Thursday, July 08, 2010

B - Do pressures to publish increase scientists' bias?

Fanelli D. Do pressures to publish increase scientists' bias? An empirical support from US states data. PLoS One 2010; 5(4): e10271
(doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0010271)

The growing competition culture in academia might conflict with the objectivity and integrity of research, because it forces scientists to produce "publishable" results at all costs. Papers are less likely to be published and to be cited if they report "negative" results. Therefore, if publication pressures increase scientific bias, the frequency of "positive" results in the literature should be higher in the more competitive and "productive" academic environments. This study verified this hypothesis by measuring the frequency of positive results in a large random sample of papers in all disciplines with a corresponding author based in a US state. These conclusions could apply to all scientifically advanced countries.

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