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  • Peer Review
Authorization of Animal Experiments Is Based on Confidence Rather than Evidence of Scientific Rigor
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Accumulating evidence indicates high risk of bias in preclinical animal research, questioning the scientific validity and reproducibility of published research findings. Systematic reviews found low rates of reporting of measures against risks of bias in the published literature (e.g., randomization, blinding, sample size calculation) and a correlation between low reporting rates and inflated treatment effects. That most animal research undergoes peer review or ethical review would offer the possibility to detect risks of bias at an earlier stage, before the research has been conducted. For example, in Switzerland, animal experiments are licensed based on a detailed description of the study protocol and a harm–benefit analysis. We therefore screened applications for animal experiments submitted to Swiss authorities (n = 1,277) for the rates at which the use of seven basic measures against bias (allocation concealment, blinding, randomization, sample size calculation, inclusion/exclusion criteria, primary outcome variable, and statistical analysis plan) were described and compared them with the reporting rates of the same measures in a representative sub-sample of publications (n = 50) resulting from studies described in these applications. Measures against bias were described at very low rates, ranging on average from 2.4% for statistical analysis plan to 19% for primary outcome variable in applications for animal experiments, and from 0.0% for sample size calculation to 34% for statistical analysis plan in publications from these experiments. Calculating an internal validity score (IVS) based on the proportion of the seven measures against bias, we found a weak positive correlation between the IVS of applications and that of publications (Spearman’s rho = 0.34, p = 0.014), indicating that the rates of description of these measures in applications partly predict their rates of reporting in publications. These results indicate that the authorities licensing animal experiments are lacking important information about experimental conduct that determines the scientific validity of the findings, which may be critical for the weight attributed to the benefit of the research in the harm–benefit analysis. Similar to manuscripts getting accepted for publication despite poor reporting of measures against bias, applications for animal experiments may often be approved based on implicit confidence rather than explicit evidence of scientific rigor. Our findings shed serious doubt on the current authorization procedure for animal experiments, as well as the peer-review process for scientific publications, which in the long run may undermine the credibility of research. Developing existing authorization procedures that are already in place in many countries towards a preregistration system for animal research is one promising way to reform the system. This would not only benefit the scientific validity of findings from animal experiments but also help to avoid unnecessary harm to animals for inconclusive research.

Subject:
Biology
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
PLOS Biology
Author:
Christina Nathues
Hanno Würbel
Lucile Vogt
Thomas S. Reichlin
Date Added:
08/07/2020
Current Incentives for Scientists Lead to Underpowered Studies with Erroneous Conclusions
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We can regard the wider incentive structures that operate across science, such as the priority given to novel findings, as an ecosystem within which scientists strive to maximise their fitness (i.e., publication record and career success). Here, we develop an optimality model that predicts the most rational research strategy, in terms of the proportion of research effort spent on seeking novel results rather than on confirmatory studies, and the amount of research effort per exploratory study. We show that, for parameter values derived from the scientific literature, researchers acting to maximise their fitness should spend most of their effort seeking novel results and conduct small studies that have only 10%–40% statistical power. As a result, half of the studies they publish will report erroneous conclusions. Current incentive structures are in conflict with maximising the scientific value of research; we suggest ways that the scientific ecosystem could be improved.

Subject:
Biology
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
PLOS Biology
Author:
Andrew D. Higginson
Marcus R. Munafò
Date Added:
08/07/2020
The Economics of Reproducibility in Preclinical Research
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Low reproducibility rates within life science research undermine cumulative knowledge production and contribute to both delays and costs of therapeutic drug development. An analysis of past studies indicates that the cumulative (total) prevalence of irreproducible preclinical research exceeds 50%, resulting in approximately US$28,000,000,000 (US$28B)/year spent on preclinical research that is not reproducible—in the United States alone. We outline a framework for solutions and a plan for long-term improvements in reproducibility rates that will help to accelerate the discovery of life-saving therapies and cures.

Subject:
Biology
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
PLOS Biology
Author:
Iain M. Cockburn
Leonard P. Freedman
Timothy S. Simcoe
Date Added:
08/07/2020
English Language Arts, Grade 11
Conditional Remix & Share Permitted
CC BY-NC
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The 11th grade learning experience consists of 7 mostly month-long units aligned to the Common Core State Standards, with available course material for teachers and students easily accessible online. Over the course of the year there is a steady progression in text complexity levels, sophistication of writing tasks, speaking and listening activities, and increased opportunities for independent and collaborative work. Rubrics and student models accompany many writing assignments.Throughout the 11th grade year, in addition to the Common Read texts that the whole class reads together, students each select an Independent Reading book and engage with peers in group Book Talks. Students move from learning the class rituals and routines and genre features of argument writing in Unit 11.1 to learning about narrative and informational genres in Unit 11.2: The American Short Story. Teacher resources provide additional materials to support each unit.

