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Old 02-13-2011, 09:41 AM
Ocean Ocean is offline
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: US Northeast
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Anthropological Perspective (Kathryn Clancy & John Hawks)

Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
That part I bolded is an excellent point that can't be emphasized enough. Since I first learned about the famous Michelson-Morley null result, I've been forever asking why good careful work that doesn't support a hypothesis isn't more respected.

Of course, in many fields, it's directly explained by the money. And then another part has to do with the explosion of the amount of research being done -- we're already swamped by (ostensibly) positive findings that have to be scrutinized (at least in the ideal). But I do dream of a big website where this sort of thing could be submitted. It would be of benefit to us all if workers could get some reward for contributing to something like this, and it might even remove some incentives for people to falsify work, or consciously indulge in bias, or suppress non-positive results.

I suppose, though, now that I think about it, that this would likely be gamed. Competitors (think pharma) and those with an ideological ax to grind (think AGW) could -- and would -- no doubt flood the zone with "null results." So perhaps what we've got is for the better, even if it's in some ways bad.
There could be some kind of public archive/library, where communications about negative results studies could be kept. The "value" of negative studies could also be graded. For example, negative replication studies are more important, because they are in direct contradiction to some other positive study. Other negative studies should be evaluated to see if there are obvious design flaws that may explain the negative results or, in other words, make those results meaningless. Scientists who do the work could be given some credit (academically) for it, depending on the quality of their studies/ designs/ methodology.
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