Tuesday, March 24, 2009

You have homework

First, read this excellent post about the behavior of the editors of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) when someone blew the whistle about a very obvious conflict of interest in one of their published studies.

In particular, pay attention to this comment, on the motivations of journal editors with regard to 'incidents' in their journals. Money quote:
Journals are motivated to downgrade the ultimate resolution as best they can, to avoid doing anything if possible, to make a correction when it should be a retraction, etc. And above all else, even when there is a retraction, to avoid anything that suggests identifying fault.
Now read that again, substituting "scientific societies" for "journals". Did it sound eerily familiar? If not, read this. Then this. Finally this.


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Blogger Mike Taylor said...

You forgot to go on to quote the rest of that comment:

These stances, which ultimately are charged to the desire to preserve [the discipline's] repuation, are corrosive to the conduct of science. Because they allow erroneous findings to persist, uncorrected, for far too long which is bad enough. Worse, such foot dragging lowers the cost of fraud by decreasing the rate of identification and by minimizing overt blame.

Woah! Déjà-vu rush!

8:01 AM  
Blogger Mike Taylor said...

By the way, why do you moderate comments on this blog? That is such a conversation inhibiter: no-one else can respond to what I said until you happen to moderate.

8:02 AM  

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