A pandemic of bad science

By Walter Scheirer, July 20, 2020

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What can epidemiological models tell us about our potential exposure to COVID-19? What progress is being made with regard to coronavirus vaccine development? These days, the general public is asking these questions and more as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on. That there is an extraordinary level of interest in coronavirus news should come as no surprise, but this elevated interest society now has in pandemic-related science has unintended consequences that shouldn’t be ignored. Studies are being rushed to publication even in well-regarded journals. Unvetted articles on so-called preprint servers have received enormous attention. Predatory journals are giving anyone with the ability to pay the opportunity to publish pseudoscience that can be amplified by mainstream news sources. Marketers are exploiting the public’s desperation for protection against COVID-19 and adding a scientific sheen to dubious products. And perhaps-well-meaning experts in data science are producing a raft of arguably meaningless research, creating a distraction at best and wasting valuable resources at worst. Read this Open Access article in the Bulletin magazine.

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As the coronavirus crisis shows, we need science now more than ever.

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