Raw data dangers (2 of 2)

May 19, 2011

Your article "To get to the truth, open up" (Leader, 5 May) seems to reflect society's preconceived ideas about science and scientists, rather than the actualities of scientific research. Scientists have long acknowledged their fallibility as researchers, hence the oft-repeated maxim: "The only scientist who is never wrong is one who never publishes."

While I agree that openness and candour among scientists should always be the expectation, flawed, misconceived and (rarely) falsified studies and results will for ever be a feature of science (and all human endeavours).

This should not be taken as representative of all science, however. John Ioannidis claims that most published research findings are false, based on a view limited to the biomedical field. I note that, logically, his argument must also apply to his own findings.

Jeff Ollerton, Reader in biodiversity, University of Northampton

Please login or register to read this article

Register to continue

Get a month's unlimited access to THE content online. Just register and complete your career summary.

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments