Appropriate Scientific Communication

One of the fundamental principles of science is free and open communication.

If you don’t share your science, build on prior knowledge, and advance the field, then what good is your science?

Example: Barry Marshall’s presentation of his H. pylori findings brought about a flurry of research to confirm or challenge the new paradigm.

The need for reproducibility of results in a research paper is part of the acceptance process – if results cannot be reproduced, then they are not considered valid by the scientific community.

The peer review process, with its ever-present potential for rejection, becomes the primary vehicle for control of scientific research (a type of quality control, if you like).

Peer review occurs throughout the scientific communication process, including in funding decisions.

Scientists who circumvent the peer review process (by submitting results of their research initially directly to the public media, for example) take a big risk if their findings are disproved. That loss of credibility may never be overcome.

Example: Pons & Fleischmann

-What moral principles (of fair play) did Pons & Fleischmann violate?

-What principles of scientific experimentation did P & F violate?

-What principles of scientific communication did P& F violate?

-Why do you think Pons & Fleischmann did what they did?

Online Resources

Online publication of research and the implications for the peer review system

National Academy of Sciences’ On Being a Scientist