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Why Scientists Need To Repent

Joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine’ just persons, which need no repentance. New Testament, Luke, XV, 7 Heaven, as well as his scientific colleagues, greet with joy the scientist who is willing to amend previously published observations. No one I consistently correct; even a Noble laureate may end up with egg on his face. Yet regretfully, there is already procedure for altering one's earlier communications on the scientific literature. At

Alex Weisskopf
Joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine’ just persons, which need no repentance. New Testament, Luke, XV, 7

Heaven, as well as his scientific colleagues, greet with joy the scientist who is willing to amend previously published observations. No one I consistently correct; even a Noble laureate may end up with egg on his face. Yet regretfully, there is already procedure for altering one's earlier communications on the scientific literature. At present, an au thor has the choice of either writing another article or sending letter to the editor. Since most “er rors” are relatively minor, they do not warrant the effort of another article. Letters to the editor, on the other hand, are notorious for being overlooked.

As a solution, I propose that a “section of recantation, retraction, and modification” should be established in each journal. My experience is in...

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