Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Expert witness


How easy is it to reproduce the results found in a typical computational biology paper? Either through experience or intuition the reader will already know that the answer is with difficulty or not at all. In this paper we attempt to quantify this difficulty by reproducing a previously published paper for different classes of users (ranging from users with little expertise to domain experts) and suggest ways in which the situation might be improved. Quantification is achieved by estimating the time required to reproduce each of the steps in the method described in the original paper and make them part of an explicit workflow that reproduces the original results. Reproducing the method took several months of effort, and required using new versions and new software that posed challenges to reconstructing and validating the results. The quantification leads to “reproducibility maps” that reveal that novice researchers would only be able to reproduce a few of the steps in the method, and that only expert researchers with advance knowledge of the domain would be able to reproduce the method in its entirety. The workflow itself is published as an online resource together with supporting software and data. The paper concludes with a brief discussion of the complexities of requiring reproducibility in terms of cost versus benefit, and a desiderata with our observations and guidelines for improving reproducibility. This has implications not only in reproducing the work of others from published papers, but reproducing work from one’s own laboratory.

Concepts: Scientific method, Reproduction, Organism, Life, Academic publishing, Expert, Asexual reproduction, Expert witness


Researchers have shown that people often miss the occurrence of an unexpected yet salient event if they are engaged in a different task, a phenomenon known as inattentional blindness. However, demonstrations of inattentional blindness have typically involved naive observers engaged in an unfamiliar task. What about expert searchers who have spent years honing their ability to detect small abnormalities in specific types of images? We asked 24 radiologists to perform a familiar lung-nodule detection task. A gorilla, 48 times the size of the average nodule, was inserted in the last case that was presented. Eighty-three percent of the radiologists did not see the gorilla. Eye tracking revealed that the majority of those who missed the gorilla looked directly at its location. Thus, even expert searchers, operating in their domain of expertise, are vulnerable to inattentional blindness.

Concepts: Observation, Expert, Blindness, Expert witness, Miss


People in Western cultures are poor at naming smells and flavors. However, for wine and coffee experts, describing smells and flavors is part of their daily routine. So are experts better than lay people at conveying smells and flavors in language? If smells and flavors are more easily linguistically expressed by experts, or more “codable”, then experts should be better than novices at describing smells and flavors. If experts are indeed better, we can also ask how general this advantage is: do experts show higher codability only for smells and flavors they are expert in (i.e., wine experts for wine and coffee experts for coffee) or is their linguistic dexterity more general? To address these questions, wine experts, coffee experts, and novices were asked to describe the smell and flavor of wines, coffees, everyday odors, and basic tastes. The resulting descriptions were compared on a number of measures. We found expertise endows a modest advantage in smell and flavor naming. Wine experts showed more consistency in how they described wine smells and flavors than coffee experts, and novices; but coffee experts were not more consistent for coffee descriptions. Neither expert group was any more accurate at identifying everyday smells or tastes. Interestingly, both wine and coffee experts tended to use more source-based terms (e.g., vanilla) in descriptions of their own area of expertise whereas novices tended to use more evaluative terms (e.g., nice). However, the overall linguistic strategies for both groups were en par. To conclude, experts only have a limited, domain-specific advantage when communicating about smells and flavors. The ability to communicate about smells and flavors is a matter not only of perceptual training, but specific linguistic training too.

Concepts: Linguistics, Olfaction, Taste, Odor, Expert, Aroma compound, Expert witness, Expert system


