In science we trust… up to a point

Adam Rutherford, a former geneticist and now science writer and broadcaster, asks if we can continue to trust the science in peer-reviewed journal articles given that this approach has some serious shortcomings.

He discusses how the high profile “glamour” journals don’t necessarily publish better science, but that at the other end of the spectrum there are some very pedestrian publications, with a rise in retractions of poor or fraudulent research and the emergence of peer-reviewed journals that have the purpose of promoting fringe ideas.

Rutherford questions why traditional journals continue when the internet has made the concept of the published academic paper obsolete, with wide peer-analysis now able to replace narrow peer-review. Then there are books, another traditional way in which science has been communicated, which he says can be opinion presented as fact.

In conclusion, Rutherford says that we can trust the science for now, but that there is an urgent need for reform.

Bruce Boyes

Bruce Boyes (www.bruceboyes.info) is editor, lead writer, and a director of the award-winning RealKM Magazine (www.realkm.com) and currently also teaches in the University of NSW (UNSW) Foundation Studies program in China. He has expertise and experience in a wide range of areas including knowledge management (KM), environmental management, program and project management, writing and editing, stakeholder engagement, communications, and research. Bruce holds a Master of Environmental Management with Distinction and a Certificate of Technology (Electronics). With a demonstrated ability to identify and implement innovative solutions to social and ecological complexity, Bruce's many career highlights include establishing RealKM Magazine as an award-winning resource for knowledge managers, using agile and knowledge management approaches to oversee the implementation of an award-winning $77.4 million river recovery program in western Sydney on time and under budget, leading a knowledge strategy process for Australia's 56 natural resource management (NRM) regional organisations, pioneering collaborative learning and governance approaches to support communities to sustainably manage landscapes and catchments, and initiating and teaching two new knowledge management subjects at Shanxi University in China.

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