Science by Press Release

July 3, 2017

From: Forbes

Researchers in the U.K. this week have provided us the most recent example of a scourge about which I and others have written previously: science by press release. It often includes almost everything that is wrong with what passes for science today: ex post facto cherry-picking of data to support an agenda-driven conclusion (a form of “confirmation bias”); hyping of questionable results to garner headlines; the failure of large parts of the science community to call their colleagues on what are clear and egregious distortions; and shortcuts by “science writers” who substitute parroting the press release for critical thinking.

The most recent hype surrounds an article, “Country-specific effects of neonicotinoid pesticides on honeybees and wild bees,” by B.A. Woodcock of the U.K.’s Center for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) and his colleagues, published on Thursday in the journal Science.

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