Subject:
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Full Course
Provider:
Pearson
Date Added:
10/06/2016
English Language Arts, Grade 11, American Dreamers
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In this unit, students will take a look at the historical vision of the American Dream as put together by our Founding Fathers. They will be asked: How, if at all, has this dream changed? Is this dream your dream? First students will participate in an American Dream Convention, acting as a particular historical figure arguing for his or her vision of the American Dream, and then they will write an argument laying out and defending their personal view of what the American Dream should be.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Students read and annotate closely one of the documents that they feel expresses the American Dream.
Students participate in an American Dream Convention, acting as a particular historical figure arguing his or her vision of the American Dream.
Students write a paper, taking into consideration the different points of view in the documents read, answering the question “What is the American Dream now?”
Students write their own argument describing and defending their vision of what the American Dream should be.

GUIDING QUESTIONS

These questions are a guide to stimulate thinking, discussion, and writing on the themes and ideas in the unit. For complete and thoughtful answers and for meaningful discussions, students must use evidence based on careful reading of the texts.

What has been the historical vision of the American Dream?
What should the American Dream be? (What should we as individuals and as a nation aspire to?)
How would women, former slaves, and other disenfranchised groups living during the time these documents were written respond to them?

BENCHMARK ASSESSMENT: Cold Read

During this unit, on a day of your choosing, we recommend you administer a Cold Read to assess students’ reading comprehension. For this assessment, students read a text they have never seen before and then respond to multiple-choice and constructed-response questions. The assessment is not included in this course materials.

Subject:
English Language Arts
Reading Informational Text
Reading Literature
Speaking and Listening
Material Type:
Unit of Study
Provider:
Pearson
English Language Arts, Grade 11, American Dreamers, Evaluating and Responding, Peer Response Groups
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In this lesson, students will meet with their writing group to edit their papers. They'll learn the protocols and routines for responding to classmates' writing, and they will make a plan for revising their paper.

Subject:
English Language Arts
Composition and Rhetoric
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Provider:
Pearson
Date Added:
09/21/2015
English Language Arts, Grade 11, The American Short Story
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In this unit, students will explore great works of American literature and consider how writers reflect the time period in which they write. They will write two literary analysis papers and also work in groups to research and develop anthologies of excellent American stories.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Students read and analyze stories from several 19th-, 20th-, and 21st-century American authors. After researching a time period, they select stories from that period to create an anthology. The readings enhance their understanding of the short story, increase their exposure to well-known American authors, and allow them to examine the influence of social, cultural, and political context.
Students examine elements of short stories and have an opportunity for close reading of several American short stories. During these close readings, they examine the ways that short story writers attempt to explore the greater truths of the American experience through their literature.

GUIDING QUESTIONS

These questions are a guide to stimulate thinking, discussion, and writing on the themes and ideas in the unit. For complete and thoughtful answers and for meaningful discussions, students must use evidence based on careful reading of the texts.

If you were to write a short story about this decade, what issues might you focus on?
What defines a short story? Just length?
To what extent do these stories reflect the era or decade in which they were written?
To what extent are the themes they address universal?

CLASSROOM FILMS

History.com has short videos on the Vietnam War (“Vietnam” and “A Soldier's Story”).

Subject:
English Language Arts
Reading Informational Text
Reading Literature
Speaking and Listening
Material Type:
Unit of Study
Provider:
Pearson
Fairy Tales from Life
Read the Fine Print
Rating

Picture books provide the basis for an analysis of fairy tale elements before students write their own original tales.

Subject:
Language, Grammar and Vocabulary
Reading Foundation Skills
Reading Informational Text
Reading Literature
Speaking and Listening
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Unit of Study
Provider:
ReadWriteThink
Provider Set:
ReadWriteThink
Date Added:
08/23/2013
Group Presentation on Succeeding in Graduate School
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This group project is designed for international students to research into topics related to the theme of success in graduate school and give a presentation to their classmates on their topic, preferably teaching the class on that topic but also engaging the class in the lesson. Students will also listen intently as their classmates present and critique some presentations formally. The instructor usually offers the students a variety of topics but groups can propose other topics to the instructor for his/her approval. Created by Steven Harris-Scott, Ph.D., and Amy Lewis, Ed.D., for INTO George Mason University with support from Mason 4-VA. Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)

Subject:
Higher Education
Material Type:
Module
Author:
Steven Harris-Scott
Date Added:
09/20/2017
Guidelines for developing OER at UWC Faculty of Dentistry
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These guidelines have arisen from the University of Western Cape (UWC) Faculty of Dentistry's experiences of participating in the African Health OER pilot project. It covers copyright policy, attribution and acknowledgement procedures, and the peer review process for content released as Open Education Resources (OER).

