We’ve been corresponding recently with long-time friend-of-the blog, Dr. Frank Woodside over the unfortunate fact that junk science these days doesn’t only mean stuff (in the Jeb! sense) that isn’t published in what passes for scientific journals – and what can be done about it. Dr. Frank has just written a law review article about this problem. F. Woodside & M. Gray, “Researchers’ Privilege: Full Disclosure,” 32 Cooley L.R 1 (2015), which is available online here. Here’s the abstract:
An ever-growing chorus of academicians report that with the expanding number of academic journals there is a concomitant increase in the number of articles based on questionable methodology. Many published studies contain improper statistical conclusions, flawed methodology, and results that cannot be replicated. The recent controversy concerning the failure of parents to vaccinate their children because of the recommendations of flawed research exemplifies this crisis. This epidemic of faulty research has been exacerbated recently by the spread of low-quality academic journals and “pay-to-publish” journals, which will publish virtually anything for a fee. This Article provides an analysis of a growing crisis of reliability in scientific research and how the so-called “researchers’ privilege” allows faulty research to go undetected. This Article delineates the reasons why it is difficult, if not impossible, to evaluate published research findings without access to the underlying information that researchers have in their possession. The Article then analyzes the state of the law regarding the ability of researchers to withhold records and data based on the so-called “researchers’ privilege.” Finally, the Article explains why courts should favor the disclosure of research data and that confidentiality concerns should be addressed by a confidentiality order.
Id. at 1-2. Here are the articles subheadings, which describe the material in it in more detail:
- Misunderstanding and Misuse of Statistics and Research Methods
- An Ever-Growing Number of Journals and “Pay to Play”
- Fraud and Questionable Research Practices
- Pre- and Post-Publication Peer Review Does Not Work