Policy ForumSCIENTIFIC INTEGRITY

Self-correction in science at work

Science  26 Jun 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6242, pp. 1420-1422
DOI: 10.1126/science.aab3847

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Summary

Week after week, news outlets carry word of new scientific discoveries, but the media sometimes give suspect science equal play with substantive discoveries. Careful qualifications about what is known are lost in categorical headlines. Rare instances of misconduct or instances of irreproducibility are translated into concerns that science is broken. The October 2013 Economist headline proclaimed “Trouble at the lab: Scientists like to think of science as self-correcting. To an alarming degree, it is not” (1). Yet, that article is also rich with instances of science both policing itself, which is how the problems came to The Economist's attention in the first place, and addressing discovered lapses and irreproducibility concerns. In light of such issues and efforts, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands convened our group to examine ways to remove some of the current disincentives to high standards of integrity in science.

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