Summary: In this latest edition of Harden’s Blog, Professor Harden discusses journal articles, printed vs electronic publication and his recent travels to St Maarten. Description: Simon Oxenham has reported that the field of psychology has been shaken by the finding that out of 98 papers published in the top 3 psychology journals only 39 could be replicated ( He suggests that we should base our views on established old studies that have been replicated again and again with the results reported in meta-analysis and systematic reviews and that alarm bells should ring when we read the words “new study”. I have previously advocated in my blog the need for more replication studies. Given the pressure for space in journals however it is more difficult to get such studies published. We hope to publish more replication studies in MedEdPublish. Oxenham argues that the problem of replication is not limited to psychology as ’30 percent of the most widely cited randomized controlled trials in the world’s highest-quality medical journals have later been found to be wrong or exaggerated’.
“A happy ending for real books” is the heading of an article in the Sunday Times, 4th October. The Association of American publishers have recently released a report showing that in the first 3 months of 2015, e-book sales fell 7.5% from the same period last year. In contrast paperback sales increased by 8.9%. The high street book chain Waterstones also reported increased sales of printed books by almost 5% in the first 9 months of this year. One of my granddaughters was staying with me over the last few days and I noted that despite having multiple electronic devices which she used extensively she was reading a print book. She said she found it more satisfying and enjoyed better the experience of the printed text. In the Times article, Phillip Jones, editor of The Bookseller magazine, is quoted ‘five years ago, the ebook was set fair to crush everything before it. The narrative has now reversed.”
Urology trainees according to Nason et al writing in The Surgeon (2015, 13, 263-266) are using smartphones as an educational and reference tool and find them a useful aide in clinical practice. A total of 126 urology apps were available. 76 were designed for physicians, 46 for patients, 2 for students and 2 for urological nurses.

Just back from a one-day meeting of the Board of Trustees of the American University of the Caribbean (AUC) in St Maarten. A difficult outward journey. The plane developed a technical fault as we were leaving from Miami airport which meant a three hour delay. When we did take off and approached St Maarten adverse weather conditions prevented us landing and after circling for some time we had to divert to a neighbouring small island where we stayed for four hours before finally taking off and landing at St Maarten. One of the problems of transiting through Miami is that even if you’re not intending to enter the USA you still have to go through the immigration formalities. From my past experience this can take not uncommonly up to one and a half hours. Unless one is an American or Canadian citizen you cannot get Global Entry status. I did use for the first time the Automatic Passport Control (APC) which it is allowed if one has a ESTA and has previously entered the USA. This speeds up the process considerably. In travelling I have noted that hotels are trying to improve the amenities offered to guests including pillow menus. It is reported that Starwood is testing ideas such as lighted floor tiles for visibility at night; a smartphone-powered room system that turns on lights, the television and other items; and specialised lighting to help reset guests’ circadian rhythms after long trips. Personally I use melatonin to help with my circadian rhythm and to adjust to different time zones.
Leaving today for the ICME meeting in Istanbul and will report on highlights in my next blog.