Bias in science

“Bias is an inescapable element of research,” writes Daniel Sarewitz in his latest Nature column (“Beware the creeping cracks of bias”).

A cure for this. A “landmark study” on that. Society thrives on big-headline findings.

Sarewitz writes:

[A] powerful cultural belief is aligning multiple sources of scientific bias in the same direction. The belief is that progress in science means the continual production of positive findings. …

It would therefore be naive to believe that systematic error is a problem for biomedicine alone. It is likely to be prevalent in any field that seeks to predict the behaviour of complex systems — economics, ecology, environmental science, epidemiology and so on. The cracks will be there, they are just harder to spot because it is harder to test research results through direct technological applications (such as drugs) and straightforward indicators of desired outcomes (such as reduced morbidity and mortality).

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