Sarah Perry: In my experience, it is the norm, rather than the exception, for cited claims in popular science books and review papers to misstate the claims of their sources.
We wish Jacques van Helden and his co-authors good luck getting an honest discussion going. It’s not like China is going to become transparent anytime soon. In any event, few virus researchers would want to be told bluntly that, because gain-of-function research in viruses can go badly wrong, they now face controls. Some nations wouldn’t heed the controls. And nature never responds – on her own – to calls for clarification. Most likely, whatever happened with COVID will need to happen again a few more times until a pattern develops. Then we’ll see. It doesn’t help that Lancet itself became politicized in recent years.
Two thoughts: Unclear what Dr. Mills means by a “so-called” “replication crisis.” There IS a replication crisis. They can call it an ice cream cone if they want. Second, more funding, under the circumstances, not only “could” make the problems worse; they almost certainly WILL do so. If systemic issues are not addressed, more funding helps magnify the problem. It’s like giving a gambling addict more money.
Another well-known science writer, Ross Pomeroy, says Gary Taubes is wrong. It is a good thing we get to hear both sides of the argument. That is not happening often enough. People who complain about popular doubt or denial of science are too often among the first to demand that only their side of the argument be published — thus fueling the very thing they complain about.
The next iterations of science fraud will employ machine learning trained on enough of the internet to avoid obvious goofs. We will need better, more sophisticated methods.
Readers may remember John Ioannidis. His point here is that getting more people involved with science doesn’t always work: “A lack of sharing and openness allowed a top medical journal to publish an article in which 671 hospitals allegedly contributed data that did not exist, and no one noticed this outright fabrication before publication.”
What we think we know and must defend becomes the enemy of what we need to know.
Of course, before the revelation that a main experiment was faked, Ariely was featured in TED talks, had an advice column in the Wall Street Journal and wrote a New York Times bestseller.
The biggest offender was government, not industry or non-profits.
Bailey: The possibility that fraud may well be responsible for a significant proportion of the false positives reported in the scientific literature is suggested by a couple of new Dutch studies. Both studies are preprints that report the results of surveys of thousands of scientists in the Netherlands aiming to probe the prevalence of questionable research practices and scientific misconduct.
This matters to us because it bears on the fate of science in general, as China becomes a global superpower. Nature Editorial: “Such trends are likely to continue if geopolitical tensions with the United States worsen. That would be regrettable.” No, it wouldn’t be “regrettable.” Not so long as China cannot be trusted.
When it behaves like Hollywood, it deserves to.
The Googlebot soon found the papers and [fictional] Antkare was credited with 101 papers that had been cited by 101 papers, which propelled him to 21st on Google’s list of the most cited scientists of all time, behind Freud but well ahead of Einstein, and first among computer scientists.
The most likely reason one can think of for the persistence of computer-generated gibberish in the science database is that many other papers sound like that — but are in fact authentic human creations — so no one really wants to go there.
Of course. The papers that are unlikely to be replicated are mostly going to be stuff that people want and need to believe that isn’t necessarily so. Or not demonstrated via the sources that gave rise to the paper, anyway. To begin any kind of serious analysis, we would need to classify the papers by general theme and general drift. That might give us a picture of what type of finding is too readily believed. But is it a picture anyone wants? Who, that has any say in the process, can really afford it?