BACKGROUND: When comparing a single-stroke dissection maneuver among surgeons with differing experience levels, there are major differences in the force applied to the instrument tip. It is difficult to explain to surgeons in training the appropriate force and for the surgeons to ascertain the force intuitively. We quantified the force pattern during single-stroke laparoscopic dissection maneuvers to reveal the factors related to expertise. METHODS: We recorded the force pattern of a single maneuver and measured the magnitude of vertical (VF) and horizontal forces (HF) on the instrument tip using a box trainer (ex vivo). We compared VF and HF among surgeons: experts (n = 10), intermediates (n = 10), and novices (n = 10). The dissection time of a single stroke (T), magnitude of the VF and HF, and the timing of the peak vertical force (TPV) and horizontal force (TPH) were evaluated as performance parameters. RESULTS: The dissection time of a single stroke (T) was shortest in the expert group (p < 0.05). The average maximum magnitude of VF and HF was smallest in the expert group. TPV occurred significantly earlier than TPH in all three groups (p < 0.05). TPV in the expert group occurred earlier than in the intermediate and novice groups (p < 0.05). With increasing experience, TPV occurred earlier. CONCLUSIONS: Expert surgeons apply the most efficient vertical forces to make an initial dissection point and then change to the horizontal direction to separate surrounding tissues from the target organ. Measuring instrument tip force could help in understanding and improving the safety margin in laparoscopic surgical dissection.

Concepts: Measurement, Surgery, Force, Experience, Expert, Novice, Expert witness


A growing body of literature documents emphasizes the value of the hybridisation of different types of knowledge for environmental management. This is particularly true for silvopastoralism: although silvopastoralism appears to be a relevant way to manage large forests areas in the northern Mediterranean region, knowledge pertaining to silvopastoralism is distributed between foresters and pastoralists, with a lack of shared knowledge making joint action difficult. The consensus about the need of knowledge hybridisation, however, is not enough to make it happen and a whole field of research investigates the methods which can be used to create shared knowledge. This paper studies one of these methods - the participation of experts in modelling - used in a French research development program to design a technical support tool for silvopastoralism. After having described the modelling process conducted by forestry and pastoralists experts, it presents the conceptual silvopastoralism model they produced and analyses the shared knowledge - especially intermediary concepts and expert typologies - it contains. The paper finally outlines the conditions needed for the participation of experts in modelling to create shared knowledge, its limitations in generating quantitative expertise and discusses how the knowledge created can be shared with a wider audience.

Concepts: Scientific method, Agriculture, Experience, Concept, Expert, Technical support, Expert witness, Pastoralism


Given their lack of background knowledge, laypeople require expert help when dealing with scientific information. To decide whose help is dependable, laypeople must judge an expert’s epistemic trustworthiness in terms of competence, adherence to scientific standards, and good intentions. Online, this may be difficult due to the often limited and sometimes unreliable source information available. To measure laypeople’s evaluations of experts (encountered online), we constructed an inventory to assess epistemic trustworthiness on the dimensions expertise, integrity, and benevolence. Exploratory (n = 237) and confirmatory factor analyses (n = 345) showed that the Muenster Epistemic Trustworthiness Inventory (METI) is composed of these three factors. A subsequent experimental study (n = 137) showed that all three dimensions of the METI are sensitive to variation in source characteristics. We propose using this inventory to measure assignments of epistemic trustworthiness, that is, all judgments laypeople make when deciding whether to place epistemic trust in-and defer to-an expert in order to solve a scientific informational problem that is beyond their understanding.

Concepts: Epistemology, Science, Factor analysis, Knowledge, Expert, Information theory, Expert witness, Expert system


Sedentary time is a modifiable determinant of poor health, and in older adults, reducing sedentary time may be an important first step in adopting and maintaining a more active lifestyle. The primary purpose of this consensus statement is to provide an integrated perspective on current knowledge and expert opinion pertaining to sedentary behaviour in older adults on the topics of measurement, associations with health outcomes, and interventions. A secondary yet equally important purpose is to suggest priorities for future research and knowledge translation based on gaps identified. A five-step Delphi consensus process was used. Experts in the area of sedentary behaviour and older adults (n=15) participated in three surveys, an in-person consensus meeting, and a validation process. The surveys specifically probed measurement, health outcomes, interventions, and research priorities. The meeting was informed by a literature review and conference symposium, and it was used to create statements on each of the areas addressed in this document. Knowledge users (n=3) also participated in the consensus meeting. Statements were then sent to the experts for validation. It was agreed that self-report tools need to be developed for understanding the context in which sedentary time is accumulated. For health outcomes, it was agreed that the focus of sedentary time research in older adults needs to include geriatric-relevant health outcomes, that there is insufficient evidence to quantify the dose-response relationship, that there is a lack of evidence on sedentary time from older adults in assisted facilities, and that evidence on the association between sedentary time and sleep is lacking. For interventions, research is needed to assess the impact that reducing sedentary time, or breaking up prolonged bouts of sedentary time has on geriatric-relevant health outcomes. Research priorities listed for each of these areas should be considered by researchers and funding agencies.

