Bodley Head signs 'Freakonomics-style' peer-reviews exposé

Bodley Head signs 'Freakonomics-style' peer-reviews exposé

The Bodley Head has signed a book that exposes the "bias, hype, incompetence and fraud" in the peer-reviewed world by Dr Stuart Ritchie following a four-way auction.

Will Hammond, deputy publishing director at The Bodley Head, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights in Hypeology from Will Francis at Janklow & Nesbit.

Hypeology will explain how "bad practice and dodgy results have become endemic in contemporary science", and it will provide a "devastating and gripping take-down of the over-simplified way many of us – including scientists – present and interpret even those results that are reliable". It will also be a "celebration of everything that is great about science, a manifesto for a better and more rigorous way of thinking about scientific data and its importance for society, and it will provide the reader with a toolkit for spotting bad science for themselves in order to save science from itself".

Ritchie is an academic psychologist and a science communicator whose research as a PhD student helped reveal the Replication Crisis. He has written about science for the Washington Post, Wired and Aeon, has appeared on BBC Radio 4 programmes including "The Infinite Monkey Cage", and reviews books for the Spectator. Currently based in the psychology department at the University of Edinburgh studying human intelligence, he will take up the post of lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London this summer.

Ritchie said: “The last few years have seen data flooding in about scientific papers that are full of unreplicable results, fraudulent 'findings', and statistical errors. Hypeology will explain these problems, shedding light on the process of scientific research and pinpointing the many ways it can go wrong.

"The book will ultimately come to an optimistic conclusion: there are ways we can fix all these issues and regain our confidence in science. I’m hugely excited to work with Will Hammond and The Bodley Head, publishers with an unassailable reputation for rigorous popular science.”

Hammond said: “Stuart Ritchie has the remarkable ability to make his deadly serious, shocking and important revelations brilliantly entertaining on the page. So even while his book will cause a much-needed reckoning within the scientific community it will also have the power to engage and persuade any reader, regardless of their familiarity with the subject, of the value, importance and wonder of the scientific method. We are extremely pleased to be able to publish such a terrifically enjoyable book while also furthering such a worthy cause on behalf of such a talented writer and scientist."

The Bodley Head will publish in Spring 2020.