The scientific process is supposed to accumulate better information and identify and discard mistakes and false beliefs. Incorrect information or interpretations can be introduced into the literature and persist for a while; but ideally, these errors will be found and weeded out. This week, we will talk about how mistaken or false information enters the scientific literature, how it can be prevented, how it can be found, and what happens when it is. In a later week, we will also talk about the professional incentives that promote or prevent people from correcting mistakes.
- Talk by Simine Vazire at Open Science 2019.
- Bishop, D. V. (2018). “Fallibility in science: Responding to errors in the work of oneself and others.” Advances in Methods and Practices in Psychological Science, 1(3), 432-438.
- In this Twitter thread, a grad student wrote about finding a bug in their code and reckoning with the consequences. Sep 6, 2021.
- At least read the abstract of the following: Hosseini, M., Hilhorst, M., de Beaufort, I., & Fanelli, D. (2018). “Doing the right thing: A qualitative investigation of retractions due to unintentional error.” Science and engineering ethics, 24(1), 189-206.
In part 1 of your response paper, describe something you learned from these resources you didn’t already know, and/or a personal experience you’ve had that really brought home the challenge of catching and correcting mistakes and errors, in your own science or in your lab or in your field.