Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

The State of Science 2006

I think that my 2006 was the worst year of my entire life, and believe me, I’ve had several poor years prior to this one, but I am not the only one having a bad time: it appears that science in general has been having a rough time as well;

Astronomers feuded about calling Pluto a planet. Ornithologists clashed over whether a magnificent woodpecker really did come back from extinction.

A top scientific journal made a red-faced retraction over fraudulent claims about stem cells. And the nation’s top food and drug regulator ended up in court, admitting he owned stocks in businesses his agency oversaw.

2006 was a year that science all-too-publicly aired its dirty laundry.

Do you think things will improve for science next year? If so, why?

Cited story.



  1. #1 doctorgoo
    December 22, 2006

    This is a bit unfair. Science marches on regardless of the headlines.

    Sure, it seems like there are more negative headlines than positive ones, but do they really matter all that much in the long run? Who knows what obscure paper published in some mid-level journal will become significantly important in the future.

  2. #2 John
    December 22, 2006

    I think these stories probably look bigger to those on the inside than the outside. The IBWO thing in particular has been waged with vigor and force, but it is mostly a small circle of people arguing at each other. Even a lot of the birding community is ignoring it at this point. Meanwhile there continue to be discoveries and medical progress that takes some attention off the “dirty laundry.”

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