The Social Dynamics of the Scientific Community
|March 24, 2006||Posted by Patrick under Science|
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We analyzed a very large set of molecular interactions that had been derived automatically from biological texts. We found that published statements, regardless of their verity, tend to interfere with interpretation of the subsequent experiments and, therefore, can act as scientific Ã¢â‚¬Å“microparadigms,Ã¢â‚¬Â similar to dominant scientific theories.
We explicitly modeled both the generation of experimental results and the experimentersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢interpretation of their results and found that previously published
statements, regardless of whether they are subsequently shown to be true or false, can have a profound effect on interpretations of further experiments and the probability that a scientific community would converge to a correct conclusion.Ã¢â‚¬Â
An example scenario:
Ã¢â‚¬Å“A hypothetical chain of collective reasoning. The chain is started by a scientist who performs an experiment hidden from the outside world. The results of the experiment involve some fuzziness, and the chain originator publishes the most likely interpretation given the absence of prior publications. The second, third, and all other scientists who join the chain later, think in the context of the published opinions and can be led to interpret their experimental results differently than would be done in the absence of prior data. The fourth and fifth persons in the chain publish interpretations of their data that would be opposite in the absence of prior publication.Ã¢â‚¬Â