Subject:
Education
Material Type:
Textbook
Provider:
OER Africa
University of the Western Cape, School of Public Health
Author:
Hoosen, Sarah
Date Added:
02/27/2012
OER: Curso de escritura en Español
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The materials in this project are specifically designed for a third-year Spanish Writing course, offering guidance to instructors on how to develop each of the four modules that constitute the course: Description, narration, argumentation, and exposition.

For each of the modules, a variety of resources are presented, including peer review training sessions, classroom activities, handouts to guide students’ writing processes, and peer review guidelines. These resources follow the methodology of writing through workshops (“Talleres”) and may be used in support of the current course materials (i.e., textbook “Taller de Escritores”).

The OER resources are also helpful for students, because they provide clear guidance on how to write and peer review each of the essays, and they further specify the assessment rubrics according to the curricular contents of the of the Spanish Writing course.

Subject:
Languages
Higher Education
Composition and Rhetoric
Material Type:
Assessment
Homework/Assignment
Lesson
Reading
Student Guide
Unit of Study
Author:
Alejandro Pérez Belda
Emilia Illana-Mahiques
Date Added:
07/13/2020
OER-UCLouvain: Design research
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The following moodle archive and documents are used for a course entitled Research Desing in Political Science (or in french Séminaire du Travail Universitaire). The course structure is oriented to competencies rather than to knowledge (methodology class). In order to help students to acquire and practice those competencies, we organize 3 types of exercices: critical reading, critical writing and critical evaluation. In addition to the exercises, students have to pass a mutiple choice exam (MCQ) about a peer review of a research paper (they have to read the paper/article 72 hours before the exam) and answer to MCQ. Each course is a organized as the following: 30' of activity debriefing, 60' explaining main topics about research desing and 30' about outcomes for next exercise. For any information, just drop a mail: pierre.baudewyns@uclouvain.be

Subject:
Social Science
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
Université catholique de Louvain
Provider Set:
OER-UCLOUVAIN
Author:
BAUDEWYNS Pierre
Date Added:
09/11/2017
Open Educational Resources for Spanish classes - Advanced Spanish Composition II
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As part of the Worcester State University OER initiative in Spring 2017, Dr. Elizabeth Osborne created and translated course materials for her SP 322, Advanced Spanish Composition II, course. Materials have been divided into peer review (revisión por pares) handouts, close reading activities (actividades de lectura detallada) and other miscellaneous materials. The materials included here are by no means exhaustive, but they serve as a starting point to making education affordable and to filling the gap in Spanish-language OER for upper division courses.

Subject:
Languages
Material Type:
Homework/Assignment
Student Guide
Syllabus
Provider:
Worcester State University
Author:
Elizabeth Osborne
Date Added:
05/29/2017
Open science challenges, benefits and tips in early career and beyond
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The movement towards open science is a consequence of seemingly pervasive failures to replicate previous research. This transition comes with great benefits but also significant challenges that are likely to affect those who carry out the research, usually early career researchers (ECRs). Here, we describe key benefits, including reputational gains, increased chances of publication, and a broader increase in the reliability of research. The increased chances of publication are supported by exploratory analyses indicating null findings are substantially more likely to be published via open registered reports in comparison to more conventional methods. These benefits are balanced by challenges that we have encountered and that involve increased costs in terms of flexibility, time, and issues with the current incentive structure, all of which seem to affect ECRs acutely. Although there are major obstacles to the early adoption of open science, overall open science practices should benefit both the ECR and improve the quality of research. We review 3 benefits and 3 challenges and provide suggestions from the perspective of ECRs for moving towards open science practices, which we believe scientists and institutions at all levels would do well to consider.

Subject:
Biology
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
PLOS Biology
Author:
Christopher Allen
David M. A. Mehler
Date Added:
08/07/2020
Peer Review: Decisions, decisions
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Journals are exploring new approaches to peer review in order to reduce bias, increase transparency and respond to author preferences. Funders are also getting involved. If you start reading about the subject of peer review, it won't be long before you encounter articles with titles like Can we trust peer review?, Is peer review just a crapshoot? and It's time to overhaul the secretive peer review process. Read some more and you will learn that despite its many shortcomings – it is slow, it is biased, and it lets flawed papers get published while rejecting work that goes on to win Nobel Prizes – the practice of having your work reviewed by your peers before it is published is still regarded as the 'gold standard' of scientific research. Carry on reading and you will discover that peer review as currently practiced is a relatively new phenomenon and that, ironically, there have been remarkably few peer-reviewed studies of peer review.

Subject:
Information Science
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
eLife
Author:
Peter Rodgers
Date Added:
08/07/2020