Thursday, May 03, 2012

Two recent science controversies

Ashutosh Jogalekar in The anatomy of peer review: Why airing dirty laundry in public is important (via Abi): "Perhaps the greatest message that the public can take home from such incidents is that even great scientists can make mistakes and remain great scientists, and that science continues to progress in one way or another. No matter how bad this kind of stuff sounds, it's actually business as usual for the scientific process, and there's nothing wrong with it."

 Carl Zimmer explains the delay in publication of two paper on flu in Behold The Forbidden Flu: A Loom Explainer: "....there’s little doubt that scientists will be wanting to do more research on the flu of this sort. Just because the Wisconsin and Dutch researchers found that a few mutations can turn bird flu into mammal flu doesn’t mean that those mutations alone hold the key to the next pandemic. There may be may different ways to cross the species barrier. It will take many replications and variations on these experiments to get to a broad understanding of H5N1′s capacity to make that jump. Whether we choose to gain that knowledge remains to be seen. Fauci promised that the decision-making about these experiments will be transparent and that we in the press will be able to follow it more closely. That’s the kind of knowledge that we journalists definitely like to have out in the open. You can bet we’ll be holding him to his word."

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