The plural of anecdote is data

3 November 2006

Scuttlebutt has always been pervasive but subdued about how science isn’t really as objective as we say it is, but like good little quantitative analysts, we’re starting to respond now that we can see some tables and graphs.

Dr. Free-Ride continues as a role-model in the disucssion, citing two other people with insight and deliberation of this question. The following excerpt is from her post here. In in, she references C. Kristina Gunsalus, a lawyer with extensive experience on research ethics, and YoungFemaleScientist, who has evident passion for and attention to detail on this issue.

Despite some quite reasonable worries people have expressed (like YoungFemaleScientist in this excellent post) about folks accused of scientific misconduct being ruined forever even if the charges turn out to be baseless, Gunsalus has argued that more frequently the lack of real penalties allow the cheats to stay in the system and cheat again. There’s a fairly high recidivism rate on cheating in science, according to Gunsalus; it’s hardly ever the case that someone is caught for misconduct without having a history of similar deeds.

Any of the religion/English/women’s studies types out there have input, or is this just a biology issue?

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One Response to “The plural of anecdote is data”


  1. […] A palette of eligible but still unusable earthquake prediction techniques include [monitoring metal levels in groundwater] and satellite radar measurements of deformation. So far, however, none has moved from the level of anecdote to that of data, much less to theory. A debate engendered on the pages of Nature some years ago ended with resounding pessimism towards developing that capability in the near to moderate future. A little farther out on the fringes of establishment science are theories about strange lights, animal behavior, electrical field changes and cloud formations. While I don’t know enough to evaluate those, their absence from any discussions by better-qualified and highly motivated people makes me skeptical. […]


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