Getting the balance right

Note from the editors: Towards Data Science is a Medium publication primarily based on the study of data science and machine learning. We are not health professionals or epidemiologists, and the opinions of this article should not be interpreted as professional advice. To learn more about the coronavirus pandemic, you can click here.

There has been an enormous volume of important COVID-19 research coming out into the public domain This includes studies aimed at calculating case fatalities, effectiveness of new treatments, risk profiles, and effectiveness of mitigation strategies. One can understand why — there is an insatiable appetite and need…


With less than three months until the 2020 election, former Vice President Joe Biden leads President Trump in national polling. Despite this polling advantage, a combination of pollsters underestimating Trump’s support, the Republicans’ Electoral College advantage, and the possibility of the development a COVID-19 treatment or vaccine before the election could all help Trump to win.

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White House Press Briefing” by The White House is Public Domain.

Recent polls give the now confirmed Democratic presidential nominee, former Vice President, Joe Biden a strong lead over President Trump. The surprising thing is not that Trump’s support has fallen significantly but that it is still so strong. Despite his reckless handling of the…


General guide for reviewers

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Source

There are a host of pathologies associated with the current peer review system that has been the subject of much discussion. One of the most substantive issues is that results reported in leading journals are commonly papers with the most exciting and newsworthy findings. The problem here being that what might be novel and newsworthy for some may be overreaching with questionable validity for others. …


It will happen a lot!

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Do I start again from scratch? Creative Commons 4.0 BY-NC

You spend months if not years carefully crafting your research into a paper for submission to a peer reviewed journal. You wait on tenterhooks for anywhere between two months to 18 months (my min and max range to date) to hear from what you presume will be experts in your field (not always unfortunately). Some of you fear that your work is not good enough and reviewers will highlight fatal flaws. Others at the back of their minds will think or at least hope that reviewers will recognise just how brilliant they are. The notification comes in and your heart…


Taller people could be at greater risk from contracting Covid-19. These are the key findings from the results of a survey by data scientists in the UK, Norway and the US and released to the media through the University of Manchester. The study states that “being tall more than doubled the probability of having a COVID-19 medical diagnosis or positive test for people over 6ft”. Unfortunately the findings in the press release have featured uncritically in a variety of newspaper headlines and across social media over the last few days.

There is limited details in relation to the sample of…


Is a 75% desk rejection rate too much?

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After reflecting on a recent desk rejection I am left considering the pros and cons of something I have observed in recent times — namely a more hands on approach by Journal Editors when it comes to handling initial submissions. From a cursory glance at editor’s reports it would seem that most of the main journals in economics and increasingly in other disciplines desk reject at least half of all papers with some significantly more. …


How can Departments boost research income? How can individuals increase their chances of success? How much time and effort should individuals spend pursuing research income?

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Most people would agree that success or otherwise can be a crapshoot but there is likely to be more disagreement around how much luck is actually involved. Those of us who submit papers for peer review recognise that the success or otherwise at a particular journal depends to varying degrees on both the quality of the paper and sheer luck. I suspect that while the quality (however defined), is important there is even more luck…

Peter Howley

Doing research well is hard. With a focus on early career researchers Prof Peter Howley (Econ & behavioural science) will provide some helpful (hopefully!) tips

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