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152002Volume 15, Issue1January 2002

Presidential Column

John Darley
John Darley
Princeton University
APS President 2001 - 2002
All columns

In this Issue:
On Civility in Reviewing

About the Observer

The Observer is the online magazine of the Association for Psychological Science and covers matters affecting the research, academic, and applied disciplines of psychology. The magazine reports on issues of interest to psychologist scientists worldwide and disseminates information about the activities, policies, and scientific values of APS.

APS members receive a monthly Observer newsletter that covers the latest content in the magazine. Members also may access the online archive of Observer articles going back to 1988.

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Up Front

  • On Civility in Reviewing

    Guest Columnist Many of us have put in our best-faith efforts in writing journal articles or grant proposals, only to receive savage reviews. I recently received a savage review of an article I co-wrote and submitted to a journal that referred to the submitted article as sounding like it was written by a "charlatan attorney" and that referred to parts of the article as "absurd" and as "gibberish." It compared the argumentation to that in "freshman-level term papers," and recommended that the author, who is "seriously out of his/her element with this topic...refrain from venturing into areas that exceed his/her professional competence." Other comments in the review were not dissimilar to these comments. Fortunately, the savage review was "confidential," although of course, this confidential review was seen by the editor, other reviewers, and who knows who else.

First Person

More From This Issue

  • Misconduct of Others: Prevention Techniques for Researchers

    Few people can distinguish between the smell of day-old fish and the odor of the paper in which it was wrapped. That's just how it is with scientific misconduct. The misconduct of those working with you may become yours. In the worst case, your lab is shut for the investigation, your publications are retracted, and your name becomes suspect. Even if you reported the suspected misconduct, and the investigation is fair, the accuser and the accused may become intertwined as the investigation proceeds. All too often, the reporter and the reported blame each other, making the investigation protracted and contentious until the allegation is sustained or not.

  • UC-Irvine Names Building in Honor of APS Past President McGaugh

    APS Past President James L. McGaugh (third from right) at the dedication ceremony of McGaugh Hall at University of California-Irvine. With McGaugh are UCI Dean Susan Bryant, Chancellor Ralph Cicerone, F. Sherwood Rowland, and APS members Thomas J. Carew and Norman M. Weinberger. APS Past President James L. McGaugh, a world-renown trailblazer in the study of learning and memory, has been honored by University of California-Irvine, the institution where he has spent virtually his entire career, with the dedication of a building in his name.

  • Department Profile: Brooklyn College, City University of New York

    Brooklyn College is one of the senior colleges of the City University of New York (CUNY). Situated on nearly 30 acres of broad lawns ringed by Georgian-style buildings in the Midwood section of Brooklyn, the college is one of the nation's leading academic and research institutes with a total student population of roughly 15,000, some 12,000 of whom are undergraduates. The Department of Psychology is one of the largest in the college with 27 full-time faculty, more than 800 undergraduate majors, and over 150 graduate students. Currently our faculty hold in excess of four million dollars in research grants and contracts. The department has an interesting history.

  • We’d Like to Thank the Academy: APCS Creates Fusion of Science and Clinical Training

    When he issued his "Manifesto" a decade ago, Indiana University's Richard McFall was unknowingly helping to set the stage for one of the more influential entities in psychological science - the Academy of Psychological Clinical Science, which has risen to become a force for revolutionizing training in psychology and by extension, psychological practice. APCS describes itself as "an alliance of leading, scientifically-oriented, doctoral training programs in clinical and health psychology in the United States and Canada.

  • Leshner Departs NIDA for AAAS

    Alan I. Leshner recounts his seven years at NIDA with APS Executive Director Alan G. Kraut. Psychologist Alan I. Leshner served as director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse for seven years, during which time he put NIDA and drug abuse research on the map, increased our understanding of the scientific underpinnings of addiction, and placed science squarely in the center of the nation's policies on drugs. He also expanded the depth and breadth of NIDA's behavioral science research and training portfolio, and made great strides in linking basic and clinical research for the development of behavioral treatments for drug abuse.

  • Leadership Gap at Key NIH Institutes

    The long-time directors of three federal research institutes which support a significant amount of behavioral science have resigned within weeks of one another, leaving a leadership gap in behavioral science at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Alan I. Leshner, an APS Fellow and Charter Member who served as director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) for the past seven years, left the institute at the beginning of December to become chief executive officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He was the first psychologist to head an NIH institute, and he revolutionized the nation's research enterprise on drug abuse and addiction.

  • The Power of Psychology’s Databases

    Why share psychological data? Aren't there serious obstacles that prevent sharing? And even if we were willing to share in principle, how would we go about doing it in fact? These questions were discussed in the first three articles in this series. The answers I have suggested are these: We should share for our own benefit, in order to advance our science, and to better serve the general public. There are no obstacles to data sharing that have not either been overcome or that have no possible resolution. And despite psychological science's slowness to embrace data sharing, there exist several well-developed plans for how to do it on a larger scale than is currently the case.