Scientific journals: Publish and be wrong October 12, 2008Posted by honestclimate in Discussions.
Tags: climate change, global warming, publications, science
Scientific journals: Publish and be wrong
From The Economist, October 9, 2008
One group of researchers thinks headline-grabbing scientific reports are the most likely to turn out to be wrong.
IN ECONOMIC theory the winner’s curse refers to the idea that someone who places the winning bid in an auction may have paid too much. Consider, for example, bids to develop an oil field. Most of the offers are likely to cluster around the true value of the resource, so the highest bidder probably paid too much.
The same thing may be happening in scientific publishing, according to a new analysis. With so many scientific papers chasing so few pages in the most prestigious journals, the winners could be the ones most likely to oversell themselves—to trumpet dramatic or important results that later turn out to be false. This would produce a distorted picture of scientific knowledge, with less dramatic (but more accurate) results either relegated to obscure journals or left unpublished.
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