Yet another psychologist to leave position after use of QRPs

“In this project we adhered to open science practices and posted our data and materials online after the publication of the article. Analyzing the openly shared data a reader alerted the editor of Psychological Science of an error in Studies 1 and 3 that we overlooked. The error is due to the first author [Dong] mistakenly blocking participants by condition (instead of random assignment), creating a confound between condition and date. After reviewing the evidence, the authors and the editor came to the consensus that the confound undermined interpretation of the results and the paper should be retracted. This is a tough lesson for us. Open science does not mean people don’t make mistakes; it simply means mistakes are more easily caught. We are very grateful for the reader who caught the mistake and the editor who coached us through how to handle a situation like this. We vow to be more thorough and careful in our future research. At the same time, this experience strengthens our commitment to open science as it shows that open science is working as intended.”

Despite such a knowledgeable and mature statement, the first author has now left Northwestern and is not possible to reach. Extremely sad and wrong. We should really go together a bunch of organisations to discuss and create guidelines for how research institutions should handle cases of QRPs.

From my understanding, it is not clear why she left the position. The fact that the institution did not comment on that is not encouraging though. Do you know if in other case people left because of pressures from the institution or because of personal reasons?

If the institution let her go because of a single, genuine, honest mistake then that would, I think, be very unfortunate.

However, I am not entirely convinced that this is the case here. I don’t remember the circumstances by which I came to take a close and skeptical look at 10.1037/xge0000285 from the same author, but it is, shall we say, not a great paper.

So maybe Northwestern has dug a little deeper and found other things that tip the balance over into “No thanks, we won’t be renewing you”.