Policy ForumMetaresearch

Toward a more scientific science

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  21 Sep 2018:
Vol. 361, Issue 6408, pp. 1194-1197
DOI: 10.1126/science.aav2484

eLetters is an online forum for ongoing peer review. Submission of eLetters are open to all. eLetters are not edited, proofread, or indexed.  Please read our Terms of Service before submitting your own eLetter.

Compose eLetter

Plain text

  • Plain text
    No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Author Information
First or given name, e.g. 'Peter'.
Your last, or family, name, e.g. 'MacMoody'.
Your email address, e.g. higgs-boson@gmail.com
Your role and/or occupation, e.g. 'Orthopedic Surgeon'.
Your organization or institution (if applicable), e.g. 'Royal Free Hospital'.
Statement of Competing Interests

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Enter the characters shown in the image.

Vertical Tabs

  • RE: Study on Retractions in Science, the Journal
    • K. Brad Wray, Lektor, Centre for Science Studies, Aarhus University
    • Other Contributors:
      • Line Edslev Andersen, Post-doctoral researcher, Centre for Science Studies, Aarhus University

    We were delighted to see Science publishing a series of pieces on scientific publication in the 21 September 2018 issue. The issue included pieces titled “Journals under the Microscope” and “The Truth Squad,” as well as this policy forum, “Toward a More Scientific Science.” It is imperative that scientists reflect on scientific practice, including the publication practices. We would like to alert readers of Science to our own recent study, “Retractions in Science.” We initially sent our paper for consideration for publication to Science, but it was rejected. It is now published in Scientometrics, On-Line First 29 September 2018. Our article provides an analysis of 35 years of retractions in this journal. The news is generally quite comforting. We can only provide some highlights in this letter to the editor: “Each year, approximately 2.6 papers are retracted; that is about 0.34% of the papers published in the journal. 30% of the retracted papers are retracted within 1 year of publication. Some papers are retracted almost 12 years after publication. 51% of the retracted papers are retracted due to honest mistakes. Smaller research teams of 2–4 scientists are responsible for a disproportionately larger share of the retracted papers” (Wray and Andersen, 2018). We understand that the pages of Science are in high demand, but we were disappointed that our paper was rejected by Science on May 17, 2018. Our study is an obvious compliment to these other pieces.

    Show More
    Competing Interests: None declared.
  • RE: Mind, Body, and Age in Science

    I read paper by authorities “Toward a more scientific science” (1) with great interest. But I would like pay special attention to part of article presented by Benjamin F. Jones “Science across the ages”. Of course, scientific ideas are products of scientists’ mind. On the other side, we should not forget signs of “scientist’s body”. For example, at the middle of XX century mean SBP in American population at the age 30 years was about 135 mm. Hg and only 120 mm. Hg at the beginning of XXI century (2, 3). So, hemodynamic support of the brain may be one of factors changing “Science across the ages”. It may be good news to scientists in XXI century, when scientist's age older than in A. Einstein’s quote (Nobel Prize 1921):“A PERSON WHO HAS NOT MADE HIS GREAT CONTRIBUTION TO SCIENCE BEFORE THE AGE OF 30 WILL NEVER DO SO".
    1. Toward a more scientific science. SCIENCE21 SEP 2018 : 1194-1197
    2. The Sixth Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure. NIH Publication No. 98-4080 November 1997.
    3. The Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure. NIH Publication No. 04-5230 August 2004.

    Competing Interests: None declared.
  • Intelligence inferred by randomness

    Pierre Azoulay et al. wrote a collection of articles entitled “Toward a more scientific science” (1). Intelligence used in meta-analysis inherently is inferred by random numbers. A variety of machine learning algorithms are all based on random numbers in order to solve intractable problems. Inductive methods or statistics are based on random numbers where randomness plays a key role in inferring wisdom. 'The wisdom of crowds' refers to the phenomenon in which the collective knowledge of a community is greater than the knowledge of any individual where random numbers play an important role (2). However, the problem of inductive methods or statistics lies in uncertain conclusion. As long as the statistics is based on inductive reasoning and/or statistical syllogisms, the machine learning's conclusion is inherently uncertain (3). Therefore, deductive methods will play a key role in building intelligent systems combined with inductive methods. Deductive methods can always eliminate uncertain conclusion.

    1. Pierre Azoulay et al., Toward a more scientific science, Science 21 Sep 2018: Vol. 361, Issue 6408, pp. 1194-1197
    2. Surowiecki, J. The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many are Smarter than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations (Doubleday, 2004).
    3. Y. Takefuji, Inductive and deductive reasoning must be merged for enhancing prediction and breaking its limits, Science (eLetter, 8 April...

    Show More
    Competing Interests: None declared.
  • RE: Rationalization Runs Deep

    While I am only an interested observer of many things scientific, I would like to point out a logical fallacy built into the current cosmological model;

    When it was discovered that other galaxies were redshifted proportional to distance, it created the effect that we appear to be at the center of this expansion and the universe, so it was then argued that space itself must be expanding, based on the premise of “spacetime” and that every point would appear as its own center. This completely ignores the essential premise of General Relativity, that the speed of light is always measured as a Constant, in any frame. Since the light is redshifted, it is obviously not Constant to the frame of the universe.

    Basically two metrics of space are being derived from the same intergalactic light. One, based on the spectrum, that is apparently expanding. which is then being compared to one based on the speed, that is being used as the denominator. It is supposedly expanding relative to the speed of light.

    For example, an analogy for this effect is of an inchworm crawling on an expanding balloon, but it should be noted both these metrics, the rate of the inchworm’s crawl and the rate of the expanding balloon, are both derived from the same light. Does intergalactic light really travel different dimensions of space, when it is the speed, or the spectrum, that is measured?

    Which brings up another issue. I suspect that redshift is an optical effect and one tha...

    Show More
    Competing Interests: None declared.