(data not shown) Hypocrite

Apr 25 2013 Published by under Issues in Science, Late-stage PhD student

Earlier this week, I spent a good chunk of time complaining about data not being shown in two papers I had read. Normally, I'd be apt to take their word for it because "data not shown" results tend to be inconsequential footnotes to the larger story and conclusions. This time it was different, though. The data not being shown was being used to make claims that were pertinent to a little thing I've been working on called my thesis. It didn't help matters that the results that were published were less than convincing. I really would have liked to see the data--I mean, isn't that what Supplemental Information is for? Some have suggested that I contact the authors to see if they'd send me the data but I'm not sure how to craft that correspondence without broadcasting a big, fat "Yo, I don't believe you."

Well anyway, now's a good time as any to check myself since I'm totally guilty of pulling the "data now shown" card, too.



5 responses so far

  • Bill Hooker says:

    Oh hell, my past papers are riddled with that shit. I didn't know any better then -- but now I do. So the key is to push people gently towards the "show ALL the data" mindset without making them feel all judged. Even though I totally AM judging them. 🙂

  • Potnia Theron says:

    You also have to remember that lots of times journals with word count and figure number limits make it tough to include everything. I've also had too many papers where reviewers say "take that figure or table out, its a waste of space". Very frustrating.

  • AK says:

    A PD in my grad lab would always say: "data not shown equals data not done." I personally like the journals that don't allow you to have DNS.

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