An open letter expressing concerns regarding the statistical analysis and data integrity of a recently published and publicized paper

James Watson prepared this open letter to **, **, **, and **, authors of ** and to ** (editor of **). The letter has approximately 96,032 signatures from approximately 6 continents. And I heard a rumor that they have contacts at the Antarctic Polar Station who are going to sign the thing once they can get their damn fur gloves off.

I like the letter. This kind of thing this should be a generic letter that applies to all research papers!

I’ve obscured the details of the letter here because I don’t want to single out the authors of this particular paper or the editor of this particular journal.

If the paper really does have all the problems that some people are concerned about, then maybe the journal in question will follow the “Wakefield rule” and retract in 2032. You thought journal review was slow? Retraction’s even slower!

A journalist who’s writing a story about this controversy asked me what I thought, and I said I didn’t know. The authors have no obligation to share their data or code, and I have no obligation to believe anything they say. Similarly, the journal has no obligation to try to get the authors to respond in a serious way to criticisms and concerns, and I have no obligation to take seriously the papers they publish. This doesn’t mean all or even most of the papers they publish are bad; it just means that we need to judge them on their merits.