questionable quality of scholarly research

No, this isn’t about “predatory publishers”.

Check out this Nature comment about a comment. 

 scientists at Amgen who were able to reproduce findings in only 11% of 53 published [pre-clinical cancer research] papers….

…The Amgen scientists approached the papers’ original authors to discuss findings and sometimes borrowed materials to repeat the experiments. In some cases, those authors required them to sign an agreement that they would not disclose their findings about specific papers.

1.  It’s disturbing enough that results could only be reproduced in 11% of cases.

2. In order to even attempt to to reproduce, the reproducers needed access to information not in the published record, information that could only be obtained directly from the original authors — who insisted on disclosing it only in confidence.

  • What does that say about how actual science corresponds to the platonic ideal practice of science?  The scientific method is fundamentally based on the idea of reproducibility — but actually existing scientific publication does not give enough information to reproduce?  Another scientist just has to take it on faith?

3. Okay, yeah, I lied, this is about ‘predatory open access’  — how does this complicate and problematize the idea that there is a clear black&white division between ‘good publications’ that only have quality research and ‘predatory publications’ that do not.   Does relying our on socially-endorsed prejudices of indicators of quality really lead us to scientific quality?

4. Hypothesis: The current peer-review system is more or less broken. It does not in fact result in assurances of research quality. It is wrong for librarians to educate students that these things are black and white.


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