In this month's editorial, the PLOS Medicine Editors discuss the challenges caused by ever changing ideas in science as a result of both honest error and research misconduct.
Many scientific findings, once thought to be certain, will ultimately be shown to be wrong by new techniques, a change in thinking, improved data, or the result of an honest error. Unfortunately, changes in the published literature—whatever their origin—simply don't have an adequate paper or electronic trail.
It has never been clearer that the scientific and medical literature is a vibrant, evolving, but imperfect ecosystem. The editors argue that we need to build a system that reflects that dynamism and enables linking to corrections of errors or evolution of thinking from whatever source.
It is a collective responsibility for all countries and institutions to improve their oversight and management of research misconduct. Two papers by David Resnik and Zubin Master and Joseph Ana and colleagues discus this issue further. The editors argue that as scientific literature is no longer primarily print based, it could in future, using the new technologies that the web enables, link to corrections of errors from whatever source, and hence allow full integration of articles with post publication comments, leading to a fully connected and correctable research literature.
Image Credit: Nic McPhee at flickr.com
PLOS Medicine: published March 26, 2013 | http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001408
PLOS Medicine: published March 26, 2013 | http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001315
PLOS Medicine: published March 26, 2013 | http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001406
Health in Action
Dissemination of Research Findings to Research Participants Living with HIV in Rural Uganda: Challenges and Rewards
PLOS Medicine: published March 5, 2013 | http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001397
PLOS Medicine: published March 19, 2013 | http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001405
PLOS Medicine: published March 12, 2013 | http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001402
Malaria Burden and Artemisinin Resistance in the Mobile and Migrant Population on the Thai–Myanmar Border, 1999–2011: An Observational Study
PLOS Medicine: published March 5, 2013 | http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001398
The Cost and Impact of Scaling Up Pre-exposure Prophylaxis for HIV Prevention: A Systematic Review of Cost-Effectiveness Modelling Studies
PLOS Medicine: published March 12, 2013 | http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001401
Using Routine Surveillance Data to Estimate the Epidemic Potential of Emerging Zoonoses: Application to the Emergence of US Swine Origin Influenza A H3N2v Virus
PLOS Medicine: published March 5, 2013 | http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001399
PLOS Medicine: published March 19, 2013 | http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001407
Young Children's Probability of Dying Before and After Their Mother's Death: A Rural South African Population-Based Surveillance Study
PLOS Medicine: published March 26, 2013 | http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001409
PLOS Medicine: published March 26, 2013 | http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001410