Are scientific papers still reliable? Or have we compromised quality for production?

C C Offline

EXCERPT: The main results of the paper were obviously wrong. This was clear to me and my colleagues as soon as we dropped an eye on that paper. Our wonder was how the authors, the reviewers, the editor didn’t notice that and allowed it to be published.

I won’t name names here, but it’s a real case, which took place not long ago. And I’m not talking about a publication lost in one of those obscure journals flooding our spam boxes. The paper appeared in a traditional and high impact factor journal.

It may have helped that the bylines had three well-known names in the field. Did the reviewers felt intimidated? All in all, if those people say that the phenomenon should be like that, they are probably right, right? Or maybe the reviewers didn’t even notice the error: anyone regularly publishing knows how lousy and lazy reviewers can be.

This case would be an anecdote if it were not a symptom of something more serious happening in the academy. I have seen too many papers with obvious mistakes, flawed logic, misinterpretations, and unacceptable methodologies to believe that this was an isolated case.

It worries me that papers, the main medium for scientific reports, are becoming unreliable....

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