from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun idiomatic An informal reality check of an idea or proposal, using one's common sense or sense of propriety.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

By metaphorical extension from an actual test one might perform with one's sense of smell, as for freshness of food.


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  • The increasing demand for rigor in empirical economics has led to the growing use of auxiliary tests (balance, specification, over-identification, placebo, etc.) supporting the credibility of a paper's main results. We dub these "sniff tests" because standards for passing are subjective and rejection is bad news for the author. Sniff tests offer a new window into publication bias since authors prefer them to be insignificant, the reverse of standard statistical tests.
    Christopher Snyder & Ran Zhuo, Values and Implications for Publication Bias (Sept. 2018) (abstract)

    October 5, 2018