Thought for the month
“A new idea is delicate. It can be killed by a sneer or a yawn; it can be stabbed to death by a quip and worried to death by a frown on the right man’s brow.” Ovid, Roman Poet (43 BC – 17 AD).
Monday, 2 November 2015
A paper in Nature illustrates the benefits of the pre-publication sharing of data and analysis methodologies with others. 29 teams of researchers were asked to answer the same research question with the same data set. Teams approached the data with a wide array of analytical techniques, and obtained varied results. This was then followed by rounds of peer feedback, technique refinement and discussion to see whether the initial variety could be channelled into a joint conclusion. The overall group consensus was much more tentative than would be expected from a single-team analysis.