Assistant professor, APS rising star, and some papers

Three brief personal updates.

After living in 6 countries in the last 12 years; after affairs and short relationships with Ludwig Maximilian’s University Munich, Free University Berlin, University of Michigan, Arizona State University, University of Leuven, and University of Amsterdam; and after 3 years as a very happy postdoc … I thought I should start looking into a bit of a more stable relationship. And am happy to announce that I found Leiden University, where I accepted my first faculty position as Assistant Professor in the Clinical Psychology Department a few weeks ago. Pew pew!


I also found out shortly after Christmas that the Association of Psychological Science awarded me the APS Rising Star award “for outstanding psychological scientists in the earliest stages of their research careers post-PhD”. I’m extremely humbled to be on the same list as many amazing researchers I’ve been looking up to for years, such as Aaron Fisher and Rogier Kievit. You can find a list of all honorees here … let’s work together to make psychology a more open, critical, rigorous, and thoughtful science.

Thank you …


Finally, I haven’t done a good job updating the blog regularly for new papers, but I recently wrote a summary of 2017 that covers the papers we published last year.

I’d like to use the opportunity to thank everybody who helped me along the way, and also to acknowledge how much luck, privilege, and support I had in my scientific career up to this stage; things would look very different otherwise.

Let me conclude with this piece of advice that Corrine McConnaughy‏ shared yesterday:

5 thoughts on “Assistant professor, APS rising star, and some papers

  1. Anonymous

    “I also found out shortly after Christmas that the Association of Psychological Science awarded me the APS Rising Star award “for outstanding psychological scientists in the earliest stages of their research careers post-PhD”.

    &

    “let’s work together to make psychology a more open, critical, rigorous, and thoughtful science. ”

    Okay, i can do critical. Here we go:

    I am always truly amazed to hear that psychological science organizations feel the need to hand out individual awards, and even more amazed that researchers actually accept them. As i wrote here: https://psyarxiv.com/pju9c/

    “Psychological scientists build on each other’s work, and should be reminded of that every time they read or cite something that has been written by someone else. This view of building on previous work by others is perhaps best captured by the metaphor of dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants, and Isaac Newton who wrote: “If I have seen further it is by standing on ye sholders of giants” (Newton, 1675/1676).

    Concerning Psychological Science and individual awards: perhaps standing on the shoulders of a giant does not necessarily imply the dwarf has been looking in the right direction, perhaps the giant later turns out to be a dwarf or the dwarf later turns out to be a giant, and perhaps here are many giants, and many dwarfs, who are standing on each other’s shoulders. If any of these things are possible, it shouldn’t be about which giant, or which dwarf, is on top at a certain point in time. It should be about what can be, and has been, seen.”

    Reply
    1. Eiko Post author

      Thanks for the comment, but I’m not sure I can follow your rationale. Can you summarize the reasons why you think (1) APS should have not awarded me (and others) the award, and (2) why I should have not accepted it? Once these arguments are on the table, I’m happy to discuss in detail. Maybe we’ll find agreement.

      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        “Can you summarize the reasons why you think (1) APS should have not awarded me (and others) the award, and (2) why I should have not accepted it? Once these arguments are on the table, I’m happy to discuss in detail.”

        Copying/pasting several reasons why i am amazed at individual awards in psychological science from the paper i linked to above leads to this:

        1) “A much less discussed, but possibly directly related, and equally flawed evaluation index is that of individual awards (cf. Sternberg, 2016). It seems not unreasonable to assume that receiving individual awards may be directly related to having had a prolific research output, consisting of the type of “sexy” papers often discussed regarding the damaging incentive structure.”

        2)” Furthermore, if individual awards tend to be given to scientists who are from institutions with greater name recognition, and who have networks of colleagues and friends on awards committees (cf. Sternberg, 2016), they may not only be a result of a possibly flawed evaluation index, but may also be one itself.”

