Friday, January 15, 2016

PeerPub is a useful resource for young scientists

            I’m very impressed with the founders of PeerPub and their determination to correct science. They made a lot of points that I absolutely agree with in the interview found at this link. As a 1st year PhD student, I am still fresh (and possibly naïve) in the real world of science. I’m beginning to understand not only the politics but also the fraud that is so prevalent in the field, and I applaud individuals such as the founders of PeerPub who are challenging these omnipresent norms that dictate science. I’m also excited to learn about PeerPub as a resource because my eyes are not as attune to these shortcomings as those more experienced in the field. The sad reality of the downfall of scientific reality isn’t just a consequence of decreased funding (although this definitely is a major contributor). Scientists are often so convinced that their hypothesis is correct that they manipulate the analysis of the data to be in their favor. I think that as often as this occurs consciously, it occurs unconsciously as well. If you just tweak the voltage, gating, or statistic method slightly in a way that concurs with your hypothesis is that “cheating”? A lot of scientists are met with this predicament and make the dishonest decision because they need grants, salaries, publications, fame, and power. The time will come when I have my own data and I will be met with that dilemma, and I would hope that I have the integrity to make the right decision. It’s not so bad to find that your hypothesis was wrong, or to find that your results are inconclusive and you need to increase your N to see an accurate result. I hope to use PeerPub as a tool to understand what other scientists are doing wrong so that I don’t knowingly or unknowingly make their same errors. When the status quo is to show the results that get you published, we need more scientists willing to go against that grain to show the results in their truest and most accurate form, analyze honestly, and publish work that they are proud of because of its truth, not because of its potential impact.

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