Mohammad Al-Ubaydli’s blog

Why Current Publication Practices May Distort Science

Posted in Medicine, Politics by Dr Mohammad Al-Ubaydli on October 7, 2008

A proud day for me: not only is my brother’s new paper published, but it is also the first time that we have published in the same journal. (My own paper was from 2005.)

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Why Current Publication Practices May Distort Science by Al-Ubaydli et. al.

The current system of publication in biomedical research provides a distorted view of the reality of scientific data that are generated in the laboratory and clinic. This system can be studied by applying principles from the field of economics. The “winner’s curse,” a more general statement of publication bias, suggests that the small proportion of results chosen for publication are unrepresentative of scientists’ repeated samplings of the real world. The self-correcting mechanism in science is retarded by the extreme imbalance between the abundance of supply (the output of basic science laboratories and clinical investigations) and the increasingly limited venues for publication (journals with sufficiently high impact). This system would be expected intrinsically to lead to the misallocation of resources. The scarcity of available outlets is artificial, based on the costs of printing in an electronic age and a belief that selectivity is equivalent to quality. Science is subject to great uncertainty: we cannot be confident now which efforts will ultimately yield worthwhile achievements. However, the current system abdicates to a small number of intermediates an authoritative prescience to anticipate a highly unpredictable future. In considering society’s expectations and our own goals as scientists, we believe that there is a moral imperative to reconsider how scientific data are judged and disseminated.

Update: and now he is on the cover of in the Economist and the back page of Al-Waqt newspaper!

Tagged with:

One Response

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. […] Bahraini Mohammed Al-Ubaydli announces: “A proud day for me: not only is my brother’s new paper published, but it is also the first time that we have published in the same journal. (My own paper was from 2005.)” Posted by Amira Al Hussaini  Print Version Share This […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: