Fighting misconducts of scientists

In a recent editorial Mark Blamire, material scientist of the University of Cambridge, UK, stigmatized the misconduct of some scientists that inflate the impact of their researches. They have this bad behavior the most because need to attract more funds, but the real consequence is to lose credibility with large audience. “Scientific results are distorted, the significance of outcomes is overblown, and the presentation of the research becomes at least as important as the science itself”, prof. Blamire says.

He mention different examples in which the promises made by scientists are in striking contrast with real facts. Green technologies for cars is one of them: the reduction of fuel consumption is not really exploited to minimize pollution because cars with larger horsepower are produced.

In another example prof. Blamire cites flat-screen televisions, that are claimed to be less power-consuming and more space-saving than cathode-ray tube (CRT) ones. But the screen size of the former became larger than that of the latter, with also larger power consumption (LED televisions can consume also ten times more power than CRT televisions). Moreover to make the products cheaper leads people to purchase more sets of the same, increasing expenses and pollution.

“It is about time that the scientific community applied the same intellectual rigour to the context in which it operates as it is supposed to apply to its own research”, prof. Blamire continues. Otherwise, he concluded, “as scientists, we will lose what remains of our authority and the moral high ground”.

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About Francesco Buonocore

Francesco Buonocore is an Italian solid state theoretical physicist, staff scientist of the Italian government agency ENEA. Francesco likes Physics, thinking about Physics and how Physics and life are related.
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