Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Kathy pointed me to an interesting editorial in Nature today about the recent fossil primate discovery I mentioned here last week.

The article, entitled Media Frenzy, has the subhead:

A hyped-up fossil find highlights the potential dangers of publicity machines.

Take a look at the original paper in PLoS ONE, Nature's original report and today's editorial.

Do you agree with Nature's assertion that:
In principle, there is no reason why science should not be accompanied by highly proactive publicity machines. But in practice, such arrangements introduce conflicting incentives that can all too easily undermine the process of the assessment and communication of science.

Do you think the authors of the original paper did anything wrong?
Do you think the journalists who covered the story have been accurate in their reporting?

(The image above, which is from Nature's original report, is called 'monkey-man.jpg'. This is exactly the sort of misleading hype that Nature is railing against!)

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