Thursday, November 10, 2011

Another good reason why all scientific data needs to be available for full public scrutiny


In the internet age, all scientific data-- raw data and the algorithms used to analyze it-- need to publicly available without restriction. If it is publicly funded, the data belongs to the public. If it is published, journals have an obligation to provide readers who wish to review the data with ample opportunity to do so.

Decisions that change our lives are made based on "what science says". Claims based on "private" data aren't science, and the appropriate inference drawn from scientists who resist full public disclosure of data is that they are lying.

Scientific data needs to be treated legally like financial data of public corporations.

Transparency in science is essential, and should be required by law.

It will be, hopefully soon. It will be a revolution in science, and you'll be surprised how many scientific claims diverge considerably from the data on which they are ostensibly based.


  1. "Again."

    Here's a shocker: Diederik Stapel was a professor at the Catholic University of Tilburg.

    But unfortunately I have to admit that this asshole committed most of his fraud at the public university where I work.

    I'm all for making raw data publicly available, but that probably wouldn't have prevented Stapel's fraud, seeing as he simply made up his "data."

    Of course, it's never going to happen that all data from publicly funded research will be made public. Just think of the massive amount of research funded by the DoD.

  2. Sounds good in theory, but I don’t believe it would be practical.

    For instance, particle accelerators produce incredible volumes of data. The research teams that have invested a good part of their professional lives to acquire the data should have an opportunity to thoroughly analyze the data and publish their findings before disseminating it. If they had to release the data upon the publication of their first paper based on that data, there is chance that they could be scooped by other physicists who aren’t professionally invested in the project.

    More importantly, mandatory dissemination of data would undermine the expertise inherent in the peer review process by giving every crackpot and religious zealot a chance to mine the data in order to support their own pet theories. Far from revolutionizing science, it has the potential to destroy science by further delegitimizing it, which is exactly what Dr. Egnor and his “Wedge Strategy” religious pals at the Discovery Institute want.


  3. Egnor: "Claims based on "private" data aren't science."

    For once, I agree. Scientific discoveries are not taken seriously until they are replicated independently.

    As to making data available publicly, it's already being done. My university is developing a server where we will be required to store our data. You are late to the party.

  4. well michale egnor is rite, i'm so tired of these evil climate worshipers and evolutionists who lie with there pseudo science to shove their godless evil ideology down our throats