Who can you trust?

October 31, 2013

A recent column in The Economist, “How science goes wrong”, discloses a very disturbing situation.v Discussing academic scientific and technical papers, The Economist observed in that

     “too many of the findings that fill the academic ether are either the result of shoddy experiments or poor analysis.… [For example, Amgen researchers] found they could reproduce just six of 53 ‘landmark’ studies in cancer research.… A leading computer scientist frets that three quarters of papers in his subfield are bunk. In 2000 – 10 roughly 80,000 patients took part in clinical trials based on research that was later retracted because of mistakes or improprieties.”

We already know that just because something is on the Internet does not make it true.

For the conscientious CI researcher analyst, this disturbing situation means that reliance on published scientific and technical papers as a source for raw data for your competitive intelligence analysis is now also a dubious practice. As the same columnist also reported,

     “one in three researchers knows of a colleague who pepped up a paper [to enhance the odds of getting it published] by, say, excluding inconvenient data from results ‘based on a gut feeling’.”

Now, must we add to the Internet mantra that  “the fact that just because something is in a published research paper does not make it true”?



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