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Rumours: Being Wrong

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July 12, 2011

01:55

In science, as in life, you can't have progress without failure. Even bad research has some small value, as other scientists can learn not to repeat those mistakes. But whether or not the results of a well thought out experiment support particular hypotheses should be irrelevant. This is not the case in science today.

Unpublished results waste research dollars, man-hours, and result in poor policy decisions. Scientists put just as much work into an experiment whether the predicted result happens or if nothing happens at all. In fact, often more effort is put into an experiment with a negative result to make sure it's not due to poor experimental design. And yet positive results get published much more heavily than negative ones, and are perceived as the only kind of successful experiment.

In this video, Science in Seconds challenges that idea.

Host: Rheanna Sand

Photo credits: The Scientist; Neonatology; Nature; Science; Cell; Journal of Neuroscience; Journal of Cell Science; NASA

References:
https://www.stfm.org/fmhub/fm2006/November/Janice742.pdf
http://www.jameslindlibrary.org/trial_records/20th_Century/1960s/smart/smart-kp.pdf
http://jcs.biologists.org/cgi/reprint/121/11/1771

YOUR COMMENTS

cathy bodmer on August 04, 2010
Hi Rihanna,

If you are stupid then I feel sorry for the rest of us!!!!!
Rheanna Sand November 03, 2010
Wow! A conference all about being wrong! Way to go, silicon vallley...

http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2010/10/failcon-fails-to-fail/

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