A tale of mistake and retraction shows that science works—eventually
The road to this #retraction shows both what is good and what is bad about the way the modern #scientificmethod works. The good is that the error was exposed, and has been acknowledged by the paper’s authors. The bad is that it took four years for the retraction to happen.
Actually, what this story illustrates is both what is good and bad with the general #media
. The good is that the error was relayed. The bad is that it took 4 years for these general media, including such a reputable magazine as The Economics, to notice that error, even though it was publicly announced.
And the reason for that is that these general media tend to report surprising scientific results as if it was settled once and for all, with no follow-up. Even the journalists at The Economist don't seem to have understood yet that journal articles are mere communications from researchers to the rest of the scientific community and that it is usually impossible to draw any conclusion about the state of #science
on a specific topic from these articles. In a way, it is pointless, from a purely journalistic and information point of view, to report on a published study, if one is not ready to do a follow up of that publication, with its implications for the ongoing research.
The reason general media act that way is quite simple: science keeps fascinating people, whether positivelyor negatively, and therefore, talking about unusual results is tantamount to a scoop and as such a perfect #clickbait
. However, from an #ethic
point of view, this is a highly disputable strategy, as it participates in discrediting science in the eyes of many people, who then get this idea that it works haphazardly, with scientists constantly changing their minds for no apparent reason. It gets them stuck in this love-hate relationship to science, oscillating between fascination at what it can accomplish and disdain for its seeming lack of #transparency
#dandelíonvia dandelion* client (Source)