Thursday, October 09, 2008

B - Why Current Publication Practices May Distort Science

Young NS, Ioannidis JPA, Al-Ubaydli O (2008) Why Current Publication Practices May Distort Science. PLoS Med 5(10): e201

doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050201

This study is based on the assumption that scientific information is an economic commodity, and that scientific journals are a medium for its dissemination and exchange. Authors state that the current system of publication in biomedical research provides a distorted view of the reality of scientific data that are generated in the laboratory and clinic. This system can be studied by applying principles from the field of economics. While this exchange system differs from a conventional market in many senses, it shares the goal of transferring the commodity (knowledge) from its producers (scientists) to its consumers (other scientists, administrators, physicians, patients, and funding agencies). The function of this system has major consequences. As auhtors state, idealists may be offended that research be compared to widgets, but realists will acknowledge that journals generate revenue; publications are critical in drug development and marketing and to attract venture capital; and publishing defines successful scientific careers. Economic modelling of science may yield important insights

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