In scientific research, repetition is good.
Scientists build on knowledge gained and published by others. How can we know which findings to trust?
Modelling three bodies interacting with each other is harder than it may seem.
Relying on computer modelling can be dangerous: in 1999 NASA lost a space probe because of a silly error in the control software.
Modern day ecology involves large collaborations, such as this team at the Ethabuka South Site as part of the Nutrient Network.
Where once scientists used to be solitary creatures, today science is a highly collaborative affair, and the latest research in ecology is no exception.
Children are natural scientists. They learn from their mistakes, then try something new.
Scientists being wrong is not a bug or a glitch – it's a feature of science and mistakes can actually lead to new, deeper discoveries.
You won’t be able to rely on this study to justify your chocolate binges.
Everyone loves a study that turns one of our favourite vices into a health benefit. Before you reach for a Mars bar or a Dairy Milk, let's take a step back.
Every academic journal article is rigorously screened by other experts in the field.
Peer review is not infallible, but it's central to how science works. In this extract from Peter Doherty's new book, The Knowledge Wars, he explains how it works in practice.
Curiosity saved the butterfly.
Sometimes pure curiosity driven research can yield wondrous knowledge and practical benefits, as was the case with the large blue butterfly.
Data needs to be an open book if science is to be made more reliable.
If we want the best possible research, it's not just the journal articles that ought to be openly available to all, but the data behind them as well.
Lots of scientists see things in different ways, but that doesn’t undermine its authority.
Deep disagreements within science might seem to undermine its authority, but they only underscore how science really works.
A researcher buried in records requests can’t attend to actual science.
Man image via www.shutterstock.com
Some activists use open records requests to bully researchers – distracting them from their actual work and silencing others who don't want to draw attention.
Pseudoscience: we should know better by now.
The pseudoscience, conspiracy theory and woo spreading across the world wreaks havoc on those that buy into it.
This is something that is worth preventing, whether in the concrete world or the world of academic publishing.
Another retracted paper in the social sciences underscores the need for greater vigilance and reflection upon the causes of scientific fraud.
One narrowly defined study isn’t enough to prove that people who play video games are less sexist.
Academic papers are often cherry picked to support our prevailing views. We need to be careful to acknowledge the complexities of many issues explored by science.
‘This finding, like this stock image, is uncredible!’
Scientific discoveries have moulded modern society. But the reliability of scientific results have recently been called into question. How will scientists solve this problem?
The BICEP2 telescope at twilight at the South Pole. The supporting data for the inflation of the universe have also gone off into the sunset.
Steffen Richter, Harvard University
Last March, the BICEP2 collaboration announced that they had used a microwave telescope at the South Pole to detect primordial gravitational waves. These tiny ripples in spacetime would be the first proof…
There’s science going on here, no test tubes or lab coats necessary.
USA Today Sports / Reuters
Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman gets called a lot of things. He calls himself the greatest cornerback in the NFL (and Seattle fans tend to agree). Sportswriters and some other players call…
Look beyond tinfoil hats – the most dangerous pseudoscience comes from scientists.
Scientists should study pseudoscience – see what the pseudoscientists are up to and perhaps (for a laugh) try a few pseudostudies themselves. Critically, scientists must learn what really distinguishes…
China: “No, thanks. We don’t want a Nobel peace prize.”
“China is at the forefront of medicine and hi-tech and computing.” So said UK Chancellor George Osborne, who recently visited the country. Global tests for 15-year-olds show the youth of Shanghai are comfortably…
Are you as sure as the bankers?
Bankers aim to maximise profits. Scientists aim to understand reality. But Mike Peacey of the University of Bristol suggests…
Scientists are often untrained in methods to make their research replicable.
Over the past few years, there has been a growing awareness that many experimentally established “facts” don’t seem to hold up to repeated investigation. This was highlighted in a 2010 article in the New…