[School-of-data] A cautionary tail... A case for open data

Simon Cropper simoncropper at fossworkflowguides.com
Sun Jul 13 09:36:14 UTC 2014

Hi Everyone,

This is a story I thought that Data Scientists would appreciate, despite 
being predominately skewed to the biological sciences.

Quick background: Males of Drosophila melanogaster (Fruit Fly) 'sing' to 
their mates by vibrating their wings.

In 1980, researchers identified rhythms in the 'wing songs' that could 
be related back to particular alleles.

     Kyriacou, C.P. & Hall, J.C., 1980. Circadian rhythm mutations in
     Drosophila melanogaster affect short-term fluctuations in the
     male’s courtship song. Proceedings of the National Academy of
     Sciences, 77(11), pp.6729–6733.

The paper and its research findings enter scientific legend and are 
reiterated and cited over and over, despite only a few being able to 
reproduce their results.

Recent work has verified that the rhythms reported were actually 
artifacts of the way the data was analyzed.

     Stern, D.L., 2014. Reported Drosophila courtship song rhythms are
     artifacts of data analysis. BMC Biology, 12(1), p.38.

A cautionary tail or a case for the release of raw data so everyone can 
draw their own conclusions?

Cheers Simon

    Simon Cropper - Open Content Creator

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