Author Topic: Scientists exaggerating their findings!  (Read 373 times)

Udayana

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Scientists exaggerating their findings!
« on: December 18, 2015, 08:20:13 PM »

http://www.nature.com/news/novel-amazing-innovative-positive-words-on-the-rise-in-science-papers-1.19024

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/scientists-exaggerate-their-findings-says-study-research-last-four-decades-1534061

http://www.bmj.com/content/351/bmj.h6467

"Scientists have become more upbeat in describing their research, an analysis of papers in the PubMed database suggests."

- Must have been a fun study :) Probably an effect of increasing competition to get papers published in reputable journals. Another issue is the ability to properly peer review articles.
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Jack Knave

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Re: Scientists exaggerating their findings!
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2015, 08:08:27 PM »
This has been true for a long time, they need that funding, so they have to be cunning business persons and twist the truth or add in keywords to tice those funders to part with their cash. Also, many projects need many years work but benefactors tend to want results in no less than 3 years, so they promise it will be done then but when the time comes plead for another years money to 'finish' the project.

ProfessorDavey

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Re: Scientists exaggerating their findings!
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2015, 11:34:31 AM »
http://www.nature.com/news/novel-amazing-innovative-positive-words-on-the-rise-in-science-papers-1.19024

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/scientists-exaggerate-their-findings-says-study-research-last-four-decades-1534061

http://www.bmj.com/content/351/bmj.h6467

"Scientists have become more upbeat in describing their research, an analysis of papers in the PubMed database suggests."

- Must have been a fun study :) Probably an effect of increasing competition to get papers published in reputable journals. Another issue is the ability to properly peer review articles.
I think scientists may be exaggerating the importance of their findings in the narrative they provide in their publications, but that is different to exaggerating the findings themselves which are contained in the data and the figures in the paper. Those can't really be exaggerated and it is for the reader to focus on what the data actually are rather than the importance the author ascribes to them.

Udayana

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Re: Scientists exaggerating their findings!
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2015, 12:00:26 PM »
True enough ProfD. One could wish for a better system of review, publication  and accessibility though.

Another issue I have is that once published, if a paper is later refuted by other studies or mistakes in the methods used are found, there is no way of indicating this where the original is "located". At best you can follow links to where the paper has been cited, which is rather laborious.
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ProfessorDavey

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Re: Scientists exaggerating their findings!
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2015, 03:09:48 PM »
True enough ProfD. One could wish for a better system of review, publication  and accessibility though.
Well I think the fundamental system of peer review works pretty well. And as for access, increasingly funding bodies and others insist that papers are 'open access', which means anyone (scientists, members of the public etc) can access and read the paper for free. This didn't used to be the case, where for most journals you would need a subscription - so the science is much more accessible now than it used to be.

Another issue I have is that once published, if a paper is later refuted by other studies or mistakes in the methods used are found, there is no way of indicating this where the original is "located". At best you can follow links to where the paper has been cited, which is rather laborious.
Well this would be linked by the usual methods - through the referencing and in the world of electronic, rather than paper, publication erratums etc are much more easily linked to the original paper.