Concepts: Time, Personal life, Expert, Expert witness


Despite remarkable developments in the use of surgical techniques, ergonomic advancements in the operating room, and implementation of bundles, surgical site infections (SSIs) remain a substantial burden, associated with increased morbidity, mortality and healthcare costs. National and international recommendations to prevent SSIs have been published, including recent guidelines by the World Health Organization, but implementation into clinical practice remains an unresolved issue. SSI improvement programs require an integrative approach with measures taken during the pre-, intra- and postoperative care from the numerous stakeholders involved. The current SSI prevention strategies have focused mainly on the role of healthcare workers (HCWs) and procedure related risk factors. The importance and influence of patient participation is becoming an increasingly important concept and advocated as a means to improve patient safety. Novel interventions supporting an active participative role within SSI prevention programs have not been assessed. Empowering patients with information they require to engage in the process of SSI prevention could play a major role for the implementation of recommendations. Based on available scientific evidence, a panel of experts evaluated options for patient involvement in order to provide pragmatic recommendations for pre-, intra- and postoperative activities for the prevention of SSIs. Recommendations were based on existing guidelines and expert opinion. As a result, 9 recommendations for the surgical patient are presented here, including a practice brief in the form of a patient information leaflet. HCWs can use this information to educate patients and allow patient engagement.

Concepts: Health care, Health care provider, Healthcare, Public health, Patient, Surgery, Expert, Expert witness


There has been growing interest in the use of cognitive analytic therapy (CAT) with those facing experiences of psychosis. However, there is little research on how CAT is best applied to working with psychosis. This study aimed to identify what the key aspects of CAT for psychosis are or whether this approach requires adaptation when applied to those with experiences of psychosis, drawing on expert opinion.

Concepts: Research, The Key, Experience, Expert, Expert witness, Social research


The present structured, systematic and comprehensive welfare evaluation of an injured working farm dog using the Five Domains Model is of interest in its own right. It is also an example for others wanting to apply the Model to welfare evaluations in different species and contexts. Six stages of a fictitious scenario involving the dog are considered: (1) its on-farm circumstances before one hind leg is injured; (2) its entanglement in barbed wire, cutting it free and transporting it to a veterinary clinic; (3) the initial veterinary examination and overnight stay; (4) amputation of the limb and immediate post-operative recovery; (5) its first four weeks after rehoming to a lifestyle block; and (6) its subsequent life as an amputee and pet. Not all features of the scenario represent average-to-good practice; indeed, some have been selected to indicate poor practice. It is shown how the Model can draw attention to areas of animal welfare concern and, importantly, to how welfare enhancement may be impeded or facilitated. Also illustrated is how the welfare implications of a sequence of events can be traced and evaluated, and, in relation to specific situations, how the degrees of welfare compromise and enhancement may be graded. In addition, the choice of a companion animal, contrasting its welfare status as a working dog and pet, and considering its treatment in a veterinary clinical setting, help to highlight various welfare impacts of some practices. By focussing attention on welfare problems, the Model can guide the implementation of remedies, including ways of promoting positive welfare states. Finally, wider applications of the Five Domains Model are noted: by enabling both negative and positive welfare-relevant experiences to be graded, the Model can be applied to quality of life assessments and end-of-life decisions and, with particular regard to negative experiences, the Model can also help to strengthen expert witness testimony during prosecutions for serious ill treatment of animals.

Concepts: Evaluation, Assessment, Amputation, Veterinary medicine, Dog, Pet, Expert witness, Barbed wire