This post is also available in: Nederlands (Dutch)

In the interview of Jamima Harrison (Pedigree dogs exposed/Cruffa) by Ante Lucin (Talking dogs with Ante), Jamima often used  ‘science’ as a sacred weapon to describe pedigree dogs in an unfavourable light.

However, the science of pedigree dogs is still in its infancy. One scientist (Rusbridge) claims that SM/CM is due to brachycephaly, another (Mandigers) that there are perhaps 30 genetic causes and a third that it probably has nothing to do with brachycephaly (Geiger et al 2021). Hypotheses and causation are mixed up here. This is understandable, as there are roughly 400 different breeds, not to mention all the designer crosses that have been created over time and which are starting to develop their own problems. Also, the knowledge about genetics as a cause of diseases is still not very advanced. Veterinary medicine is not a high priority on the political agenda and the Faculties of Veterinary Medicine has been subject to numerous cutbacks in many countries.  As a result, also a statistical mathematical check of research is often lacking.  And this in a world of correlations and hypotheses, often without a clear causal relationship. This is asking for trouble.

However, the budget cuts and pressure to publish also have another unpleasant consequence.

On 8 July 2021, the NRC paper published an article (1) by Bart Funnekotter about an investigation (4) into scientific integrity within Dutch universities. Scientists from 22 universities and university medical centres participated anonymously. We find the following justification for the study:

The basis of sound public policy relies on trustworthy and high quality research [1]. This trust is earned by being transparent and by performing research that is relevant, replicable, ethically sound and of rigorous methodological quality. Yet trust in research and replicability of previous findings [2] are compromised by researchers engaging in research misconduct, such as fabrication and falsification (FF) and subtle trespasses of ethical and methodological principles [2]. Continued efforts to promote responsible research practices (RRPs) which include open science practices like open data sharing, pre-registration of study protocols, open access publication over questionable research practices (QRPs) are therefore needed. In order to support the need for such continued efforts, solid evidence on the prevalence of research misconduct and QRPs as well as the factors promoting or curtailing such behaviours are needed.” (4)

The study’s staggering conclusion was that one in two scientists sometimes cheats on research results.

This is done by omitting unwelcome research results, concealing problems with the methodology or selectively quoting from available literature. The prevalence of any frequent QRP(2)  was 0,6% to 15,5%.  Even 4.3% was fabricated science and 4.2% falsified science.

Publication pressure and the lack of peer-reviews increased the percentage.  Probably lots of (quilty?) scientist didn’t participate in the study and flattered the figures.

This was shown in the PLOS paper (4) as the result of a study led by Lex Bouter. Professor of methodology and integrity at the VU and UMC in Amsterdam.

This should make Jamima think.

Stichting Ras en Recht SRR/Foundation for Pedigree Dogs

Edwin Meyer Viol

11th of June 2022

  • (3) QRP = subtle violations such as failure to submit valid negative results for publication, failure to report flaws in research design or execution, selective citation to reinforce one’s own findings, and so on.
  • (4) Peer review is a process that ensures that new research is original and uses valid science. It is used in all areas of scientific and academic research, from life sciences to astrophysics and from psychology to social science

Half of scientists has cheated.

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