Junk Science: Bad Research is Indistinguishable from Fraud

On the face of it, this is kind of amazing: flat-out admitting the problem but not wanting to do anything about it! As Francis says, it’s opposition to opposition.

More generally, there are people in academia who take an anti-anti-junk science stand. They’re not exactly in favor of junk science—if you pressed them on it they would accept that open data is better than not, that non-replication tells us something, that accurate measurement is a good idea, etc.—but what really bugs them is when people are anti-junk science.

… I’m reminded of Clarke’s Law: Any sufficiently crappy research is indistinguishable from fraud. I don’t know if the numbers in the article in question were made up, or rounded and unrounded too many times, or mistyped, or maybe Francis messed up in his calculations—I’m guessing the most likely possibility is that the authors messed up in some small way in their analysis, including certain data in some comparisons but not others—but it really doesn’t matter, except for historical reasons, to help understand how things went so wrong for so long in that field.

(Via Andrew)

Also, literally, Hanlon’s Razor: never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity. And note my addendum: … or laziness or hubris.

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About Paul

I’m a Detroit expat recently returned from Tokyo living in Chattanooga. I’m a consulting security professional and father of two. I promise that my views and politics are mine; not yours or my employer’s or anyone’s. I follow no party or affiliation or anything. My things are released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license unless otherwise stated.