Monday, September 18, 2017

Sloppy Research Harms Your Reputation

What happens to a scientist's reputation when a journal has to pull an article because of questionable research practices ("How Retractions Hurt Scientists’ Credibility," MIT News, September 5, 2017)? Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers supported by the National Science Foundation and the Sloan Foundation found that with only one retraction or experience with an article being discredited, other articles by that author become suspect even though they remain in good stead. If articles by more famous scientists are found to be clear cases of incompetent research, their work cited by others drops even more precipitously.

Discussion Questions:
  1. Does it make sense that well-known scientists experience more fallout if one of their articles is found to include obvious sloppy research? Why or why not?
  2. Why do you think it takes years to establish a professional reputation that can be tarnished with one poorly researched article?
  3. Do you think this situation holds true for other professions or jobs, where if you make one mistake on the job, your reputation suffers?

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