Monday, March 5, 2018

When Splashy Headlines Become the Goal of Science.....

Because real science is truly never settled!

You can never learn less, you can only learn more.
Read more at:
Because you can always learn more, science can't ever be settled

 From earlier:

The Coastline Paradox: Why it’s Impossible To Accurately Measure a Coastline

Brian Wansink’s research almost always made the news. The social psychologist is the head of Cornell’s Food and Brand Lab, known for turning out eye-catching studies on everything from behavior at pizza buffets to inspiring children to eat vegetables.

But a recent Buzzfeed investigation revealed the lab was massaging data and squeezing results in order to draw conclusions, most of which slid neatly into a buzzy narrative—appealing to prestigious research journals, and easily sold to the press and to the public.

Chasing viral fame was, as the investigation showed, one of Wansink’s major goals. Nudging that priority to the top of the list is out of the norm for most scientists. But in a lot of ways, Wansink bluntly illustrated an extreme example of a wider trend in research. Whether explicitly or implicitly, scientists are more and more often encouraged to broadcast the popular appeal of each study they publish. They’re pushed to generate the type of flashy results that will draw attention, both from the research community and from the public.

“There’s an idea that you have to sell your work, and sell its sexy side,” says Michael Eisen, professor of genetics at the University of California at Berkeley, and co-founder of the open access publisher Public Library of Science (PLOS).

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t believe the results of scientific studies when you see them. The vast majority of scientists would never willingly manipulate their data, and those that would are likely to get caught. But there are some systems in place that play a role in determining which research gets done in the first place, which results you end up seeing, and how they’re presented. To some in the scientific community, that appears to have an effect on the quality and breadth of science produced.
Actually you should not take as gospel truth the result of any scientific study and this article lists reason after reason why it's better to err on the side of caution
The pressure generated by the structures of science can incentivize researchers to chase prestige. It pushes some scientists to do research in areas that appear trendy or prestigious, rather than following their interests more organically. At its most egregious, it might cause some scientists to artificially inflate or falsify results in an effort to make them seem more significant.
There’s a constellation of factors—professional and financial, internally and externally created, and all intertwined—that produce this type of scientific culture.

The scientific CULTURE- The cult of science. In reality science isn’t a whole lot more then a popularity contest... Chase the glory. Inflate or falsify results to make them seem more significant then they are.. And cash in.

But big projects can concentrate money in one particular area, and funnel scientists into using the resources that the projects generate, even if they’re not actually the best fit for the type of question a scientist is trying to answer, Eisen says. “It turns data collection into something generic.”

All together, the pressures that push so-called impactful work—from grant money, to journal publication, to institutional priorities—are related, and working in tandem, Chambers says.

“It’s all part of the same incentives structure,” he says. “As a scientist, I’m rewarded for high impact papers with positive, striking results. And then rewarded for generating more external impact of that work. The whole system pushes me toward selling research as hard as possible.”
I like the idea of science. However, I'm not a fan of the reality of it.

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