright becomes meaningless.

And, as much as I appreciate the tip about how to get a better deal from this one publisher, I began to wonder why we are stuck here at all. We are the editors, the editorial board, the authors of the articles, the book reviewers (and book authors), and we are also the consumers who buy the journals. Why on earth are we complicit with a system that requires us to sign away our copyright?

I am particularly miffed with myself, having just signed my own copyright away for my most recent publication. And I even more miffed at the Canadian Sociological Association, who owns the journal and presumably signed some contract that allows Wiley to hold all the copyrights of all of our work. When are we going to put a stop to this nonsense? And where do we begin?