Tuesday, September 20, 2011

On the Retraction Watch

Readers interested in the reliability of scientific papers, and the reliability of news reports based on them, will appreciate a couple segments from New York Public Radio’s weekly program, On the Media. Scientific Retractions on the Rise and Retraction Watch both look at what happens when scientific papers go bad, typically a slow motion process that always begins with doubt and sometimes ends with the dismantling of cherished theories.

Regular readers of O2.0 will know we caution against relying on a single clinical study and advocate checking sources. These stories illuminate some of the reasons why.

Both segments aired September 2 and are available for download or listening online at the On the Media website, about two-thirds of the way down the page.

If you haven't heard of it before, On the Media is a weekly radio program in which journalists and their guests examine the business of news, entertainment, and advertising. The results are engaging, informative, and sometimes surprising. We hear the show makes great listening during a hyperbaric dive, and it's available as a podcast from your favorite purveyor.

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