        3) “Whether or not handing out individual awards in Psychological Science is scientifically useful and/or valid, can perhaps also be examined via the following. The “Career Trajectory Award” by the Society of Experimental Social Psychology is given to individuals to “recognize uniquely creative and influential scholarly productivity at or near the peak of one’s scientific career” (http://www.sesp.org/content.asp?contentid=146). A quick glance at the individuals who received this award makes clear that past recipients may include a self-confessed fraudster, an individual whose seminal work has recently been found to be hard to independently replicate, and an individual whose seminal work may have been based on fundamental mathematical errors”

        4) “Another example is “The William James Fellow Award”, which honors members of the Association for Psychological Science for “their lifetime of significant intellectual contributions to the basic science of psychology” (https://www.psychologicalscience.org/members/awards-and-honors/fellow-award). A quick glance at the individuals who received this award makes clear that past recipients may include individuals who have since contributed to the basic science of Psychology via statements like: “The destructo-critics are ignoring ethical rules of conduct because they circumvent constructive peer-review (…)”, “Getting a significant result with n = 10 often required having an intuitive flair for how to set up the most conducive situation and produce a highly impactful procedure.”, and “Barring intentional fraud, every finding is an accurate description of the sample on which it was run.”

        5) “When our scientific institutions allow, or worse, encourage, our desire for eminence or impact to rule the roost, scientific rigor will suffer (Vazire, 2017). It can therefore be seen as unhelpful that many Psychological Science organizations feel the need to hand out awards to individuals. As Vazire (2017) states: “Science should be scientific”. If, and that may be a big if, there are scientifically useful and/or valid reasons to hand out awards, perhaps explicitly handing out awards to papers instead of people would serve the same purpose, and would be more in line with scientific values and principles.”

        6) “Psychological scientists build on each other’s work, and should be reminded of that every time they read or cite something that has been written by someone else. This view of building on previous work by others is perhaps best captured by the metaphor of dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants, and Isaac Newton who wrote: “If I have seen further it is by standing on ye sholders of giants” (Newton, 1675/1676).”

        7) “Concerning Psychological Science and individual awards: perhaps standing on the shoulders of a giant does not necessarily imply the dwarf has been looking in the right direction, perhaps the giant later turns out to be a dwarf or the dwarf later turns out to be a giant, and perhaps there are many giants, and many dwarfs, who are standing on each other’s shoulders. If any of these things are possible, it shouldn’t be about which giant, or which dwarf, is on top at a certain point in time. It should be about what can be, and has been, seen.”

        Reply
        1. Eiko Post author

          There are many problems in science. I try to write about as many as I find the time for on this blog, and sometimes also in papers, letters, or correspondence in scientific journals.

          These issues cover topics such as academic journals and scientific publishing, issues with peer-reviewing and closed science, the way we evaluate scientific merit (impact factor, citations), and systemic disadvantages for certain people in science (e.g. women, people of color, people from the LGBT community, and so forth). I’ve also tried to write about more specific issues (the others are more meta-science) such as issues in clinical trials, over-interpretation of biomarker studies, and so forth.

          So, there are many problems. Scientific awards are part of the scientific system, and as such of course problematic as well. I agree. Everybody will agree, no? I don’t think anyone would argue that “In general, everything is perfect with scientific prizes”.

          That being said, just because I take issue with some of the clinical trial literature, that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t try to publish a clinical paper in case I think I can contribute something to the literature. And although I think peer-review is at times problematic, it doesn’t mean I will categorically refuse to peer-review; instead, I will review for certain journals, and sign my reviews. And just because I think the scientific publishing business is highly problematic doesn’t mean I don’t publish papers anymore. I kind of have to if I don’t want to be unemployed. So I try to pick the journals I publish in wisely, I try to publish open access, I try to share my code and if possible data, and I try to write good papers. The same goes for this prize. I worked very hard, and I will use this award to try to further improve psychological science. For instance, by using the free APS conference participation in 2018 to participate in a panel discussion on replicability in clinical psychology, and to co-host a symposium on the importance of measurement in psychological science.

          So … if, on the one hand, you want to generally bring attention to issues of scientific awards, I think that’s great. Critical voices are important and I encourage everybody to be critical. Thanks for posting, and for linking to your paper. If, on the other hand, you want to suggest that I specifically should have rejected this specific prize, you have to tell me specifically why. Copying sections of your paper that have seemingly nothing to do with me and how I do research isn’t specific enough for me; after all, what you posted was about Sternberg and fraud and n=10 and the William James award.

          When it comes to standing on the shoulder of giants, you should have read my blog post on which you commented more thoroughly. I stand on the shoulder of many giants, and I thank them clearly and in detail in the above blog post, including my students.

          Reply
          1. Anonymous

            “So … if, on the one hand, you want to generally bring attention to issues of scientific awards, I think that’s great.”

            Yep, that was the goal more or less. Thank you for all your efforts in trying to improve psychological science. And thank you for giving me the opportunity to try and do the same via your blog.

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