More from The Economist on what’s rotten with science today.
|November 8, 2013||Posted by News under News, Philosophy, Science|
Recently, the venerable mag weighed in on broken peer review.
In this piece, we learn that “Scientists like to think of science as self-correcting. To an alarming degree, it is not”:
The governments of the OECD, a club of mostly rich countries, spent $59 billion on biomedical research in 2012, nearly double the figure in 2000. One of the justifications for this is that basic-science results provided by governments form the basis for private drug-development work. If companies cannot rely on academic research, that reasoning breaks down. When an official at America’s National Institutes of Health (NIH) reckons, despairingly, that researchers would find it hard to reproduce at least three-quarters of all published biomedical findings, the public part of the process seems to have failed.
Academic scientists readily acknowledge that they often get things wrong. But they also hold fast to the idea that these errors get corrected over time as other scientists try to take the work further. Evidence that many more dodgy results are published than are subsequently corrected or withdrawn calls that much-vaunted capacity for self-correction into question. There are errors in a lot more of the scientific papers being published, written about and acted on than anyone would normally suppose, or like to think. [colour emphases added]
And some say there are things you can’t expect The Economist to tell you, like the problematic role of the big banking: “science is systematically perverted by torrents of government money provided via the West’s central-bank run economies .” Worth considering, anyway.