The Economist has a cover story How science goes wrong.
It is worth reading, pondering, and discussing.
I agree with the general observations of the article. Unfortunately, some of my worst fears are confirmed. Some of the problematic issues that are highlighted have been discussed on this blog before. Problems discussed include:
- the career pressure to publish leading to a lot of low quality work
- the pre-occupation with "sexy"new results that can be published in high profile journals
- poor quality of refereeing, meaning many erroneous papers get published
- there are few papers about negative results because they are hard to get published
- there are few papers testing/confirming the results in other papers because they attract little attention
I like the article because it is constructive in proposing reform, particularly from within science, and does discuss various initiatives, including some funded by private foundations to address the problems. The article is not "anti-science", does not lead to postmodern conclusions, or suggesting cutting science funding.
I welcome discussion about the scope of these problems and ways we can address them.